Actually, I have very little connection with Street Fighter, because when I deal with martial arts of this kind, it’s mainly Tekken or Virtua Fighter, because I usually find their input patterns more logical than those of classic 2D brawlers. And yet I had a surprising amount of fun with a demo of the sixth Street Fighter – the same one you may have read a lot about over the past few weeks, consisting of four fighters and two arenas and not much else.
Stylistically alone, I think part six is great. While the roots of the series are clearly recognizable in the attitudes of the characters (Chun-Li, Ryu, Luke and newcomer Jamie were playable), they are also strongly oriented towards contemporary martial arts. This is already made clear by the rich hip-hop during the march-in, in which the personal data of the fighters are displayed as before entering real rings and octagons.
I was quite skeptical since the presentation seems to be aimed mainly at a relatively young audience. But my concern was completely unfounded; it fits like a glove. And the new commentators, two of them in the demo, do a good job, as they accompany what is happening in a pleasantly apt way and build up from the calm first seconds to excited climaxes.
I was particularly taken with the stages, where there are still funny turtles to be discovered in the background, but a large part of the scenery has been desaturated in terms of color and thus radiates a modern coolness that the series has never known in this form. In this reduction, accents like a neon-colored billboard in a brown alley in downtown Metro City are all the more impressive. I couldn’t get enough of the cherry blossoms floating through the picture in front of the Japanese Genbu Temple!
And the rich buckets of paint pop into the picture all the more violently when you carry out certain drive maneuvers. These replace and extend the V-Triggers, all draw on the same energy bar and, depending on the use, are used for blocking, countering and the use of specials. Practically, the bar is full at the beginning of a game and can be recharged later, for example by successfully fending off attacks.
Basically, Capcom wants to purify the principle, but of course keep the tactical depth – after a few matches I can’t tell you whether that will succeed. Or would you rather have it easier anyway? Then the simplified controls might be just your thing. Don’t worry: you won’t get it forced on you and it’s not available in ranked knockouts anyway. But it could be just the right thing if you introduce a Street Fighter to life companions or other inexperienced people.
In order to play with it, you don’t have to learn any key sequences, but can massage the four geometric or letter keys in the finest woodcutter manner. Because on them are automatically used light and heavy as well as special attacks, while drive moves only require one button instead of usually double inputs.
The basic principle of blocking and hitting at two heights and jumping still needs to be understood. But my goodness, it’s a celebration when you let the carefree finger staccato run wild! An experienced player with classic controls should still read the riot act to any rookie with a simplified scheme. However, the alternative control ensures a joyful start and I suspect that newcomers can at least keep up with a normal expert in this way without frustration.
Oh, and no: the new open world wasn’t playable yet. Capcom is currently still studiously silent on this. They want to get away from telling stories about the traditional beating-movies-beating rhythm, but offer more than that – a kind of own game. What exactly that will look like remains to be seen.
What exactly makes Street Fighter 6 in the end cannot be said yet. So far it has been recognizable that the streamlined combat system feels pleasantly intuitive when trying it out for a short time and that the fresh style skilfully gives the classic comic beating a modern touch. In any case, I really liked it both stylistically and in terms of gameplay – even though I haven’t counted Street Fighter among my favorites so far. The apple couldn’t be so angry when I say: Then I’ll soon get my hands on the controls of a classic 2D brawler.
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