Street Fighter V is the latest title in Capcom’s iconic fighting game franchise. As of yet the time in which the game takes place hasn’t been confirmed, but it definitely appears as though it takes place after Street Fighter VI. Main stays like Ryu and Chun-Li return in this iteration of the game as well as a few other familiar faces from previous Street Fighter titles. At E3 2015, I had the chance to play Street Fighter V for about thirty minutes. Although thirty minutes is a relatively short amount of time to really nail down the mechanics of Street Fighter V, I did walk away from the experience satisfied. Hit the jump for my full hands on impressions of Street Fighter V.
There are a lot of things that Street Fighter V is not. For instance, I’ve heard time and time again that it kind of looks like it’s predecessor Street Fighter VI, and in a way, I guess that’s true. The art style for Street Fighter V does share some similarities with Street Fighter VI in that all of the character models are 3D figures on a 2D plane and the ink blotch paint style that was predominant in SF4 is still present. The ink is usually visible whenever a character does a special move, but it’s particularly apparent whenever a character activates his or her V-Trigger ability (more on this later).
Normal attacks don’t work like they did in SF4, rather than going for extremely long combos SFV favors the quick and dirty three-hit combos. A standard combo would be two or three normal attacks with a special move to punctuate it. However, if you’re a player that’s particularly adept at linking normal moves, than you can easily go for flashier multi-hit combos like the sort that were in SF4. Interestingly enough, the commands for some special moves have been changed for certain characters. Chun-Li and Nash no longer have to charge in order to shoot their respective projectile moves, instead a quarter-circle forward input is used. Chun-Li’s lightning legs have also switched from mashing a kick button five times to just a quarter-circle forward input as well. Unfortunately for players that are prone to button mashing, you’re not going to do very well in SFV. Precise inputs and button presses are highly favored in SFV.
This sensibility reminds me a lot of Street Fighter 3 which was a game that looked and felt completely different from all previous Street Fighter titles. Much like SF3, SFV doesn’t have a proper “comeback mechanic”. Instead, there are V-Skills, V-Reversals, and V-Triggers. V-Skills are special abilities that are unique to every character and take the place of the focus attack that was prominently featured in Street Fighter VI. Ryu’s V-Skill is the legendary parry from SF3 and although that’s awesome, I’m kind of sad that that particular skill is unique only to him for now. Chun-Li’s ability is essentially an instant air-dash that propels her towards her opponent. It’s also good for punishing fireballs that’re telegraphed by opponents. Nash’s V-Skill is similar to Ryu’s parry, however it allows him to absorb fireballs and certain other attacks. The Dictator, M.Bison, has a V-Skill that looks like Nash’s except instead of absorbing attacks, he fires them right back at his opponent in the form of a psycho power infused fireball. Cammy’s V-skill is her “quick-spin knuckle” special attack which allows her to dodge projectile’s or other attacks and immediately punish opponents. Finally, Birdie’s V-Skill comes in three forms: eating a donut, eating a banana/throwing down the peel, and drinking a soda/rolling the can on the ground.
For that ability, using V-Skill’s build each character’s V-Trigger gauge is the key. The V-Trigger is a new gauge that augments each character in unique ways. Ryu’s attacks become imbued with electrical properties and gives him access to the “denjin hadoken” while granting him the ability to guard break opponents with almost any attack. Chun-Li’s V-Trigger gives all of her special moves an additional hit, so she basically does the same special twice in rapid succession. Nash’s V-Trigger is more of a defensive ability, but it an be used offensively. With his V-Trigger Nash can teleport either out of trouble, in his opponent’s face, or behind his opponent. Bison’s V-trigger fills him with psycho power and as far as I can tell turn his forward dashes into fast teleports. Cammy’s V-trigger makes her faster in almost every respect and gives her special moves multiple hits and makes them much more safe. An easy high damage combo for Cammy in V-trigger is medium punch into heavy spiral arrow and following it with a heavy canon spike. Basically all of his special moves become stronger and get some super armor on them, the recovery for the V-Trigger takes a long time though.
The last new tool in every character’s arsenal is the V-Reversal. This is a very useful and obvious tool to include in SFV and I’m actually surprised it took this long for this sort of mechanic to make a return. Long time Street Fighter players will know the V-Reversal as an “Alpha Counter” from the Street Fighter Alpha series. The command for a V-Reversal vary from character to character and I didn’t get a chance to really try them out for myself. V-Reversals are used when your opponent is applying pressure and you need to get them off of you so you can breathe or start your own offensive.
All-in-all Street Fighter V felt really fun to play and it seems to be shaping up really well. This isn’t much of a surprise considering Capcom hired and has been consulting with top level fighting game players. On July 23rd-28th of this year, Capcom is going to have an open beta for Street Fighter V available to those who pre-order the game from Game Stop, Amazon, Best Buy, and PSN. The full game is slated for March 2016. Rise Up.