If there’s a lesson in sports stories, it’s that sometimes you have to be knocked down, or even knocked out, to get better. This is the core lesson of the world’s most famous fictional fighters, from Loki to Ryu: to get better, you need to get your ass kicked every now and then and have a good old-fashioned montage. This is a story as old as time.it could be a story street fighter 6.
I’ve always liked Street Fighter 5 for what it was, and so was relatively charitable when I wrote it, especially in its later years, but it’s fair to say SF5 was a failure. The mismanagement caused fan expectations to be grossly underestimated and the game never really recovered. Also, though, it just momentarily doesn’t feel as good as its predecessor, and it’s a very good game that has helped reinvigorate the fighting game genre as a whole. But now I believe SF5 will be repositioned as a game that humbles Capcom and teaches hard lessons, ultimately bringing us to SF6. And SF6? Well, despite high expectations, even in the earliest, extremely limited hands-on, it smelled like a home run.
Having played an early version of Street Fighter VI for over an hour, which included the first four characters revealed for its roster, I’m more or less excited about everything about it. You can tell almost immediately that lessons have been learned; not only from SF5’s failures, but also from its successes. Not only from Street Fighters of the past, but also from other great recent fighting games, and eSports games outside the fighting realm.
At a glance, its presentation is crisp, fresh, and more modern than the last two “series” sci-fi games. Character design moves the actors forward while retaining what makes them truly iconic. Crucially, the new mechanics appear to have thought deeply about the best aspects of Street Fighter 3, 4, and 5 — and then tried to bridge them by combining the new mechanics with elements from all three games.
The headline new feature in Street Fighter 6 combat is the “drive system,” although it’s really referring to a bunch of different mechanics, all unified under a new banner — a six-segment gauge just below the health bar that says for the drive meter.
While there is also a super meter at the bottom of the screen, it is now strictly for super moves and can be filled up three times, allowing access to three different ultimate moves. However, the Drive Gauge dominates all other unique mechanics, including the power-up special move formerly known as the “EX” move, now called the “Overdrive” move.
Because core actions other than normal attacks and basic nirvana are all associated with Drive Meter, SF6’s entire combat system revolves around the use and management of Drive Meter. It is in these various uses that the shadows of other SF titles come into play. Drive Impact has the shadow of SF4’s Focus Attack, for example, capable of absorbing opponent’s attacks, while a variant called Drive Reversal directs SF5’s V-Reversal to counterattack with overwhelming blows.
Drive Parry is reminiscent of Street Fighter 3, and if you’re skilled enough, you can time to parry quickly, or keep parrying at a higher metered cost, while leaving you vulnerable to being thrown. Drive Rush is a special canceled rush that can catch opponents off guard, and as mentioned, Overdrive can provide a boosted version of any special move, just like the old EX moves. The solitary, traditional blue Super Meter now manages Supers individually – eliminating tradeoffs and making you more likely to see those flashy moves in any given match.
The Drive Gauge is interesting for several reasons. For one thing, it starts to fill up every round, which means you can even rip Overdrive moves and other powerful techniques from the very first moment of the first round. You’ll have to use its six bars wisely, though, as it refills slowly. Continuous passive recovery is low and also rebuilds when you successfully attack. If you accidentally use the entire Drive Gauge, you’ll enter a state of “fatigue” that makes your character slower and more vulnerable. Even though there are still stuns in the game, the infrequent triggering of stuns means this exhausted state feels like your worst enemy. Spam leads to exhaustion and is likely to be defeated by your opponent.
Drive Gauge even balances the ease of use of “modern” control methods. Make no mistake – despite the name, this is a simplified control method, with the obvious intent that most players will upgrade from this method to more traditional Street Fighter controls.Too many restrictions, too many of you cannot Use these controls because it’s a viable way to play forever. But for a certain level of player, it is perfect. As an entry point, as a gateway drug, it’s perfect – unlike the main controls, it’s built for gamepads in the first place.
For the most part, it just gives you easy, one-click access to each character’s most critical special moves, but it also has an automatic combo system that can be activated by holding the right trigger and pressing the attack button – but this way Doing will end up costing Drive Gauge, as autocombination ends with an Overdrive move. This means that mindlessly spamming a car combo can quickly get you into a burnout situation, so you still have to think strategically and act cautiously.
Obviously, spending an hour playing with such game systems is not an ideal way to form a solid opinion on them. In fact, I really don’t think it’s possible for even the deepest pros to come to a conclusion in such a short period of time, let alone a player like me who’s lingering on the Super or Ultra Gold ranks in SF5 online. . However, I do trust my gut and know in my gut that this game feels inherently better and more full of possibilities than Street Fighter 5 at this stage of its development. I’ll go a step further, though: I think this game shows more initial potential than Street Fighter 4.
Elsewhere, this release is littered with evidence of developers hitting the ball against the wall, not treating anything as sacred and going just for it. The characters have a new theme song – not an arrangement, but an actual new song. The optional comment feature is a neat prelude to esports ambitions, but it might actually be helpful for beginners as well. Then there’s the shift to “street” in Street Fighter — the music, the look and feel of the menus, and the soul of the game. It all works. I really like the process of choosing the stage, characters and entering the game in this game. I’m sure I’ll start skipping it eventually – but it’s by far the best of the series.
However, what makes Street Fighter special and has always been its cast – recognizable, brilliant comic book world fighters that every player can identify with. As far as the new heights of realism the RE engine offers, they’re not even affected by the way they play and their place in the world of SF.
For older characters, the combination of new mechanics and an open timeline is transformative. Chun Li, for example, has her signature moves, but also has a new stance-based system that you can tap into to open up some new combo opportunities. Like her character design changes, these tweaks showcase her new, updated moment in the Street Fighter timeline: a comfortable, respected legend—and a protective adoptive mother. The same goes for Ryu, who has ended his ongoing battle with inner darkness and is now calmly committed to improving himself. result? Some new moves and, of course, new energy for his animation – he’s no longer a student of uncertainty, but a master of imperfection; a natural next step for him as a character.
I’m focusing on the returning characters here because they best show how this new setup really benefits SF6. It feels familiar, but at the same time it feels like a departure. SF4 feels like a rerun of SF2, and SF5 feels more like a nostalgic trip to the Alpha series, which feels new — even in a build with only four characters.
At the same time, newcomers are also opportunities to explore the unknown. Luke is what you’d expect from a new game mascot – an approachable, regular guy with everything that made SF so beloved in the first place. Jamie is more interesting, his imperative grabs and kicks provide excellent pressure on his opponents. But once that pressure is applied, SF6’s extended defense options open up. In some games, the most exciting moment was when Jamie’s kick connected with a parry before giving way to a drive-back, which in turn resulted in a brutal combination of penalties. That’s not to say SF6 feels like a defensive game—in fact, it feels more aggressive than SF5 in this brief session, although there are good options to escape when you’re under attack.
I can go on. But I guess, for now, I’d like to draw a line there – to get my thoughts out over the weekend. However, to say I’m excited would be a serious understatement – it’s the rare game where I’m actively bouncing off the wall thinking about future reveals. I wonder how Rasheed fought. What is that new African American ninja girl about. I want to meet my master, Cammy. After seeing what they did to Chun, I could hardly imagine what Cammy would be like in this system.
I am full of excitement. SF5 helped me a lot – logged in for hundreds of hours on Steam. I never regret the existence of that game, unlike some people. But right now I have absolutely no idea, as it offers a slew of lessons necessary to seemingly prepare Capcom to make a worthy new generation of Street Fighter that could define the genre. To me, this is the real next generation: a new generation of fighter jets. I can’t wait to see and play with more.