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Street Fighter 6 Review (PS5) – A Brawl For All

Street Fighter 6 PS5 Review. The true King of Fighters returns with a host of changes to its winning formula. Will that make it the ultimate fighter? Read PlayStation Universe’s Street Fighter 6 review for PS5 to see how it squares up to the competition.

Street Fighter 6 Review (PS5) A Brawl For All

Just like Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, Capcom has course-corrected Street Fighter. I think it could be argued that Street Fighter 6 is the most complete package in the series’ history. But does that make it the best entry yet?

Capcom has been on quite the journey in the time between Street Fighter V and Street Fighter 6. It could be said that the reaction to the former played a huge part in the revitalization of the beloved Japanese publisher and developer. Not because of what Street Fighter V did as a fighter, but because of everything it should have done. I happen to think Street Fighter V was a really good fighting game at its core since day one, but there was a lot surrounding it that was lacking. In the years since that dreadfully underwhelming launch, Capcom rebuilt the series’ reputation as well as it could. That set things up nicely for the series return.

Street Fighter 6 is quick to show you it understands what has kept the series relevant all these years; community. Almost everything about Street Fighter 6’s design feels self-referential and nowhere is that felt more in its two big new modes.

Street Fighter 6 is split into three distinct parts. Fighting Ground is your basic Street Fighter experience with an arcade story experience, online and offline fights with the roster of characters old and new, and practice modes to refine your skills. It’s worth remembering that Street Fighter V essentially launched with fewer features than this one segment of Street Fighter 6 alone. Street Fighter 6 is positively stuffed by comparison.

Thems Fighting Grounds

Interestingly, the whole of what Street Fighter V ended up being is in Fighting Grounds. If ever there was a sign Capcom knew exactly what needed to be addressed in the next Street Fighter, this statement of intent is perhaps the strongest there could be.

The other two parts are offline and online respectively, but share plenty of D.N.A. all the same. World Tour sees players create their own original Street Fighter character by using a pretty solid character creation system. This character then goes into a 3D fighting RPG story where the aim is to become the strongest fighter alive. It features a sizable hub city and some smaller-scale places abroad.

I mean it as a compliment when I call World Tour mode a Yakuza-lite experience. Its structure is very similar to that of the SEGA-owned series where random folks have strange requests to be fulfilled and roving goofy gangs are out to pick a fight with your character if they stray too close. It’s not quite as alive as Kamurochō but it is full of interesting people and places to visit. It’s based in Final Fight’s Metro City, so there’s some fun crossover from that part of the Capcom universe. It’d be nice if we saw more of that crossover with other Capcom worlds in future, just for some wild side stories where you knock zombie heads off with a spinning bird kick or dragon punch a Rathalos.

Fighting Around the World

Any time you get into a regular fight in World Tour, the perspective changes to the more traditional 2.5D style. Fighting normal goons and residents of Metro City can see multiple foes needing to be taken down in a one-off battle. Tournament fights and fights against special characters take on the typical Street Fighter formula of Best of 3 battles with the HUD changing to match that experience.

We’ve got this far without talking about the actual fighting, but make no mistake, it’s holding up its end of the bargain. Two key changes are the revamped control schemes and the Drive system.

The controls come in a variety of flavors, but most important of all is the modern control scheme. It makes fighting easier for newcomers whilst holding back enough to allow for mastery. It’s a far cry from other simplifications of fighting game control schemes that demean and devalue the intricacies of the systems. It’s perhaps the best balancing act of accessibility and fairness I’ve seen in a fighting game. World Tour is a great place to try it out too because it slots into its RPG quick fight ways.

The Drive system starts and ends with the Drive Gauge. In a departure from norms, the Drive Gauge is available from the start of a fight, giving you access to powerful special moves at any time instead of having to work your way to them through a fight. You can still refill the gauge, but everyone starting with a full Drive Gauge changes the way fights begin.

Shut Up and Drive

The Drive system has several flavors. Drive impact is a special move that can absorb an incoming attack, turning a beating around in a single instance. Drive Parry automatically repels an enemy attack, but if timed just right, it will replenish the Drive Gauge. Overdrive acts in a similar way to EX Specials and enhances special moves with extra power and a bit of visual flair. Lastly, Drive Rush gives a sped-up dash from a parry or cancellable regular move.

Learning the Drive system’s benefits early on is essential for getting the most out of Street Fighter 6 as a fighting game, and hopefully players will see how it dynamically changes the way fights can go in seconds, leading to less one-sided skirmishes.

Back to World Tour. In keeping with its RPG style, World Tour has levelling up, a skill tree, and gear that enhances your ability. It’s deep enough to get a bit obsessed about and provides real context for how far you’ve come in your journey when you can literally take out low-level gang members in a single punch. There’s also some fun mini-games to break up the brawling.

Along the way, World Tour’s bonkers story sees players meet up with the main roster of Street Fighter 6 and choosing who they want to learn from. Whichever mentor you choose, their moves and animations will become your own, but as you meet more and more masters, you’ll be able to affix certain specials of each to your own avatar aside from that.

A Brawl For All

As such, you can have the smashmouth style of newcomer and poster boy Luke with the unique specials of someone like Juri. It’s the main reason to plow on through World Tour because it builds your character up for Street Fighter 6’s third and final mode; Battle Hub.

Battle Hub takes place in a big arcade-style room where online combatants meet as their World Tour avatars and challenge each other to fight. Arguably, Battle Hub could be more exciting for two reasons. One is that you’ll face unique characters every time, and two is that the movesets will be largely unpredictable. These reasons alone make it a worthwhile third spoke on Street Fighter 6’s wheel.

What makes Street Fighter 6 a better game than its predecessors is its accessibility. Having diverse control systems for different ability levels and modes that don’t rely on other players but actually feel meaningful. It’s probably a bit early to call this the best Street Fighter, but it’s undeniably the most complete Street Fighter experience yet.

Street Fighter 6 is out on June 2, 2023 for PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Street Fighter 6 comes out of its corner swinging and delivers a three-hit combo of modes that will leave fight fans floored.