Title: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Release Date: February 14, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Since the initial release of Street Fighter V, Capcom has arguably put more care into the updates and improvements of this title than any other in the series’ iconic history. In four years, the fighting roster has more than doubled and there have been several tweaks to gameplay, along with new additions to arcade and challenge modes. Street Fighter V Champion Edition is the accumulation of these efforts making it one of the best in the series.
Champion Edition collects all previous base and DLC fighters, with the soon to be released Seth, for a total of 40 characters to choose from. While not quite the most significant character roster in Street Fighter history, it gets pretty close. Those who are incredibly nitpicky will see a few familiar faces missing, but with so many characters, even the most cynical will find a few they enjoy playing as.
Along with these characters are over 200 costumes. These skins aren’t just a simple color swap as they sometimes dramatically change the look and feel of your character. Halloween, holiday, swimsuit, sporty, nostalgia, and professional costumes are all here. My favorite though is when Street Fighter characters completely transform into other Capcom characters like Mega Man, Morrigan, or Captain Commando.
A few costumes are missing, most notably those from sponsorships and the Capcom Pro Tour DLC events. So if you’re dying for those Red Bull costumes, you won’t find them here. This seems understandable, though, as players more or less had to participate in events to acquire them. Other costumes not included are those that can be obtained in “Fighting Chance.” Since these are grind and chance-based rewards, I can understand them leaving these out as it is more incentive to partake in the Fighting Chance mode.
Street Fighter V Champion Edition has 34 stages to choose from. Almost every scene is full of life, vibrant colors, and fun NPCs, which makes these environments some of my favorite in the series. There are so many Easter eggs hidden throughout stages that it almost becomes a game of I spy when you’re not focused on combat. Just like the costumes, the only stages missing are those from events.
The last significant addition is a new V skill for each character called V skill II. Like the previous V skill, V skill II is unique to each character and changes up your fighting strategy completely. For some characters, I found myself cautiously on the defense once I knew my opponent could use their V skill to deal some massive damage. Others like Cody’s dodge gave me a particularly tricky time and left me wide open for attacks. With more familiarity, I can see taking full advantage of both V skills while acting accordingly to my opponent’s.
There are three online matches you can choose from. “Battle Lounge” Lets you create a space with seven other players to fight and spectate with rule customization. “Ranked Battle” allows you to play against other ranked fighters to obtain league points. If you win, you gain league points if you lose your league points go down. And “Casual Match,” like the name implies, allows for straightforward online matches without affecting league points.
If you are as horrible at competitive online fighters as I am, though, you will most likely stick to the single-player route. “Story mode” features “General Story,” which is a cinematic narrative creating scenarios where you play as every character from the base game. This is an excellent way for new players to jump into the franchise. It starts incredibly easy and slightly increases in difficulty as the story progresses. It also works as a taste test for each of the characters.
Along with the general story are individual stories for every character. Typically, these only last as two rounds sandwiched between cut scenes but do give characters a bit more depth. Sakura’s, in particular, is a memorable slice-of-life segment that stood out to me.
In “Versus Mode,” you can play locally with a friend or against the CPU. You can also create “Team Battles” to play against a team of various characters. “Training” gives you a safe space to practice. It gives you a ton of insight for your character’s moves and their effectiveness. “Challenges” frequently change, so if you are looking to accomplish time-sensitive missions and acquire fight money and experience, this is a great place to do it. “Fighting Chance” mentioned earlier is where you can spend your fight money for items like boosts in challenge modes, as well as character art and additional costumes.
Playing these modes in a character’s retro clothing is particularly nostalgic. Each character has a simple one-page manga style art panel displayed as their ending. When adding up six different arcade modes and all the characters for each mode, there is a lot of unlocking that needs to be done. I completely understand the simplicity of these endings with so many. Still, for the main V “Arcade Mode,” it would have been nice to see cinematics like the general story or even those in the character stories.
Actual gameplay feels fantastic and is endlessly fun. While Chun-li is a go-to for me, I had such a blast with every character I played as. There is a particular rush when you pull off a dramatic finishing move that few games can rival.
The updates made to Champion Edition adding character balancing and moves made the experience feel more precise and as smooth as ever. Also, with the inclusion of the new V skill II, the vast roster, and a variety of costumes, I can see myself cycling through each character and reacquainting myself with them for quite some time.
If you have the base game, Arcade Edition, or are missing any of the DLC, the Street Fighter V Champion Edition upgrade kit is one that shouldn’t be passed up. If you are new to Street Fighter V, you will be insanely surprised by the amount of content that is here, especially for the price.
Street Fighter V has had a long and crazy journey, but it’s great knowing that it’s ending its third round on top. It’s easy to see why this game is adored by casual and competitive players alike. Not only is it a contender for one of the best Street Fighter entry but one of the best fighting games in general.
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