I previously only played Street Fighter V for a few hours upon launch and I wasn’t impressed. I’m not a massive online fan so the lack of any single player content put me off and I quickly resold it to try and regain some of my money. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, coupled with the free Story DLC is exactly what the original game should have been when it originally launched – it’s as if the game has been in ‘Early Access’ for two years and we have finally reached version 1.0. So, it’s time to put on your tatty white kung fu outfit and headband as we see if Capcom has done enough to regain our trust and support with this, rather massive, free update…
I’m pretty sure you all know what Street Fighter V is and what was included, if not, here is a brief summary. Street fighter V is a PS4 exclusive on consoles and on PC via Steam and is fully cross-play compatible with the option to only play against the same platform if you choose. The gameplay mechanics were solid, as you would expect from a Street Fighter game with every one of the 16 combatants offering different, distinct play styles each with their own vast array of special moves and new V-Triggers and V-Skills.
V-Skills are unique attacks which you can utilise by pressing both medium punch and kick at the same time. The result is different for each player with some being for offensive and some defensive. The main purpose of this move is to fill your V-Gague, which is gradually refilled with every successful V-Skill you pull off. Once the Gague is full, you can unleash your V-Trigger which is, once again, unique to each combatant and it either unleashes a powerful move or it makes all of your special attacks stronger for a period of time.
Because the game is cross-play, you can’t just use your PSN name as your ID, as someone over on Steam may have the same (as they can freely change it whenever they want). Because of this, Capcom created the CFN – the Capcom Fighters Network. Here, you must choose a new username and a flag for your country of origin – I wasn’t too keen on this as my customary ‘Turniplord’ had already been taken so I had to settle for something else! Another thing to take note off, if you decide in the future that you wish to change your name or flag then you must pay via in-game currency or real money in order to do so.
The game appeared to be lacking key characters at launch with the promise of the beloved ones being added in the near future. None of these additions was free however, you could either purchase new characters, arenas and skins using in-game credits which you earn as you play or you could opt to pay real money in order to unlock them. They also had two season passes of characters since launch which added a total of 12 new characters to the mix. Add this to a lack-lustre story mode and a dodgy online net code, it didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes when the game came out in Feb 2016. The game was praised for its graphics, soundtrack and core mechanics – however, this wasn’t enough for most people as they wanted more and quickly moved onto other fighting games as Street Fighter V wasn’t able to keep their interest for very long.
Fast forward to 2017 and wow, this Street Fighter V is not the one I remember from 2016! The game has received many updates, both big and small, over the last two years which has now made the game more complete and more appealing to all players of any skill level. If you were to ask me, “which popular, competitive fighting game offers you the most content for your money”, I would have to answer “Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition”. Once you download the free story DLC and factor in all of the updates this game brings – I think you’ll be hard to find a game for this price (which I’ll come to) which offers a lengthy single-player experience, a casual and competitive Multiplayer aspect which is cross play with the PC and even carries on the tradition of allowing all DLC to be unlocked in-game via credits you earn.
Capcom has also released the game in a format I’m actually really happy with! If you already own the original game, or even if you go and pick it up cheap from a shop now, you can download all of the Arcade Edition content for free as an update. This, if you’re new, will give you the base game, the new story and arcade mode along with the original eleven stages and 16 characters – with the rest you can purchase with in-game credits or real money. Alternatively, if you pick up the ‘Arcade Edition’ either digitally or at retail, then you will not only gain access to the above but you will also be given all of the season one and two characters, thus boosting your number of combatants to 28. If you’re new to the series then the decision is up to you as I would recommend the Arcade Edition but you can just unlock them all in-game if you are going to play the game a lot.
I’ve been dabbling with the in-game currency, Fight Money (FM), as I never really touched on it the first time I played Street Fighter V and it seems pretty hard to earn. Sure, there are various things you can do in order to gain FM quick and easy, the easiest being just level up a character as each level rewards you with FM. If you have the Arcade edition then you have 28 characters to basically mine FM with! Outside of your character development though, the majority of the FM will come from online matches as the recently added Story Mode and the brand new Arcade Mode don’t actually reward FM for progressing through them. This is a shame as I absolutely loved playing the new Arcade Mode yet I kind of felt a little let down when all I unlocked were some costumes and gallery artwork – don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we got those but if I was playing the base game trying to unlock characters I can imagine it will take quite a while.
