When Street Fighter V launched to massive fanfare last night — least of all was a rapper taking out one of the “five Japanese Gods of Street Fighter” — many were hoping for a robust fighting game that offered plenty in comparison to its much lauded predecessor. And in some respects, that seems to have been delivered. Street Fighter V has been praised by reviewers for being mechanically sound, even an improvement on the technical dealings players dealt with in Street Fighter IV. Unfortunately, many are crying foul at the fact that Street Fighter V, for its impressive visuals and flawless mechanics, feels wholly incomplete.
This has been reflected in most reviews of Street Fighter V, and thankfully, a lot of reviewers don’t shy away from saying so. GameNosh has gone so far as to claim that Capcom should admit that Street Fighter V is an “early access” title. Forbes writer Jason Evangelho also writes about Street Fighter V in a feature he calls “When Charging $60 is Criminal,” saying that he too feels like Street Fighter V seems like an early access title in an “age where consumers seem all too eager to pay for unfinished works.”
The real issue here is this: Street Fighter V is missing core features that are standard with the fighting game genre, most notably the arcade mode. This is a mode that Street Fighter has had since 1991, and a mode it made a standard in the genre for games such as Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat. The fact that Street Fighter V launched without a core feature really makes the game feel geared more towards the fans who thrive on multiplayer competitive play, and less so those who simply enjoy playing the fighting game against AI. The “story” mode is laughable by all accounts, consisting of a few fights for each character, definitely not a replacement for the game’s missing arcade mode. While the mode is coming in June, Capcom says, it’s something that makes Street Fighter V feel like a game that was rushed to meet a deadline, rather than carefully made to present a full package to players.
Additionally, Street Fighter V has been getting some flak for server issues, a recurring theme for games that mostly rely on multiplayer connectivity these days. Street Fighter V boasts cross platform play, so players on PC and PlayStation 4 can play matches against each other, assuming they can connect, that is. The PC port of Street Fighter V, which DigitalFoundry notes performs quite admirably and with noticeable visual upgrades over the PS4 version, does lack in some of the most basic ways.
According to Steam users, Street Fighter V doesn’t support many different types of inputs, forcing players to rely on third-party programs to get their fight sticks to work. Also, crucially, there doesn’t seem to be a way to remap your inputs, meaning players who thrive on customized and personalized stick configurations are essentially forced to play with a set up foreign and uncomfortable to them.
Capcom was clear about the game not launching with some of the features people today are upset about, with much of the content coming post-launch. However, a lot of this might have been smoothed over if the game’s servers were running at their peak potential. Reddit is aflame with users stating that they feel “lucky” if the game connects to a server within the first five minutes of logging in. Street Fighter V, for all its reliance on its multiplayer at the moment, also seems to lack a way to meet up with friends and play, since the game requires a player use a Fighter ID and connect to the Capcom Fighter Network — a function unavailable at the moment.
Street Fighter V will be supported for the long term, so many of these issues can be, and should be ironed out. Yet it’s not a first good taste of the quintessential king of fighting games for many out there. Street Fighter V may be a game, if you’re on the fence about, you keep an eye on for the time being instead of dropping the sixty dollars it currently costs in its current state.
[Images via Capcom, Steam]
[UPDATE – edited to fix an error with Capcom confirming lack of arcade mode.]