Street Fighter 6 review: A triumphant return

Luke and Jamie in Street Fighter 6 with logoCapcom

Capcom has finally released the next entry into the Street Fighter franchise. But, does their new fighting game manage to appeal to newcomers and hardcore players alike?

Street Fighter is one of the world’s most recognizable video game franchises, and was the progenitor of the entire ‘versus fighting game’ genre. That’s not to say that Capcom has always been on top, though. Street Fighter 4 revitalized the franchise back in 2009 but its follow-up, Street Fighter V, had an incredibly rocky launch in 2016. That was followed by the even worse launch of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite a year later.

Article continues after ad

While Street Fighter V managed to patch things up over the years, the relatively botched launch left a poor taste in the mouths of casual gamers due to its lack of content. Street Fighter 6 now finds itself in the unenviable task of trying to right the wrongs of the past.

Street Fighter 6 – Key Details

  • Price: $59.99 (USD)
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: June 2, 2023
  • Platforms:  PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S | X, PC

Street Fighter 6 trailer

Fight for the future

Street Fighter 6 sits firmly within the established “fighting game” mould. You and your opponent pick a character and unleash your skills until a single victor is crowned. Inside this basic framework, Street Fighter 6 offers three distinct modes. The first of which happens to be a lengthy single-player campaign named “World Tour”.

Article continues after ad
Street Fighter 6 World tour mode character runningCapcom

World Tour mode kicks off with you creating your own character within Capcom’s fantastic RE Engine. Once complete, you’re plunged into Metro City, a well-known location in Street Fighter history. Here, your avatar can undertake missions from NPCs in an open world, level up, and learn new moves from the entire Street Fighter 6 roster. If you need a touchstone, It feels structurally similar to RGG Studios’ Like a Dragon franchise.

Every character in Street Fighter 6 can be found in the open world, and all have stunning introduction sequences. Once unlocked, you can level up your relationship with them to unlock their special moves, access unique side content, as well as learn more about them, too. This allows you to interact with these characters in an entirely unique way that the franchise just hasn’t provided before. While it can be a grind to fully level up each relationship, the reward at the end is worth investing in.

Article continues after ad
Street Fighter 6 E.HondaCapcom

While its story is merely serviceable, the attention to detail is impressive. There are returning faces from the world of Capcom that have never appeared in a modern game before, and there’s even a whole stadium dedicated to Final Fight’s Mike Haggar. However, mission design is relatively simplistic, and performance can vary during certain scenes.

I spent around 25 hours in Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode and managed to see most of the side content, as well as fully complete its fifteen chapters. But, World Tour isn’t just for die-hard Capcom fans. New players may get additional value sticking around as World Tour is also an excellent learning tool.

Article continues after ad

World Tour is just a big, fancy tutorial

Street Fighter 6 minigameCapcom

Peppered around the open world are missions and minigames which actively teach you how to play Street Fighter 6, and how to interact with its mechanics.

Struggling with how to perform a Shoryuken? There’s a minigame for that. Want to learn to mix up your moves? There’s a minigame for that. Fancy testing your mettle by performing specific techniques? There are missions for that, too. World Tour not only serves as a lengthy campaign mode but also as an extended tutorial.

Article continues after ad

When World Tour is done, what’s left? Well, an “endgame” experience that is as deep as it is vast.

Primed for a new generation

Street Fighter is known for its complex inputs, with six main buttons of varying strength, combined with motion inputs to perform special moves. The system works but it is often hard for new players to grasp. In Street Fighter 6, Capcom has introduced new alternative control schemes that simplify its complex inputs.

Modern & Dynamic controls

Enter Modern controls, a new input method that reimagines the way that fighting games are played. Light, Medium and Heavy attacks lie on your face buttons, alongside a dedicated “special”. The properties of these inputs all change based on the direction of your input. Along your controller’s shoulder buttons are additional shortcuts: Throw, Drive Parry, Drive Impact, and a dedicated “Assist” button, which automatically chains together strings of attacks when held down. This means that new players have less to think about in the heat of battle.

