Our Street Fighter V Arcade Edition review may not be the most in-depth, but I can say, in my humble opinion as a casual fighting game player; that this is what Street Fighter V deserved from the beginning. The classic Capcom fighting game’s latest iteration was released in 2015 as a shell of what it could be, but these past three years have seen the team stick with it, making many improvements and expanding the roster with new characters as well as the return of old favourites.
Street Fighter V Arcade Edition comes with the original game, the first two seasons of paid-for characters and the new features also being rolled out for free to current Street Fighter V owners. If you’ve yet to jump in to Street Fighter V, and that could be easily understood, this is the best time to do it.
Also, as we never covered Street Fighter V’s initial release, this will be a bit of a double-up review for the game itself as well as this big update / re-release.
Review Side Quest
New readers? Welcome! Returning readers; welcome back! Our Review Side-Quest sees our writers pose a question to you in the hopes that you’ll join in the fun with us. As far as Street Fighter goes, I have just one simple question:
Who’s your favourite fighter across the entire Street Fighter series and why?
Mine’s Ken and I’m not even sorry about it. SHINRYUKEN!
How does Street Fighter V Arcade Edition play?
Above anything else, Street Fighter V plays exceptionally well. It’s the same 2D fighter it ever was, but the sheer amount of options are your disposal are what makes it shine. The characters are so well-balanced that all player types and choices are viable from my perspective. Ultimately it all comes down to the skill of the player with knowledge of their opponent’s character.
Twenty-eight base characters are included with the game, each with two “V-Triggers”; a special meter that can be activated when damaged enough to fill it, meaning that now, even those experienced with a character have something new to experiment with.
Gameplay: The Basics
For those unfamiliar with Street Fighter V’s system, which likely means you’ve never played a fighting game, it’s simple on the surface: one-on-one battles take place with each player attempting to deplete their opponent’s life gauge. By dishing out and/or taking damage, the special gauge fills (Up to three bars), allowing for an amplified version of one of their unique attacks (at the cost of one segment) or the ability to unleash their Critical Art (an ultimate attack that consumes the entire special gauge).
The V-Triggers are what separates Street Fighter V from its predecessors. Upon taking damage, the red meter fills and its activation affect differentiates from character to character. It’d be misleading for me to tell you that I understand exactly what they all do, but they tend to enhance a character’s unique abilities for a limited time and offer the chance for a great counter-attack. Their use isn’t necessary in low-level play, but they appear to be vital, strategic elements amongst top tier players.
Each character now has two V-Triggers, offering even more choice in strategy, even for those with a current favourite and/or reliable main character.
Presentation and Graphics
For the most part, Street Fighter V is a marvel to behold. It’s a feast of visual effects from blue-flaming hadoukens and purple-coated psycho barrages. The over-the-top muscle bulging is a step back from Street Fighter IV’s style in my opinion, as I feel Capcom have taken a more cartoon-ish approach to V, but I still love to watch it in motion.
Not only that, but the new update in Arcade Edition has introduced a flashy, new intro video and a style change for the lead up to battles. Now, it’s all presented as if it were a movie set, which helps set the tone for what’s to come.
The menu design and stage presentations are really well done too. The new intro music makes for a welcome change and switches back and forth between the original release’s music. All in all, it’s a pleasant experience to be in as a player.
What Holds the Presentation Back?
In short, the Story Mode and how Capcom handles the endings for characters in Arcade Mode. It might be a personal gripe, but I’ve always been disappointed with how Street Fighter handles its character endings, but even more disappointed when they half-arse a better method. This time, they’ve somehow managed to do both.
With the main story, they call it “Cinematic”. In truth, it’s anything but. Though it is managed like an active animation, the Story Mode is so reliant on its in-game assets, whilst still being riddled with loading screens, that it lacks any impressive moments. Everything feels sub-par compared to the way it’s all supposed to be presented during the actual player-controlled fights. There’s no flair. It feels forced.
In contrast, the reward for completing individual character stories in Arcade is less “funny-but-overly-short Tekken animation” and more “we had somebody draw a couple of quick art pieces”. It’s almost like a graphic novel, but a weak one at best. Ultimately, I just feel as if Street Fighter deserves a lot more in its story presentation and that, for me, holds it back.
The main, new feature for Street Fighter V Arcade Edition is – of course – the inclusion of Arcade Mode. It offers a classic feel, featuring six paths based on previous Street Fighter games, that welcomes the best way to play Street Fighter: short bursts of fighting action. That said, it could have been much more than a limited roster selection and artwork ending rewards based on the game’s place in the chronology.
Imagine if Capcom had actually recreated the visual styles of the game paths in Arcade Mode? It seems like a missed opportunity to me, even if it is still my second favourite way to play.
Expanded Roster Included and More New Modes
The original sixteen characters are joined by the twelve released as downloadable content to form Street Fighter V Arcade Edition’s base roster of twenty eight. That’s an impressive amount of genuinely-unique characters, with six more on their way (paid for via the Season Pass). I have absolutely nothing critical to say of their roster now that it’s been fleshed out. It’s arguably the game’s best feature.
Extra Battle allows players to spend their Fight Money – the currency earned in Street Fighter V – for a chance to fight a specific character and earn a unique costume for them. These events take place over several weeks and are time-limited per part.
Honestly, I think they’re handled poorly given that players have to spend their fight money to enter, but the chance to earn cool new costumes for your favourite characters based on other Capcom properties is an interesting way of getting players back in the fold.
Fight Money: The Unbalanced System Even After Three Years
No matter the mode, be it Story, Arcade, Online, Survival – players will earn fight money (at least once, in some cases) for competing. By using Fight Money in the Shop, players can purchase various aesthetic enhancements. New music, stages and costumes for characters are all available.
In theory, the Shop and Fight Money are a great idea. In Capcom’s practice, however, it’s a far cry from what it should be. The goods in the shop are extortionate, and some of the more desirable options are still only available for a real-money purchase. It’s a system that lacks balance and acts as a blatant push towards paying for the content. It’s so transparent that it’s off-putting and needs a desperate revision.
Should you play Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition?
Though I do have issues with Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, there’s no denying it’s an excellent fighting game. With such a large roster, the promise of great characters to come and a host of modes to indulge in, it’s finally the offering that people deserve.
Gamers who should…
Those looking for a classic 2D fighter with easy-to-grasp controls. It has a wide variety of characters and modes as well as a reliable online system.
Gamers who probably shouldn’t…
I can’t imagine a 2D style fighting game fan that shouldn’t “play” Street Fighter V. But if 2D fighters aren’t for you, Street Fighter V likely won’t change your mind.
Dragon Ball FighterZ, Nitroplus Blasterz Heroines Infinite Duel
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Excellent gameplay||In-game currency balance||None in my time with it|
|Beautiful visual effects||Story Mode is sub-par|
|Reliable online||Arcade Mode could be better|
|Wide variety of modes|