The official launch may be in 2023, but Street Fighter 6 is in a state ready to be experienced by lucky players all over the world. If you haven’t had a chance to try it out at a gaming convention, then you probably got into the bustling Closed Beta period that just went by. Capcom should be confident in what they’re creating as the early build of their next big fighting release shows plenty of promise. We may have had excellent titles like Guilty Gear -Strive- and The King of Fighters XV tide us over these last few years, but the whole world is waiting for the next-gen premiere of Street Fighter, and the limited closed beta gave the public both hope and excitement for what’s to come.
The online multiplayer lobby was the key showcase of this closed beta, and it’s honestly one of the most thoughtfully designed multiplayer lobbies ever crafted. It features an alive and bustling atmosphere, and while brick-and-mortar arcades are quickly becoming a relic, at the very least, Capcom has created a digital space that feels like a community. Of course, you get to create your avatar, too, with a creation suite akin to that of a WWE game.
The main lobby lets you match up with other players on several arcade cabinets, with both ranked and casual matchmaking available. There are counters to sign up for tournaments and even a shop for avatar accessories. There’s even an area for weird mini-game style battles, harkening back to the mid-stage bonus levels from Street Fighter II. But hey, if you don’t want to play Street Fighter, then you don’t have to because there are other games in this digital arcade paradise, such as Capcom arcade classics, on regular rotation. Chances are, we will see most Arcade Stadium 1 & 2 libraries find their way into Street Fighter 6‘s online lobby.
The beta period had eight characters, four of them being returning veterans Ryu, Ken, Guile, and Chun Li. Then there’s Juri from Street Fighter IV and Luke, who was a late edition to Street Fighter V. In terms of the newest of the new, the beta marked the worldwide debuts of Jamie and Kimberly. The roster here was a nice mix of classic and modern and a good indication of what the final roster will feel like when the game launches in 2023. Unlike Street Fighter III, which tried its best to leave the past behind, Street Fighter 6 will honor fan favorites while leaving plenty of room for fresh talent to shine.
Speaking of classic and modern, the game’s control scheme is looking to welcome new players into the fighting community. The modern control scheme uses fewer buttons, with most special moves hot-keyed into shortcuts. But, honestly, it doesn’t feel all that fun to use, so unless this is your first fighting game, you’ll want to jump straight into the traditional six-button layout of the classic mode, where the special moves are far more satisfying and intuitive to execute.
Rollback netcode is the industry standard now, and despite a few hiccups initially, the connectivity was superb during the beta period. The performance was smooth and hitch-free regardless of where your opponent is from or what match you were spectating.
So how does the game feel overall? Well, honestly, this is simply a fantastic game, and that really shouldn’t surprise anyone at all. The experience feels like a natural evolution from Street Fighter V, yet it feels a touch faster in its pacing and execution. The classic characters have been given some helpful tweaks to their play styles, and the new characters are just versatile and vibrant. Although this is coming on multiple platforms, including last-generation systems, the game looked the part when play-tested on PS5.
The graphical style feels like a continuation of Street Fighter III, where the art design has an edgy graffiti thing about it, with the music likely to become an iconic part of the Street Fighter sound library. It’s got an excellent and jazzy vibe, and the mix of bright colors and soft undertones all complement each other to create an instantly immersive ambiance. Street Fighter games have always been about rich visual lore. So fans and newcomers will enjoy losing themselves in the sheer attention to detail and stylistic swagger featured in Street Fighter 6.
While the official launch date has yet to be confirmed, it was great experiencing a build showcasing so much promise and quality. Even as we anticipate the official launch, we can be sure to count on another preview build in the meantime.
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