Opening up its gameplay to new and young audiences, Street Fighter 6 introduces fresh changes to its fighting formula. It’s up there with the best fighting games of all time. There’s more to do here than any other fighting game we’ve played in a decade. Not all of it hits home but the ones that do will knock out old fans and welcome new ones with a guaranteed bear hug.
Street Fighter 6 review
Tested on the PS5
You get a healthy roster of 18 characters from the start. There’s no need to play the campaign to grind and unlock anything here. The game lets you boot it up and hop into online multiplayer should you choose to. That said, the variety here is quite big. From Sumo wrestlers like Honda dishing out heavy hits to agile punishers like Kimberly. Long-range and gap-closing characters are here too. If your friend spams a character, you will find an appropriate counter for that character’s fight style.
Street Fighter 6 also brings a new mechanic called the Drive System which basically lets you punish or defend against enemy attacks at the cost of six rechargeable bars. These special abilities are not just one or two moves but a number of move sets designed specifically to stick your knuckles on the enemy’s chin or save your skin. And it’s available from the start of the round!
Starting with Overdrive which lets you perform special moves and Drive Parry which blocks attacks. There’s also Drive Rush which lets you close the gap, Drive Reversal will attack the enemy if you’re cornered and lastly, Drive Impact which basically lets you absorb up to two hits and attack your enemy with a devasting finisher. Be careful, it’s a double-edged sword. Your enemy can counter it by doing a Drive Impact just as you start the move, making it a game of muscle and mettle.
These mechanics add a layer to the existing combos in every character’s move set. Using a Drive Rush to close the gap, starting a combo and then switching to an Overdrive move to finish it off is so satisfying to do. It’s one of the most rewarding combo systems we’ve played in a while and it’s uniquely balanced because your enemies have the same tools to counter you. The trick is to not give them a chance by mixing things up. It makes Street Fighter 6 extremely unpredictable.
If you exhaust your Drive meter then you enter a state of fatigue which will leave you open to taking more damage and highly susceptible to stun lock. Thankfully, the meter fills quickly by dealing or taking damage. Perfect Parry will also refill the used bar immediately, rewarding skilled players.
Story and features
The practice arena also has a frame meter which tells you how many frames it takes for an attack to charge, hit and fall off. It’s the most useful pro tool we’ve seen in a fighting game and Tekken and Mortal Kombat have a lot to deliver if they want to match SF6’s feature set.
There’s not much of a campaign here but the story mode lets you build your character and train it to fight like any SF6 character. You can mix multiple fighter move sets through grinding and fighting NPCs. It’s really fun to get coached by the characters from SF6 and then mix their moves and build a completely new fighter with a unique fight style that is exclusively yours. Although, it’s a bit stretched out. As they say, the grind is real! There’s so much to do in its campaign mode. It lets you free roam around town and drop-kick any unsuspecting citizens into a fight. It’s hilarious and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are also minigames that trick you into learning new button combos which is a very clever way of teaching new players about Street Fighter’s combos.
We’re better off jumping into the Hub and playing with online folks. The Hub in Street Fighter 6 is so tastefully done. There are arcade machines where you can sit and wait for someone to join a fight from the other side. It’s cool and we love it! You can even play some retro Capcom games like the original Street Fighter I and II, and some others as well.
Street Fighter 6 is fun for newcomers but also detailed enough for returning fans. We miss having a proper campaign story but that’s okay. The approach SF6 takes is to teach new players about the game and give existing players a humouring experience. It’s also got an easy input method which does a limited set of combos for you. This can be a good way to turn SF6 into a party game for newcomers. Existing players can resort to the Classic input method which allows you to do all the moves.
The proper character roster with numerous button combos and a clever Drive System makes this a proper fighting game that welcomes all and rewards the ones who stay!
The most fleshed-out fighting game in a while, SF6 is fresh and fun for everyone.