Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition Review- An Old Warrior Learns Some New Moves
Arcade mode is a staple of the fighting game genre. Fighting AI opponents to a final bout against an extremely difficult boss to learn the fate of your favorite character is something that both casual and competitive fighting game players enjoy. So, it was naturally off putting when Street Fighter V launched in 2016 with this mode absent. Fast forward two years, and the release of Arcade Edition gives faithful players more reason to play, and fresh faces a great jumping on point.
The biggest draw is the previously mentioned Arcade Mode. Street Fighter V allows players to chose from six titles in the series (SF1-5 plus Alpha), and take on the various combatants in them to earn their appropriate ending at that point in the franchise. While it isn’t the animated cutscenes of previous Street Fighters, the ending illustration given at the end of the journey is nice, and it’s a good way for those unfamiliar to learn the lore. Characters don their nostalgia costumes in bouts to recreate the scene, barrel bonus stages return, and you can even fight in secret bouts depending on your performance. I would recommend setting the difficulty higher than the default however, because the AI is rather easy to defeat. It should also be noted that beating Arcade mode does not grant fight money.
The other big mode in this package is Extra Battle mode, a collection of rotating challenges that are swapped out every few weeks. These challenges cost fight money and allow players to earn special rewards, such as titles, experience, fight money, and the monthly crossover costumes. To earn these costumes, you must complete the revolving challenges that award costume parts. Once all parts have been collected, you will earn the costume. I enjoy the ability of earning rewards through gameplay, so I found this to be a worthwhile endeavor, so long as challenges don’t become so difficult that I blow all my fight money. Arcade Edition also includes a Team Battle mode, which allows players to craft teams of fighters, and then go head to head. I don’t see this mode having much longevity, as other fighters have done similar modes in the past, and V’s doesn’t do anything to change the formula. Still, it’s a nice addition for those interested.
Aside from the modes, AE totes character tweaks for the entire roster. This is done through the addition of new moves, buffs and nerfs, and second V triggers for all characters. These V triggers allow for new ways to combo and gain damage. Triggers range from a parry counter for Ryu, Bison’s classic psycho crusher, a giant thrown shuriken that boomerangs for Ibuki, and more. These additions make Street Fighter V feel like a more open fighter, with less limitations and more room for experimentation.
Arcade Edition does not address all the issues from the initial launch, however. Fight money is extremely limited. The ability to earn fight money offline has been removed, meaning your main source of income will be through leveling characters (1,000 FM per level). You can also try the Extra Battle challenges, however if you lose you’ll only be reducing your fight money. Winning online matches only nets fifty fight money, and in a game where costumes cost 40,000 and stages 70,000, players will have a difficult time trying to purchase the game’s content without having to pay additional out of pocket. That’s without factoring in the netplay, which is still problematic. While a good portion of matches ran smoothly, it was extremely evident when my opponent had poor connection, and with no way to determine a player’s connection in ranked (outside of the search criteria), it’s easy to be put in a poor fight. When searching for training materials, I noticed a lack of specific character training on Ed and some of the other Season 3 characters, which is vital for new players or those trying to learn a new main.
The presentation of the game varies. While a majority of the characters are passible, standouts like Ken look strange. Stages can be either gorgeous outdoor environments, or dark and drab interiors. The training stage is more darkly shaded, making it less pleasing to the eye. The sound design on the other hand is remarkable, with music that ranges from calming menu themes, to remixes of classic SF tunes. Effects sound impactful, making your attacks have real weight to them.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is the upgrade that many desired, and rightfully so. The addition of new modes, balance changes, and V triggers, add more depth to the fighter before, and make it feel like a true launch. Despite its presentation and online issues, this is an excellent jumping on point for new players, and a great incentive for fans to keep playing Capcom’s premier fighter.
*Note: Arcade Edition comes as a free update for those who purchased Vanilla Street Fighter V. Those who did not, can buy the Arcade Edition, which will include the Season one and two DLC characters.