Street Fighter 6 review - A fiery return to form

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook
street fighter review
Credit: capcom

Capcom's renaissance over the last few years has been a blessing for fans of the legendary Japanese developer. Hack and slashing its way into our hearts with Devil May Cry 5, bringing Resident Evil back from the dead, turning Monster Hunter into a household franchise, and now, delivering a fresh take on one of the most renowned fighting game IPs in the industry: Street Fighter 6.

Under the guidance of game director Takayuki Nakayama, Street Fighter 6 is a crowd-pleaser. It puts systems in place to, hopefully, encourage newcomers, not only to Street Fighter but to fighting games as a whole, to stick around for the long haul without dumbing down the core mechanics that the hardcore fighting game community (FGC) members will dissect in the coming months, looking for that optimal hit confirm or new ways to sauce on their opponents.

A big improvement

Gameplay-wise, Street Fighter 6 is leaps and bounds more interesting than vanilla Street Fighter V. The Drive System opens the avenue for more nuanced interactions and adds a layer of complexity to long-established features such as EX moves, now called Overdrive Arts.

Below your character's health bar, you'll find the Drive gauge. You can use this offensively by spending it on Overdrive Arts and Drive Rushes, or maybe get out of a messy situation with a well-timed Drive Reversal, Drive Parry, or the most important one of them all, Drive Impact.

street fighter 6
click to enlarge
+ 4
Credit: Capcom
Street Fighter 6 looks stunning in motion

Think of Drive Impact as a Street Fighter IV Focus Attack, it can tank up to three normal hits before the armour breaks and can lead to some devastating damage when hit.

But Street Fighter 6 is so much more than its Drive Impacts, Perfect Parries, and rage-inducing command grabs. Unlike many full-priced games within the genre, Capcom has made strives to deliver a complete package with SF6.

Yes, there's your classic arcade mode with plenty of fan-service and some iconic fan favourites making cameos, an extensive training mode that puts virtually almost all others to shame, and plenty of online functionalities to keep you entertained for dozens of hours.

There's also World Tour Mode.

Becoming a World Warrior

sf6 world tour
click to enlarge
+ 4
Credit: Capcom
World Tour is a welcomed addition to the franchise

As soon as you boot up Street Fighter 6, you'll be greeted by three different modes: World Tour, Battle Hub, and Fighting Ground. If you're keen on trying the story-driven content SF6 has to offer, World Tour will keep you entertained for dozens of hours while teaching you the basic fundamentals of the game.

The story itself really isn't anything to write home about. You find yourself entangled in the middle of some shady business involving's Luke protege, Bosch, a new character exclusive to World Tour.

In truly World Warrior fashion, you'll traverse the entire globe while trying to help out your newly found rival, meeting the iconic cast of Street Fighter characters along the way. Their personalities shine through during all the introductory cutscenes and you'll get even more cute interactions if you progress their bonds by giving them gifts, using their styles in combat, or beating other NPCs that also use their style.

If you're a veteran of fighting games, jumping into World Tour might not be your first instinct and Capcom knows this. During the first chapter, you'll be tied to Modern Controls only, a simplified button scheme that still allows for some player expression while not feeling as daunting to learn as Classic.

So, what's your incentive if you're a tried and true fighting game player? Well, very little actually outside of getting more lore tidbits (and some nice artwork) from progressing Master bonds. The vast majority of World Tour is focused on teaching newcomers the way of Street Fighter, and that's a good thing! It adds an RPG-esque element to things you'll find yourself doing in training mode.

Side quests are in essence gamified tutorials with extra rewards to keep World Tour players a bit more engaged, so while they might feel like a chore for old FGC heads, there's plenty to enjoy if you're brand-new to the genre.

These rewards vary, going from healing items to low-level gear that will allow you to power up your character's stats. Others will let you unlock new locales to visit and meet Masters that aren't part of the main story.

There are also mini-games with incredibly fun presentation. For example, there's a board breaking one that visually pays homage to old kung-fu flicks. While trying to get a high score, it's directly teaching players spacing and the difference between a crouching kick and a standing heavy one.

Mixing and matching styles is undoubtedly the best part of World Tour. Once you've enrolled as a student with any of the Masters available, you'll be able to inherit their styles, which include their normal moves as well as some basic special ones. As you progress your Style Rank, you'll gain access to even more.