One other thing, which I thought was a bit strange and not really to my liking, is the timed events. I imagine some people will love these as they offer a real challenge and they don’t just let anyone play them. The game has a few challenges at a time where you must pay FM in order to even participate in the fight. Stupidly, I spent 1000FM to enter a fight which I knew I was bound to lose – which I did and thus, lost all of my FM! The good thing about these though is that if you are good at the game then you can enter them and the rewards are usually quite big – so they allow you to obtain more FM so you can unlock more content and even exclusive costumes. At the moment there is a mission where you can unlock a Viewtiful Joe costume for Rashid. I know a few people who had the game since 2016 and have managed to unlock every single character so far without paying a penny on DLC, so it is doable, it’s just time-consuming.
The Arcade Mode is the stand out feature in my opinion (which it should be, based on the name of the game) as it lets you play through six mini-arcade pathways where you fight with and against characters from a particular game. The first is Street Fighter, which contains the four characters present in the original arcade game + Zeku. Street fighter II was my favourite with a reimagining of the barrel mini-game and a bunch of your favourite Street Fighter II characters – I just wished they had used the original announcer! Similarly, you have an arcade mode for Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V – I’ve not played a Street Fighter game since II so I’m not that educated on these, apart from V, but I have looked them up and each pathway contains characters that are in Street fighter V which were also in that particular previous version of the game.
They have recreated the character select screens so they are the same colour and style that you would see in the original games, the music in some stages have been remixed from the original soundtracks and you can even fight in period-specific costumes which brings back quite a lot of nostalgia and memories from previous iterations I have played. Also, upon completion of an arcade path with a character, you unlock a new image for your gallery, an image which is inspired by the game whose path you were playing through.
Was the arcade mode worth a two-year wait? Probably not – but it was worth waiting for in my opinion (just maybe not two years). This opens the game up to people who don’t care much for online and want to spend time playing it on their own or against their friends. Now, anyone of any skill can join in and gradually get better as they bump up the difficulty and train themselves within real battles.
One of the new mechanics on offer is a new V-Trigger, as I mentioned in my summary above. Each of the 28 (and beyond) characters have been given a second V-Trigger ability which can be chosen before you enter a fight. This allows you to experiment and find out which one is best for your particular fight style. This also gives you a reason to go back and try out previous characters who you thought weren’t for you as some of the new abilities really pack and punch and can help turn a characters play-style around.
Also available, with the Arcade Edition or the update are: Team Battles – A new mode for two local teams of up to five characters battling it out for victory, Special Challenges – similar to the weekly missions but these are of a more grander scale and happen throughout the year, as well as an audio player, redesigned UI, a new way to examine each frame in training mode and 3D costume previews. Capcom has gone all out on cramming this latest update with a load of new, fan-requested features.
Another new addition is Sakura, the first character of the season three character pass. Again, she can be purchased with in-game currency, real money or by buying the season pass. She is a young Japanese woman who works in an arcade and has mastered moves with almost rival Ryu.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition has made me interested in the franchise again. The combat and graphics are still as amazing as they were two years ago, albeit with the slight refinement here and there in order to get it rock solid. The question is, is there enough content to justify a purchase? Well, that’s a simple answer tbh – yes. If you own the original game then you don’t need to buy anything, all of the above is accessible via the latest update and via the Story DLC which is on the PSN store for free. If you have the game and haven’t tried it in a while – why not install it and give it a shot?
On the other hand, the jump between the usual iterations isn’t as large as you may hope as it hasn’t actually added more characters or changed the mechanics around – it has unlocked (if you buy the Arcade Edition) the last two seasons of content and kept the mechanics the same as the base game apart from a few new additions. That technically isn’t bad thing, just don’t expect the game to be drastically different from 6-12 months ago in terms of gameplay; however, in terms of content and new modes – they have really raised the bar with this latest free update.
It’s taken Capcom just under two years to finally deliver the definitive Street Fighter V experience but I’m so happy they continued to support the game and released this version, especially seeing as it’s free to all current owners of the base game. If you are new to the genre and want to start slow, there is now a full, meaty single player and an arcade mode for you to both practice and progress though. The core mechanics surrounding the fighting and the special moves are second to none this generation, Street Fighter V is one of the best competitive fighting games I’ve had the pleasure of playing so far. If you own the game but haven’t played it in a while – give it a go, try out the new modes and characters – you might be surprised!
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
- A great come-back for the series
- The Arcade Mode is lots of fun and the rewards are fun to earn and collect
- If purchasing the Arcade Edition you gain access to 28 characters - all detailed beautifully and with their own move-sets
- All DLC can be bought using in-game currency
- Very active online modes with many competitive and friendly matches
- No changes in core mechanics, so those who are only interested in MP may not be as impressed
- The new Extra Battle Mode requires you to use your hard-earned Fighter Money to participate
- You can't earn Fighter Money for progressing through the single player apects
- Earning Fighter Money can be a chore