Article continues after ad
SF6 modern controls button layoutCapcom

There are trade-offs. Certain nuances are lost, and you have access to fewer moves than those on Classic controls. Also, while you don’t have to think about how to perform a tricky combo or special move, it’s at the cost of a 20% penalty for damage dealt. For new players, this means that almost anyone can lay down a beating, without having to learn the specifics. Some characters benefit from Modern controls more than others, such as grapplers like Zangief, who can now execute a deadly attack with a single button, instead of a more complicated 360-degree input.

Only results at a professional level of play will tell the true story of how this is balanced over time. It’s extremely easy to get your head around, and could open the floodgates to players who might have otherwise dismissed Street Fighter as being “too complex”.

Article continues after ad

Combat is more dynamic than ever

Street Fighter 6 Closed Beta ReplayCapcom

When it comes to learning play on a deeper level, you’ll need to venture into Street Fighter 6’s Fighting Ground mode. This allows you to access everything from character primers, combo trials, and a fully featured training mode. It’s impossible to overstate how useful this is when getting your head around a new character. Within minutes of training with new fighter Marisa, I was playing the game’s Arcade Mode and had a strategy to execute in my head.

Each newcomer that Capcom has added to Street Fighter 6 fits into the roster of established faces. Marisa is a powerful Roman Warrior who can pierce through attacks, while JP excels away from his opponent and attacks from a long range. My favorite of the new crop is Manon, a French supermodel, who also happens to be a Judo expert. Each throw that Manon successfully executes just makes the next one even more powerful, which adds an interesting wrinkle to combat.

Article continues after ad

The number of options for those who want to hone their skills is commendable, and when paired with World Tour, Street Fighter 6 gives players more tools than ever before to improve at the game.

Throughout my time, I felt myself improving at a pace that I’ve never experienced with any other fighting game, and that’s a testament to how well Street Fighter 6 teaches its players.

New nail-biting mechanics

A screenshot of Drive Rush from a Drive Parry stanceCAPCOM
Drive Rush (Cancel) can help you to extend combos in Street Fighter 6

Whereas previous Street Fighter titles anchor themselves around unique mechanics, Street Fighter 6 introduces a huge change for the series. The “Drive” system is a bar underneath your character that give you access to a whole host of new mechanics. We’ve explained the nuances over here.

Article continues after ad

You start with a full drive gauge, so you have access to all of your most damaging attacks from the jump. This creates a more defensive game overall. Many character’s normal attacks can be blocked and punished too, leading to a more careful consideration when your characters are playing in the middle of the screen.

When you’ve primed yourself in training mode and have learned all of the intricacies of your character, you can enter Street Fighter 6’s Battle Hub to test your mettle against the world.

Article continues after ad

A communal online experience

Street Fighter 6 battle hubCapcom

Taking your player avatar from World Tour, you can enter the Battle Hub, a virtual arcade full of other players where you can challenge them in casual matches. The feeling you get playing other people and being able to chat with them offers a more communal experience than previous Street Fighter titles.

Of course, there’s a revamped ranked system for each character you play as, too. Placement matches calculate your ranking. Following that initial placement, you can earn and lose points against players in a 1-on-1 test of skill. You can also review matches with live viewing of frame data to do homework on how to improve and plug any holes in your defenses.

Article continues after ad

You can also enter into “clubs” with a fully-featured emblem and shirt creation system. It’s a fun way to connect with friends, and that extends to private lobbies, which now support more concurrent matches in a single room. It’s these details that make Street Fighter 6 the slickest online fighter available.

Street Fighter 6 utilizes rollback netcode, and its implementation even allowed for a lag-free experience when playing against opponents from the other side of the Pacific.

Article continues after ad

An icon, reborn

Ken Street Fighter 6Capcom

Street Fighter 6 is a game that has it all. Between all of the modes, learning tools, and concessions available for newer players, it becomes one of the most fully-featured, newbie-friendly fighting games. Importantly, from what we played pre-release, online play is just as slick as its hip-hop art direction and theming.

The series feels revitalized with so much genuine care and craft having been put into this entry. Every facet of Street Fighter 6 oozes confidence, and for a good reason too – every mode that it offers just feels great.

Article continues after ad

Verdict – 5/5

Street Fighter 6 is a world-class fighting game that drips in style and confidence. In our 100+ hours put into the game, we’re confident that Street Fighter 6 is not only a GOTY contender, but one of the most impressive fighting games ever created.

If you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.

Related Topics