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Street Fighter V: Champion Edition (PS4) Review

April 1, 2020 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
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Street Fighter V: Champion Edition (PS4) Review  

I really liked Street Fighter 4 when it came out. The art style was unique, it had a good roster of old/new characters and it looked to be a return to fighting games that Capcom started then eventually killed off. That game went through at least three different upgrades, adding more characters, stages, etc. When Street Fighter V was announced, their attitude was basically “Eh, you’ll buy it anyway, so we don’t have to try too hard.” Well, I didn’t, and judging from a lot of people, they passed also. So, what does Champion Edition look to bring to the table?

On the most fundamental level, Street Fighter V is a competent enough fighting game, especially if you liked SF4. While the Focus Attacks are gone, it introduces a modified V-Trigger system that gives you some choices.

You have two different V-Trigger moves, one for Medium Punch/Kick and one for Heavy Punch/Kick. The Medium one is usually just a quick move, or counter that you can pull off whenever, and is very analogous to the Focus Attack. The Heavy one, you can only use when the V-Trigger bar is full, and typically puts your character in a powered up state, to deal more damage or to change certain moves.

Aside from this, the actual nuts and bolts gameplay is much as the same from previous Street Fighter games. You still throw a Hadouken by pressing, Down-Forward Punch, you still do Chun-Li’s Lightning Kick by rapidly pressing kick. You still have to charge up Guile to throw his Sonic Boom, etc. In a general level, playing this game is like slipping into an old pair of shoes.

There are requisite new characters of course. Rashid (kick guys with wind), Laura (electric grappler), etc., but also DLC characters like Abigail (big looking brawler dude), Menat (plays kind of like Rose), Lucia (sprinter character), and Kage (Evil Ryu), to name just a few.

I am going to kind of reiterate here that the fighting engine is solid. Everything feels like it should, the new V-Trigger stuff doesn’t break the game, it only adds to it, and most of the new characters are “alright”, but I didn’t find any of them exceptional, unlike in Street Fighter 4. I’m getting this good out now, because here is a whole heaping of bad.

I’ve had the chance to also play/review Samurai Showdown on the Switch. My basic thought on that game was “The fighting engine is not great (in my eyes), but everything else surrounding the game is good.” Well, Street Fighter V is the opposite of that. The fighting is good but it is so obscured by garbage, as to make it almost unplayable.

The first hitch is when I started the game. I’m not kidding when I say that it went through around 20 screens of new features, legalize text and nonsense about the online systems. It just goes on and on, for a good two minutes. I thought to myself “Well, might as well buckle in, this will be a ride.”

I don’t play Street Fighter 5 every day, I play it every three or four days. EVERY SINGLE TIME, the game has had to download some title update. It does it in game, as opposed to through the PS4, but having to wait to even get to the main game menu is awful. It also has system messages that I would swear are written in Greek with how unfriendly it is to read.

The netcode is straight up trash, which is BEWILDERING to me, considering the pedigree of Street Fighter and it being 2020. Wasn’t Street Fighter V positioned as some type of eSport game initially? Why does Samurai Showdown, on the goddamn Switch of all consoles, have a better and smoother online experience? I specifically matched with *only* PS4 players also, I didn’t do any cross-play stuff, and the code was still not good.

The funniest/most disgusting aspect were the loading screens. After you pick a stage, characters and V-Triggers, the fight would load. The loading screen would be an advertisement for the Championship Pack DLC…WHICH I ALREADY OWNED! Three of the four fights I loaded into were trying to sell me DLC which I owned. I finally had to breakdown and ask a friend who played more of the game, how to turn these stupid ads off, which you can do with a simple menu toggle. The fact this is on by default, especially to people who already own the DLC is extra gross.

Oh, also, the Fight Bucks, or whatever, you earn though playing the single player part of the game is worthless. I think you can buy different colored banners for your fight profile and that might be about it? There is also some weird slot machine thing with this Dojo stage, which seemed like a total rip-off of DBFZ, among other games.

On a hilarious note, there is still stuff to buy in the shop, specifically five character alternate costumes which AREN’T a part of the Championship edition, and you can’t buy them with fight money. These costumes are about $6.00 a pop, and a few purchasable stages are like $10. I’m sure EVERYONE is going to throw down $40 to buy four additional stages for the game.

I think my overall biggest problem with Street Fighter V is that it is a game that initially came out for the hardcore/fighting scene crowd and they’ve done almost nothing to ease new or casual players into this game. It has an extremely barebones tutorial and that’s it. The story mode is laughable, especially having to download the “real” one in a separate store option, with AI fighters that are dumber than the car you beat up in Street Fighter 2. Everything is mega-focused on the Capcom Cup garbage and fighting online, and the games’ online barely seems to even work.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Like I’ve said above, the core fighting engine is great. It’s a refinement of previous games in the franchise and there are new and old characters to get into. But that is only the real big positive. Even 4 years after the game came out, Street Fighter V is still a bummer to actually boot up and attempt to play. The online is barely functional, the story mode is half-baked, and honestly, I even kind of dislike how this game looks. Between the two, I might say get Ultra Street Fighter IV if you just want a functional fighting game. This was the last chance for Street Fighter V it seems, and it only sporadically seems to function.

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Street Fighter V, Marc Morrison