Street Fighter V Review – Cammy or Scammy?

A great game. A really great game. When it works.

03

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Format: PC, PS4 (reviewed)
Released: February 16, 2016
Copy provided by publisher

When Splatoon launched on Wii U last year with minimal content, missing features and the promise of gaps being filled in over time, Nintendo largely got away with it. Splatoon‘s servers were rock solid from day one, features were stable, the feature rollout was transparent and everyone was having far too much fun to care that the business model was bad on paper.

Ultimately, I think this is why my first few days with Street Fighter V left such a sour taste in my mouth. When the gameplay is rock solid it’s an amazing game, but days of server issues, crashes, missing features and minimal single player content have just served to highlight how weak the launch day package is.

I could probably have forgiven a lot of the issues with SFV if it worked consistently at launch. In this state, the problems stand out like a sore thumb.

So, when Street Fighter V is working, how is it? Well, it feels like an incomplete but refreshing reboot for the series. It’s a new coat of paint, a mechanical shake up and a reset for any muscle memory built up playing Street Fighter IV.

When Street Fighter IV launched, one of the most obvious aspects of its design was that it had lowered the complexity of the series’ core mechanics, creating a lower barrier to entry with a smooth difficulty curve toward a high skill ceiling. In short, Street Fighter IV welcomed in new fans, and encouraged them to work their way toward being competitive players. This change in approach did a huge amount to help grow the competitive Street Fighter community into what it is today.

04

Many of the changes made to Street Fighter V feel like they are similarly trying to create a fresh opening for new players to jump in and work toward becoming competitive. Returning character movesets are altered, as are their inputs, to hinder returning players’ ability to rely on muscle memory.

Focus Attacks have been replaced with V-Trigger, a new ability that puts your character in a state where they do extra hits with attacks or gain extra strength for guard breaks. Critical Arts replace Ultras, which are functionally similar but use faster animations to maintain the pace of fights.

While it’s very clearly still Street Fighter, there are enough changes to how the core mechanics work that new players have a fighting chance online if they jump in early.

Street Fighter V also has incredibly granular stat tracking, which can be really useful if you’re taking your skill improvements seriously.

I was able to look at a set character I had played as, find out what percentage of times I successfully landed a hit with any given move, and learn where I needed to improve. In the short term, I could work out which attacks I most often messed up and should probably use more sparingly or defensively. These highly detailed stats for every character were incredibly helpful for understanding my own in-game performance.

05

Everything about the moment to moment gameplay in Street Fighter V feels better to play than it did in Street Fighter IV. Specials feel faster, but improved hit pause implementation makes normal attack exchanges feel more weighty and impactful. Every punch feels like it lands with a thud, but specials don’t feel like they take endlessly long to happen. That shift makes a real difference to the way the game feels, and it’s nothing but an improvement on the Street Fighter core.

SFV also seems to have a focus on increasing the pace at which gameplay flows. From Critical Arts featuring shorter animations than Ultras to the decision to replace character selects before every match with a “favourite character” you select on the main menu and automatically fight as in every battle, SFV feels aimed at getting you into matches fast, and through them fast.

Unfortunately, while the core game loop feels stronger than Street Fighter IV, there are some very notable issues with the launch day package, most obvious of which is the number of greyed out options on the main menu.

Where Splatoon presented what content it had at launch and added later, Street Fighter V greets you with a screen where half of the features you want are visible, but not accessible. That really hammers home how much content this game was really meant to have, and being reminded of that every time I boot the game really winds me up.

While there’s an expanded story mode coming in a few months, the current story campaigns consist of three to four fights, no big rival fight, and no fancy ending animation. For beating story mode with a character you unlock a new costume for them.

Actually, you don’t unlock a new costume, you unlock the right to purchase a new costume. From the Street Fighter V Store. The Street Fighter V Store that doesn’t launch for quite a while.

01

Street Fighter V is also missing a challenge mode, instead only featuring training mode. While training mode does have its place in Street Fighter, it’s not comparable to challenge mode when it comes to giving players a structured path to improve their skills.

Lobbies at launch only support inviting one friend to play with you, and even with that minimal implementation I could not successfully start a single match through the lobby system in my first 72 hours with the game.

Four days down and lobbies are starting to function, but they’re still highly unstable. This instability is a big issue, because it means playing online against a specific friend for the first few days was near impossible.

The fact lobbies were down for so long is a real shame, because when I could actually get into matches online the netcode was undeniably solid. In twenty five hours playing the game, I’ve not faced any lag at all online. Even playing PS4 vs PC, the matches were flawlessly smooth.

This is the problem with Street Fighter V at launch, it’s only amazing when it’s working. When it’s taking me twenty minutes to find a casual or ranked match through matchmaking, unable to connect to a match with a friend I know is online, the cracks in this games launch are made all the more apparent.

02

You can get away with a feature light launch if what you release with works flawlessly. You can get away with a poor launch if your game is content rich. I’m not willing to accept a AAA game cutting both those corners.

When playing, Street Fighter V serves much the same role as SFIV did when it released. It shakes up the mechanics to improve pacing, but primarily to throw established players off their feet and give new players a comfortable entry point to the franchise.

When it comes to fighting against someone, it’s one of the most polished Street Fighters to date. When it comes to everything outside of that fight, it’s a huge steaming turd that I look at with a scrunched up, grossed out face.

7/10
Good

Dodj33
Guest
Dodj33

if Jim wrote the same text- he would have given a score of 3

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

Funny story, Jim and I discussed the score together, and agreed this fit best on his score breakdown text.

