Review: Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition

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Is it enough for you to come back?

Street Fighter V had a major identity crisis at launch. Capcom wanted to get it out quick so they could make the call for EVO 2016, and it broke records. A certain kind of record though, as the actual sales figures limped across internal targets over time. Even worse, the image of the game was hamstrung long term.

There was one request, a demand even, that reverberated throughout the general populace — “wake me up when they add an arcade mode.” Month after month, apology after apology, it never came. We got a story mode that no one asked for, sure! But no arcade mode.

Now in the form of an ultimate apology, the Arcade Editionis here.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition(PC, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomRelease: January 16, 2018MSRP: $39.99

Welp, it took two years, but we finally got it.We got several arcade modes actually, as this new gametype is split into six different “paths,” which represent Street Fighter I-V, as well as the first Alpha game. You can fight characters you don’t own, partake in a few bonus themed activities, and…that’s it. I mean it’s arcade mode, the thing you wanted all along that’s been in like every fighting game ever for the past two decades.

Out of all of them I probably dug Alphathe most. The costumes were on point, it had a nice heft at 10 stages, and it was worth replaying several times over and coming back to on occasion. Fighting a non-ugly version of Akuma in a penultimate stage that’s themed to the occasion is more appealing than aimlessly fighting AI in the previous system. Don’t get too hopped up on the promise of endings or any meaningful story content though — each “ending” is basically just a few cells of a cartoon and a sentence of dialogue.

One of the biggest gameplay changes, among all of the other little tweaks I’ll be exploring in the coming weeks, has to be the addition of a second V-Trigger for every fighter. I love it! A few characters just felt more bland because they had a non-characteristic V-Trigger, but now I can swap them at will to suit my style or alter how I approach any given match. Ken is a perfect example as I finally have myShinryuken back.My two current favorites, Ken and Ed, feel great to play — especially after the latter’s buffs in the Arcade Edition. He has more footsies and canceling potential, a concept that can be applied to a handful of other fighters as combos and movement in general feel more fluid.

Everything is spruced up visually. The character select screen looks better, as do the menus in general, which are augmented by a gallery. Being able to pinpoint frame advantage with color denotations in training mode is a godsend, and a way to keep people training in-game rather than seek out other knowledge. Other ancillary modes like Team Battle and the streamlining of currency earning to Extra Battle Mode is a good thing — though the polarizing Fight Money system and myriad costumes are still intact (I’m alright with the former, but the latter got out of control over time).

I was not able to test out Sakura, the first “Season 3” addition, as she is not available until its official launch (though I was able to fight her via the AI and she seems fun). Same goes for the special events, which unlock goofier costumes like Mega ManandViewtiful Joe. Sagat, Cody, Blanka G, and Falke are also confirmed and we’ll cover all those as they come.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, to me, feels like the same Street Fighter V with some bells and whistles. I was okay with a lack of arcade mode at launch because I enjoyed how well it played and had people to play it with. Other than the pro scene I was fairly alone on that mountain, as the sales figures and general dropoff didn’t really help Capcom’s case to rush the game out for tournament play.

It’s a weird situation because people have already been burned by Street Fighter V, so these small Arcadetweaks probably aren’t going to be game-changing enough to bring you back. If you’re still active, these changes and another season will keep you going. It’s that simple.

[This unscored review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher. To clear things up, existing users will get the Arcade Edition modes and balance changes for free and the SKU will be the same. If you buy the Arcade Editiondisc you’ll get an inserted season pass code for characters from seasons one and two. Season three, which starts with Sakura today, must be purchased separately.]