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Game review: Street Fighter V

Though the launch version doesn't have a satisfactory story mode, the combat moves are interesting enough to keep you hooked

At launch, ‘Street Fighter V’ is just about the core fighting.<br />
At launch, ‘Street Fighter V’ is just about the core fighting.

In those days the arcades were dark, underground and filled with the sounds of 8-bit digital mayhem. A first glimpse of two pixelated fighters beating the living snot out of each other changed lives. Jam in that coin, see the words “Here comes a new challenger" flash on the screen and you’re ready to jump into the fray. Street Fighter has come a long way from those coin-powered machines and has managed to stay fresh through the years. It is now a massive eSports title. Now, the fifth installment of the iconic game has just jammed that coin into the slot. Let’s see if it is a worthy challenger.

The evil organization Shadaloo is up to no good, with M.Bison, the power-wielding long-time antagonist of the Street Fighter series, back to his old games. The story of Street Fighter V embraces the lighter side of things, but what you get in the currently released version is just a few fights with their prologues told through voiced-over illustrated panels. This is disappointing when you consider Mortal Kombat X’s amazing story mode. Capcom, the maker of Street Fighter, has revealed that there will be a more substantial cinematic story mode launching soon as a downloadable pack. With a lot of things coming later, at launch, Street Fighter V is just about the core fighting. That has, thankfully, still got that old magic, with a lot of new tricks.

In the launch version, there is a roster of 16 characters to play as—a few more will be added over the course of time. The characters include several familiar faces, such as Ryu, Ken Masters, Dhalsim, Zangief, Chun-Li, Vega, R.Mika, Birdie and Charlie Nash, and there is also new blood in the form of F.A.N.G, a Shadaloo baddie with long range; Necalli, an Aztec fighter with wild hair and a fighting style very similar to Blanka’s; Laura Matsuda, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter that uses lightning. Lastly, there’s Rashid, a fighter from the Middle East that uses wind-based attacks and flashy moves.

The core fighting systems are all there. Two fighters meet in combat on gorgeously animated 2D arenas. The characters themselves are dripping with personality and are animated in great detail. The game runs smoothly at 60 frames per second. You have various attacks: light, medium and heavy, on the ground or in the air. Using various button combos you can pull off special attacks that fill the screen. The best part of Street Fighter V is that it is so easy for a beginner to start, yet it’s incredibly deep. Each fighter handles differently—the slower ones deal more damage, the faster ones less. In no time you will be pulling out complex combos using every advantage. Once confident, you can take your game online against real players or you can just get a bunch of friends over for some two-player fun.

While Street Fighter V at launch may be a wafer thin game with not much content for the single player, with its true-to-roots battle systems all intact and better than ever this game is highly recommended, for old and new players alike.

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