Come for the game modes. Stay for the fight money.
Capcom’s first placeholder for Street Fighter V has been lined up in our download queues and fired up in our disc drives. Do we take this incomplete game and revile it for what’s missing? Or can we be bigger people than the guy who sets release dates at Capcom, and accept what we have in front of us as a complete experience that will only get better? We don’t have much choice, so let’s do what Street Fighter V has done and change the rules for what is a great game at launch. SFV is the best looking fighting game you can own. Aside from its day one server issues, it is a great competitive experience. With a well documented lack of single-player content, there are still plenty of things to do and work towards until the game gets its promised content updates that are coming starting in March.
Street Fighter V is a two dimensional fighting game masterfully produced with a 3D look, continuing where Street Fighter IV left off. You won’t question the hit boxes and frame data like we all initially did with SFIV. Everything in this game fits visually. The game is a little goofy. A well-timed MIC drop by Mika can be more devastating than one nefarious Kanye West. You can flick boogers, slip on banana peels, and roll explosively carbonated drink bottles at your opponents. While you have a trusty main set of standard attacks with each character, they also have a distinct flavor and style that makes each combatant strategic in a different sense.
SFV has added the V-Gauge system which replaces the ultra meter as well as focus attacks from Street Fighter IV. You get three sets of functionality. First you have your V-Skill which is a click of medium punch and medium kick simultaneously. Each character has a completely different skill that gives them their own unique strategic advantage on the battlefield. The next thing you can do with one section of your V-Gauge is perform a V-Reversal. This counterattack is done while blocking by pressing forward and all three punches, or kicks, depending on your character. With the lack of a focus attack, this kind of balances out your defensive options in SFV. The last use you can get out of your V-Gauge is your V-Trigger by pressing heavy punch and heavy kick at the same time once your gauge is filled. V-Triggers act kind of like X Factor from Marvel Vs Capcom 3 where your character will get a buff to his or her attacks for a limited amount of time and the chance to extend combos. These buffs can include extra hits, damage, speed, add effects like knock down/ups, or positional advantage. Some of the V-Triggers, like Zangiefs whirlwind attack, act as combo links/starters.
The EX meter we’re used to calling the super meter is back. The special attack you can do with a full meter is called a Critical Art, reminding us of how things were back in Street Fighter III. Unlike that game, in SFV it is very easy to hit confirm many of the combos you will be performing. Gone are the days where you can take a bunch of hits and then perform that lucky ultra attack that evens out the match. There are no fallbacks for bad playing now. The V-Triggers may help you rally for the win when you are way behind, but they are not going to single-handedly wipe out half your opponent’s life anymore.
Street Fighter V plans to reward committed players through its Fight Money system. Fight money is available now from playing and completing the different modes while connected to the internet. Once the shop is up, you can use fight money to purchase costumes and characters. You will also be able to purchase Zenny, the real money equivalent to fight money, at 100 Zenny for $1. Capcom will release downloadable characters for the cost of 100,000 in fight money, or 600 Zenny ($6), and costumes for 40,000 in fight money, or 400 Zenny ($4). For you early adopters of SFV that want dibs on this content once its available, here is an idea for how you can spend your time in-game to build up your fight money. First, finish the story mode with every character. Secondly, complete survival mode with every character on every difficulty you can manage. Completing modes with each character will have extra bonuses the first time you complete them, and you will be awarded fight money each time a character levels up. Lastly, play against people online. Provided, you have done at least the story modes, and have completed a few survival modes, you will be able to buy your first DLC character and costume once they become available.
In Street Fighter V right now, you can play against people online by joining lobbies with other players or competing in casual or ranked matches. If you prefer single player modes, you have story mode for each character which can span three to four matches. Then you have a slightly more interesting survival mode than the norm where you can use some of the points you have obtained to purchase boosts between rounds. You can also play local multiplayer in Versus Mode. Those are all your play modes. There is no arcade mode, although there is an eventual campaign mode DLC update promised to drop by summer. Other staple Street Fighter IV modes like online training, tournaments, and more have not been included.
Being that this is the first iteration of SFV, I am expecting some balancing between characters to be done. I really feel that the V-Gauge system will need to be tweaked. Some V-skills seem bad when compared to others. The focus attacks from Street Fighter IV completely outshine the V-Gauge system. It allowed for infinitely more complexity and balance in matches. Hitting the V-trigger at instant speed will be a simple to learn replacement for extending combos, and the V-reversals are considerably safer to use. Overall, the characters in the game lack in depth and complexity. The V-skills do add some much needed utility to certain characters, but they do not elevate the game by themselves. I believe we will see something added, besides the several missing modes, to make the gameplay more interesting. That is the one thing I do know about Capcom.