Street Fighter 6 arrived earlier this month to a huge fanfare, mostly due to its features aimed at easing the way into fighting games for those who are only now picking up on the genre, or for those who want to level up their skills. As I previously touched upon during a preview at BGS last year, the new Street Fighter really seemed like it was going to nail that wholeheartedly, and now, having had the opportunity to play the full game for a few weeks, I have my doubts.
Let’s get this out of the way first: Street Fighter 6 is a HUGE step above the last Street Fighter game in all respects. Street Fighter V had a rough launch and it took Capcom over five years to finally bring that game to an acceptable state, let alone make it a complete experience to anyone playing it in less than a competitive level. Of course, in the competition scene, it served some sick gaming moments as usual, but for those of us playing the game more casually, it still left plenty to be desired.
Mostly, it lacked the tools to ease new players in, in favor of being a hub for hardcore fighting game players, and that would be totally fine if it weren’t for the simple fact that there’s more to the genre than just the professional scene. In fact, outside of the stage lights that shine upon the many competitions around the world, the main thrust for sales for these games are the folks who will hardly make it anywhere near the skill level of someone traveling the world and competing.
Now, Street Fighter 6 is being lauded for offering a much friendlier introductory system where players can learn from the ground up how to be better at the game. And that’s totally fine, and I agree – Capcom has done a tremendous job setting up tutorials for just about every aspect of the game needed for anyone to get enough practice in and create muscle memory and apply that to fights.
The issue I want to address here is the other feature aimed at making the game more entry-level: the adapted controls, or “modern” as they’re named with Street Fighter 6. At first, easy input controls sounded sorta like a cheat to me, because come on, at face value it seemed like a cop-out being able to pull off, say, Zangief’s piledriver without having to do any of the directional inputs. In practice, though, using modern controls became more a matter of timing than anything, and knowing when to use them.
While that part of the deal is indeed approached by the tutorials in the game, putting the knowledge you gain playing those into actual practice during a fight is a whole other matter. That’s where the problem lies, and where I find the game to be somewhat lacking. Now, before you scroll down and write me an angry comment, first of all, thank you for reading this article up to this point, and now that you did, please bear with me, I do indeed have a point to make and it’s not meant to aggravate anyone who finds the game to be fantastic as it is! I do in fact think that Street Fighter 6 is amazing at just about everything, but – BUT – it would likely benefit from some attention to this tiny regard I’m touching upon.
Now, how would the game be tweaked in order to facilitate learning how to apply specific scenario skills during an actual fight? A simple answer would be through sheer repetition, just getting out there and being beat into submission and learning the hard way. Now, for that approach in and of itself, I would counter the argument by saying that not everyone has the mental acuity, force of will or even the time to invest on something that might take a long while in order to actually become second nature, if it happens at all.
Then, how would that work otherwise? Is there a way of having a player learn how to put into practice everything they learn without relying on other players? And if there is, is it something people will want to endure? Look, I’m no game designer and am only throwing this conjecture into an article so we can talk about a very small aspect of an otherwise gigantic and admittedly awesome game.
As someone who’s tried to get better at Street Fighter in the past with Ultra Street Fighter IV through the method I stipulated above and ultimately failed, I know how hard it can be to see seemingly no noticeable progress after investing hours upon hours into an otherwise repetitive activity such as gaming, but as an up and hopefully coming artist myself, I know that there’s value in just throwing myself out there and seeing what happens. The least that could happen is abject failure, which worst case scenario would – and did, somewhat – frustrate me. That’s it, no bodily harm whatsoever.
I know that not everyone is built the same and won’t have the same drive as I once did and am hoping to have once again with Street Fighter 6, hence me raising the subject on how to address what I think is a part of the game that could get some refining. Would it make the core game experience any better having some sort of feature that helped hammer out this particular problem? Not really, because 1) it’s a really tiny nit to pick, admittedly, and 2) it’s made even smaller by the fact that not everyone picking the game cares at all about being competitive.
It’s surely a smaller percentage when you take number 2 into account and cross reference it with 1, knowing that anyone caught within the two groups is likely to be an exception. And then we need to factor in that Capcom didn’t have to incorporate these tutorial features in order to make the game exceptionally approachable, as it already is from the get-go, thanks to its new mechanics in both countering and defense, and by golly, they are amazing and work wonderfully.
That by itself is enough to catapult Street Fighter 6 well above V, and if you factor in the game’s hilarious and awesome single player portion, it’s one damn good package already. Having the tutorial suite is merely icing on an already delicious cake, truth be told. But since it is a feature and is part of the full game, it bears some scrutiny, even if it’s from someone like me who is splitting hairs in regard to a very minor issue.
And by all honesty, by simply nitpicking this one tiny bit within an overall fantastic package and going through the trouble of typing up my thoughts I’m already stating that Street Fighter 6 is an incredible game simply due to the fact that I wouldn’t otherwise bother to comment on something like this if I didn’t really enjoy it to begin with. With that so subtly resolved – 10 out of 10, Entertainium.co! – what do you think? Am I overreacting? How are you learning to play the game? Does the tutorial suite work for you in practice? Let me know in the comments! Oh, and if you want to help me learn by jumping online, I’ll be more than happy to join in.