So let's say you're focusing on levelling your Chun-Li style. You can totally just keep it traditional and deck out your character with all of her moves, but the game encourages you to experiment by unlocking multiple special moves slots via a very extensive skill tree. Discovering how other Master's moves interact and combo with your main style will probably be the main driving force behind trying to complete World Tour.

World Tour is not without faults, as minor as they might be. As someone who's playing with a fight-stick, it's a bit cumbersome trying to traverse the multiple hubs the game has to offer. Sure, you can connect a regular controller to move around and then pick up a stick during combat, but it still feels a bit clunky.

I also ran into a couple of instances where multiple opponents kept spawning at a very inconvenient location despite me beating them over and over again.

Another thing worth pointing is that levelling styles and deepening Master bonds feel grindy. In my time playing World Tour, I dedicated almost all my resources to maxing out Chun-Li and I could only get her bond to 51 (out of 100) and a level 14 Style Rank.

Still, World Tour succeeds at what it sets out to do and will be a very entertaining 15-20 hours for those that want to sink their teeth into it.

Honing your skills

Once you're done with the surprisingly long World Tour campaign, Fighting Ground will greet you with a more classic fighting game experience.

street fighter 6 fighting ground
click to enlarge
+ 4
Credit: Capcom
Fighting Ground is a more classic fighting game experience

Here, you'll be able to directly learn what the game is all about and get accustomed. There's an extensive tutorial that will walk you through basic things such as learning inputs or special move cancels, all the way to Street Fighter 6's main mechanic, the Drive System, situational confirms, and how spacing works.

While this is enough to put plenty of fighting game tutorials to shame, Capcom's dedication and accessibility options for newcomers shine through by adding specific character guides.

These guides not only walk you through each of the characters' move list but also dive deep into in-match applications and what purpose they serve in a character's toolkit.

To top it all off, the combo trials for each character are extensive, and challenging, and will give you an initial platform to form ideas for even better combos.

Fighting Ground also plays host to classic arcade mode, which offers a great way for you to try out characters without going online. During launch, Street Fighter 6 will feature 18 fighters, with four more coming during Season 1.

They include the staple ones such as Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li, sprinkled in with some fan favourite picks, like the maniacal Juri, the lovable Blanka, and the powerhouse that is Zangief. There are also six newcomers: Jamie, Manon, Kimberly, Marisa, Lily, and JP.

You can also play locally in a variety of ways, from classic 1v1 matches to team battles, and even jump in on extreme rules, which add some wacky variations to otherwise regular combat, perfect for the uninitiated who just want to mash buttons and have a good time using Dynamic controls, an offline-only exclusive button scheme that simplifies Street Fighter 6 even more than Modern.

You vs the world

SF6 battle hub
click to enlarge
+ 4
Credit: Capcom
Battle Hub works essentially like an online arcade

You've played through World Tour, cooked up a nice bread-and-butter in training mode, it's time to go online and discover the Battle Hub.

The avatar you created and levelled up during World Tour will double down as your lobby character (and yes, you'll be able to play casual matches using your unique style) in the Battle Hub.

Here you'll be able to engage in some cute little side-activities like taking selfies in Capcom-themed photo ops, playing retro Capcom games in special cabinets, and purchasing cosmetics with Drive Tickets, an in-game currency, or Fighter Coins, which can be acquired with real-life money.

The big thing, naturally, is that it serves as a lively hub for players to fight against one another in either casual or ranked matches. Capcom does give you the option to queue for matches straight from Fighting Ground, which is incredibly appreciated for those that are over lobby-like experiences from games such as Guilty Gear Strive or Dragon Ball FighterZ.

You can also set up private rooms for up to 16 players, with eight being able to play at any given moment. Each virtual cabinet can be set to different rules, including an online training mode, which will be a godsend for those late-night Discord sessions with friends.


The new alpha in town

With new Mortal Kombat and Tekken titles looming on the horizon, Capcom had made sure Street Fighter 6 will leave a lasting impression on whoever plays it.

It's a crowning achievement that solidifies Capcom's return to form by revitalising their long-dormant fighting game division. Great visuals, interesting gameplay mechanics, and tons of content to appeal to both casual and hardcore audiences make this the perfect entry point for those looking to break into the fighting game genre.

From top to bottom, Street Fighter 6 is an absolute triumph by Capcom. A genre-defining fighting game that oozes charm and polish in almost every aspect, barring some minor gripes with World Tour.
PlayStation 5

Street Fighter 6 was reviewed on PS5 with code provided by the publisher.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Reviews and Street Fighter 6 page.