Street Fighter 6 is here with an almost literal world for its gaming warriors to fight in. Courtesy Capcom

Street Fighter V launched on shaky legs back in 2016. People criticized its lack of single-player content, thin roster of characters, and poor online performance. While the game eventually found a redemption of sorts with its DLC packs and Arcade edition in 2018, it still left players feeling a little crossed up. Thankfully, it seems Capcom has learned its lesson, as Street Fighter 6 is here with an almost literal world for its gaming warriors to fight in.

Moving the series timeline forward for the first time since the third entry in 1997, 6 finds the world of Street Fighter somewhat at peace. Series heavy M. Bison is dead and his criminal organization Shadaloo seems to be gone for good. Enter: you. Yes, you! The game’s main plot takes place in World Tour mode, where players make a custom-created avatar and go through a lengthy story mode a la Soul Calibur VI’s Libra of Souls. Beginning training under SFV’s Luke, players then go on to study under and learn the fighting moves of everyone from Ryu to Chun Li, all the while traveling a vast open world that includes locations like Metro City from classic beat-’em-up Final Fight. You can challenge practically any person, from old women to gang members to police officers, and instigate fights to level up your character, earn money to buy them new outfits, and more. It’s a full-action RPG on its own, with a story full of heated rivalries and twists with new villain JP and gives players a meaty single-player mode to chew on.

But that’s not all, because online matchmaking has gotten an upgrade. Players take their avatars into the Battle Hub, a sort of arcade and club where you can challenge other players to fights at arcade machines, pit your avatars against each other in one-on-one fights or even play classic Capcom games like Final Fight. The inclusion of rollback netcode as well as servers for specific geographic regions so far means less lag during online matches. Overall, it’s flashy and fun and nicely captures the feeling of being in an arcade, letting you play with others or just observe matches.

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And, finally, there’s the Fighting Ground. Here you’ll find the Arcade mode, where you can play through the storylines of the game’s main combatants and the ability to play one-on-one matches with the people right in your own living room, letting you show off your fighting-game prowess while definitely not getting humiliated by your girlfriend using Chun Li for the umpteenth time.

As far as gameplay goes, the major new mechanic is the Drive Gauge system. Players begin with six bars and can spend bars by doing things like Drive Impact, which can hit opponents into walls and, if they’re out of Drive Gauge, stun them momentarily. Then there’s Drive Parries, which will block all enemy attacks by using up their own Drive Gauge. There’s also Drive Reversals, which can let you counterattack while blocking and can stop an opponent’s combo. Then, of course, there’s Overdrive, this game’s version of EX Special Moves, in which you unleash a flurry combo of moves. It’s a dynamic system that allows for good risk and reward but can be daunting if not managed well.

The game also makes conceits for more inexperienced players. There’s a simplified button-control scheme that would make Smash Bros. players feel more at home, though it’s still not going to do much to help you against more skilled players like someone’s girlfriend.

Graphically, the game makes great use of Capcom’s RE Engine, with improved lighting and hair bringing the characters to even more exaggerated and stylized life. Accompanying that is a great sense of style that really brings the “street” into Street Fighter, with hip-hop music and graffiti and neon designs everywhere, not to mention the splashes of paint accompanying Drive Gauge moves.

Still, things aren’t gorgeous everywhere. There is a tendency for characters to pop up in World Tour mode and for NPCs far of in the background to be of a noticeably lower frame rate. And the modern controls scheme will never be a substitute for honing skill with a character. And while DLC promises to extend the roster in the future, the initial 18, six of whom are brand new, can feel scant compared to other games’ rosters.

Those gripes aside, Street Fighter 6 is a dynamic entry visually and gameplay-wise that offers numerous ways to play and things to do. Those wanting to test their mettle have a wealth of options and ways to do so.


Street Fighter 6
Directed by Takayuki Nakayama. Produced by Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, Shuhei Mastumoto and Kansuke Sakurai. Starring Aleks Le, Kyle Herbert, and David Matranga. Available for Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC, and Xbox Series X/S. Rated T for Teen.
Courtesy Capcom