Street Fighter 6 is an Inviting Entry for Newcomers, But Keeps its Competitive Edge

When someone brings up Street Fighter, it’s mainly in a conversation about some of the most exciting video game competitions in gaming history. The series has had some low and some high times, but it’s clear that Street Fighter 6 aims to keep the series on top through its fresh new character designs and mechanics. However, this entry is also the first time I’ve seen non-Street Fighter fans interested in the series, and I believe this is by design.

I participated in an extended gameplay preview of Street Fighter 6 to check out its Fighting Ground offerings. With a current roster of 18, I found something to enjoy about each character and the core mechanics of this new entry.

I wouldn’t consider myself the Street Fighter dude on staff, but I was tasked with this preview. So I’m sorry I can’t give you a breakdown of the metagame and various combos. However, I can say that I had a really good time.

Fighting Ground will likely be where you’ll spend more time playing Street Fighter 6. This is where you’ll find the modes of Street Fighter V for a more competitive experience. From Arcade Mode to Ranked Matches to Team Battles, it’s all here. Arcade Mode is where I had the most fun as it expanded on your character of choice’s story and the reasons they are fighting. Upon completing, you’ll unlock some collectibles, but it primarily serves to introduce the rooster.

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If you’re trying to get good with a character, Combo Trial is available that allows you to practice some cool maneuvers. These range in complexity, but it’s all straightforward training for those trying to master a particular character. The ongoing trend I see with this game is how it caters to new and old players. There are various systems for each, where competitive players may look past these options, they’re needed to keep the community growing, and I feel like Street Fighter 6 has it right.

I tried to play with the various new control schemes but still leaned toward the Classic design. I can see why the Modern and Dynamic control schemes are available, but my muscle memory of quarter turns won’t seem to loosen up. Still, I found some fun executing combos and specials utilizing the Modern controls.

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One significant system is the Drive Guage which allows you to parry attacks, execute an overdrive, and even counterattack. It’s one of the most important new systems in the game and opens up a handful of possibilities in a battle. It can definitely be the make or break of some high-stakes fights, as players must balance the usage of the drive gauge to not exhaust it. I should mention that button input for this depends on your control scheme.

Honestly, even as a casual player, I had a lot more fun in Fighting Grounds than World Tour Mode. I can see the appeal of World Tour as players level up their characters, customize their moveset and exist in a world straight out of Final Fight. Still, I just found it overly corny and easily manipulated. For example, I learned that you could spam a kick to get through most enemies, which removed the challenge from experience, leaving me to run around beating up everyone I encountered.

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Street Fighter 6 is aiming to be the best fighting game of 2023. It knows its audience but doesn’t forget about the casual player. Its competitive modes are all intact, with a solid roster of returning and new characters that even has me excited to witness it during competitive play.

I look forward to seeing these modes evolve, but what is offered is a very robust Street Fighter experience.

Street Fighter 6 is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam on June 2, 2023.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.