As a young ‘un, I must have spent in excess of a 100 hours playing on Street Fighter, and likely a hundred more on Street Fighter II – and they were probably the first games that really got me hooked on the medium. I’d always liked playing on earlier “games” – in an enjoyable enough to spend a few hours messing around kind of way – but it was the first two Street Fighters that turned Gaming into a full-time, hardcore obsession for me. It’s often hard to describe to people just how awesome they were when they arrived on the scene, and how, even to a young kid, they just automatically felt like game-changers.
Obviously, Games and Gaming have developed exponentially since then, but graphically- speaking, Street Fighter II still doesn’t look that dated. However, in terms of what Gamers expect from a game, you might’ve reasonably assumed that the relatively limited Single-Player campaigns of a beat ’em up would struggle in today’s market, and that even the prospect of kicking the bejaysus out of a friend in two-player mode wouldn’t be enough to redeem them. That just doesn’t seem to be the case though, and your Street Fighters (and Mortal Kombats, etc) are proving that it’s possible to update a classic formula for a more demanding, technologically advanced age.
And, I’m happy to report that it seems like Street Fighter V will very much continue that trend. I don’t have the longest attention span in the world, and I’ve recently been playing The (huuuuge) Phantom Pain, so it’s perhaps surprising (but impressive) that I was equally enthralled by a size-limited (mostly) 2D beat-em up. And like, really, really enthralled. As I said in my BGS Day One Round-up, I got to have a crack at Street Fighter V with a Journalist, and because things weren’t entirely open to the public at that point, we got to have quite a few goes, giving us an opportunity to really appreciate the shit out of it.
First off, it looks spectacular – and manages the rather neat little trick of being simultaneously Retro and Next-Gen, all at the same time. Returning characters, for example, look exactly how I remember them yet, somehow, totally new and updated. Likewise, the colours and background maintained that core, retro Street Fighter quality, but in a definite re-vamped HD kind of way. Full credit goes to Yoshinori Ono (who was at BGS 2015, btw) and his team for managing to pull off that kind of time-warping magic, and for making a game that fully respects and appreciates its heritage.
In terms of Gameplay, it’s very much what you’d expect – i.e. everything we’ve come to know and love about the game. I’m also happy to report that at least some of the old school special moves still appear to work – which, for once, might give an advantage to us older Gamers. My reactions aren’t what they used to be, but apparently my muscle memory knows how to throw off a big-ass hadouken like it’s still 1991 – so that’s a pretty big bonus, right there. But, if you can’t remember – don’t worry – there’s a place for button mashers too. In a genuinely hilarious moment (familiar to all Street Fighter players, I suspect) we watched a big, burly dude get increasingly frustrated as his Mum handed his ass to him by blindly, randomly battering her controller. Yeah, we’ve all been there – but it’s still a shit-load of fun to watch when it’s happening to somebody else.
And in a nutshell, that’s exactly what I took away from my first look at Street Fighter V: Fun. And a whole lot of super good-looking, infinitely re-playable fun at that! Sure, you’re probably not going to get a 100 hours of an enthralling campaign out of it, but you are going to get plenty of enjoyment, and if you’re like me, plenty of happy, memory-filled hours of nostalgic enjoyment. And, to be honest, you can’t really say fairer than that, right!?