Recently, Street Fighter 6 held its first-ever closed beta test. We spent almost 30 hours with the game, and share everything we’ve learned, from the Battle Hub to the true strength of Modern Controls.
Over the course of Street Fighter 6‘s closed beta weekend, we spent almost 30 hours playing the game. Throughout our time, we got accustomed to all of the new mechanics in countless matches against other players. If you’re not sure about getting stuck into the latest Street Fighter title, never fear, for we’ve assembled all of our learnings into one handy place.
We spent the majority of our time with Street Fighter 6 using classic controls, with an arcade stick on PC.
1. Don’t underestimate Modern Controls
Modern Controls is a brand-new way to control your character. Gone is the six-button traditional input system, and in its place is a Smash Bros-like replacement. For those who are already used to the traditional input system, this probably isn’t for you. However, newcomers should take a look if they seek to play Street Fighter 6 casually. It can still be used intelligently in competitive matches.
However, you might be limited to using certain combos which are already dialed in. Essentially, you’re playing the character with frame-perfect links, but you’ll still need to learn and use the fundamentals of battle. We lost to multiple Modern Controls players over the course of the beta, and that’s a testament to how robust it is. So, if you’re looking to casually dabble, Modern Controls might be for you.
However, in the long run. Modern Controls will be a crutch, once you get to a certain level of play. You will not have access to all of your normal attacks, since the game makes a choice for you. So, if you’re looking to pick up this new control method, be wary of its shortcomings.
2. Drive Impact is a helpful tool, but easily punished
If you hit both your heavy punch and kick buttons at the same time, you perform a Drive Impact, which can beat out almost any attack that your opponent throws at you. When used correctly, it’s a powerful tool that can leave your enemies stunned in a corner, or in the middle of a combo. However, it depletes your drive gauge and can be punished if you time it wrongly. Your opponent can also parry it, throw it, or break through it with an attack that dishes out three hits or more.
It’s likely to be a move that’s exploited in the lower ranks of the game, however, you have numerous responses to it in your pocket. It’s not overpowered, just yet another tool in your growing arsenal of moves.
Drive Impact makes for a much more careful neutral game in Street Fighter 6, so be sure to keep your eyes on when that color splash appears to counter.
3. Training Mode is your closest ally
Street Fighter 6’s training mode is among one the most robust that we’ve ever seen. Not only is it a great place to hone your skills, but the addition of multiple options allows you to practice certain scenarios. Having trouble with getting your butt kicked after someone jumps in? Just drill in anti-air practice.
For the more advanced players, you can also check out which one of your normal attacks can be canceled into a special move. But, it still manages to go even further. You also have the ability to view frame data live, which is an absolutely essential part of learning your character. Words can’t really describe how great this is, especially if you are looking to chain together a combo.
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We drilled in a couple of Ken’s Drive Rush combos in training mode, where I could easily put together a chain of moves that combo, which you can now visually ascertain. It’s no doubt a place that many players will be living in for months.
4. Be wary of burnout
Your Drive Gauge is one of the most important resources you have in the game and can be used in various ways. You can spend it on performing a Drive Impact, Parry, Drive Rush, or an Overdrive move. However, it will also deplete on block. It’s easy to get burned out, and it’s a poor position to be in. Your character won’t be able to respond quite as quickly, and you can be punished much easier. To compound this, you’ll also not be able to use any moves that use the meter until the gauge is completely full. We saw oodles of players in the Street Fighter 6 closed beta burning out too early, and remaining at a disadvantage for a significant portion of the round.
So, while that Drive Rush combo might look great in training mode, you’ll have a much more difficult time of it if you whiff it, and end up spending too much of your meter and getting burned out in the process. Use your resources wisely.
5. The Battle Hub is a great place for friendly matches
The Battle Hub is bright, lively, and social. Not only are you able to meet up and interact with friends, you also get to spectate their matches in a fun environment. There’s even a store where you can purchase cosmetics to customize your avatar. It’s a nice little touch and adds an enhanced social element to the game that was never really there in previous titles.
It results in the game having a much more cohesive community feel. It was strange to think that you could pull up into a cabinet with some of the world’s strongest players, but Street Fighter 6 makes it quick and easy.
The Battle Hub doesn’t have any bearing on the game, or its mechanics, but it’s still a lovely place to hang out with your friends between matches. We only wished that we could wager our in-game currency in a custom match for slightly higher stakes, and of course, more hype.
Street Fighter 6 continues to go from strength to strength with every showing, and we can’t wait to see more.