Dodj33
Guest
Dodj33

oh okay thats fine – i mean shady practices of any sort normally means automatic 5 point penalty for Jim I thought

Anton
Guest
Anton

I was thinking the same thing. But, it would seem that Laura prioritizes core design (which is apparently spot-on here) , and that’s fine too.

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

For me, the core design here is spectacular. Missing content and a poor launch pulled a VERY high score down to a 7 haha

Anton
Guest
Anton

It’s a real shame – these two problems will eventually be fixed, but late adopters won’t want to jump in because of the bad reputation the game is earning now. A disservice to the developers and the game, courtesy of AAA tactics.

aimei66
Guest
aimei66

For me that just highlights how scores are not the be all and end all. I think her review said everything I need to know, and I also understand her own opinions on the game.

MeatMan
Guest
MeatMan

Not only does this prove that scores are not the “be all, end all”, it proves that they’re effectively useless. It’s impossible to get a reviewer’s full opinion by simply looking at a number.

Dodj33
Guest
Dodj33

i was reading this thinking WOW since when does Jim know these techinical aspects about fighting games (after seeing his letsplay video of this game).

Chris N
Guest
Chris N

I actually got the impression from Jim’s video that he was being sarcastic and actually knows more than he’s letting on.

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

NOPE, I did the review purely because he doesn’t know fighting game technical aspects haha

Eric Brandt
Guest
Eric Brandt

And NOW we know why MS really didn’t play ball with Capcom over this game. I look forward to the ULTRA edition in 2017.

superguin200
Guest
superguin200

Love the review! If you’re going to write more reviews/articles for The Jimquisition in the future, maybe look in to changing the color of the little person icon next to your name at the top to blue. It’d make it much easier to instantly tell when you’ve written something. Similarly, Jim could change his icon to red, especially if he’s thinking about hiring other people to write for the site in the future.

Gary Muldoon
Guest
Gary Muldoon

Spot on review, Laura. It seems this game will be content complete around this time next year by the sounds of their release schedule for future modes and updates. I hate the current state of AAA game development. I hope developers soon realize that they can’t get away with shit like this.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

Its annoying too because for eople like me who play a lot offline because we know we’re not the next daigo, its really annoying to know capcom doesnt consider us a priority at all

Ringwraith
Guest
Ringwraith

They just pushed it out a month early, without really explaining that very well to casual observers, because their tournament schedule’s starting up about now, so it’d mess it up if they delayed the game.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

I understand that. but it still basically says “I have no reason to buy this game for now”

Ringwraith
Guest
Ringwraith

Unless you want to get your practice in early and you know how to navigate a game of the genre? Absolutely.
It’s why it’s not recommendable to most people.

Nobody's Fanboy
Guest
Nobody's Fanboy
If that’s the case, then given that devs are regularly compiling builds to send to QA, or to the people who control the purse strings, there was a simple solution, and something Capcom themselves have been doing since the 90s: Get in touch with Valve (Steam) and Sony (PSN), make arrangements to push out a ‘prerelease tournament edition’, made for the express purpose of tournament entrants having time to play before the tournament schedule starts up. If they feel like being nice, give them an ‘upgrade’ to the full game when it was done. By doing that, rather than foisting… Read more »
Ringwraith
Guest
Ringwraith

Yeah, that would make sense. They’re not into that.
If it was clear indicators that a bunch of things are missing until March, the lacking features wouldn’t be so bad.
The server state is still pretty terrible regardless though.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Great Review Laura. Minor quibble, but considering this is Jim’s site and the basic assumption is that Jim is doing the reviews, could we in the future get like a bolded sentence line before the review saying “This review was written by _____”? Unless Laura/other reviewers become much more common, in which case the name at the top is fine as is.

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

That’s down to Jim, his call how he wants to format.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Thanks for being so open Laura, it’s really cool of you, and much appreciated.

Anton
Guest
Anton

Great review, Laura! I hope you stay on as at least a semi-regular around here.

RougeMephilesClone
Guest
RougeMephilesClone

That seems fair. Very good Splatoon comparison, I think you nailed why there was no controversy then, and is a controversy now. I hope the online components can be fixed in the next few days before I get my copy. If they aren’t, I might miss the group of people around my skill level entirely, as they would all have more practice than me.

Even Luck
Guest
Even Luck

I wasn’t exactly comfortable with the idea of additional reviewers for the Jimquisition website (an opinion I hope doesn’t come across as mean-spirited), but I think Laura managed to convince me otherwise. Good work.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

I think its a great idea in cases like this where its a genre Jim has no real ability to review but has a friend who does.

Even Luck
Guest
Even Luck

In these cases, yeah, it’s a good idea.

Argnoth
Guest
Argnoth
Great review Laura. Not coming to defend Capcom here, but due to the e-sports seasons around Fighting Games happening the way they are, the content is light because they wanted to get the product out there to let professional players have it in time to practice for the Capcom Cup. It sucks that this essentially becomes a “let’s release Versus, online, and training mode now because the pros need them, and we’ll worry about the rest later” especially when it comes out at full price. I think Capcom could’ve saved a lot of face by releasing what worked now (maybe… Read more »
Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

right? every beta we saw massive server issues..so of course day one..massive server issues. >_>

Nobody's Fanboy
Guest
Nobody's Fanboy

They could’ve saved a ton of face by releasing a download-only ‘prerelease tournament edition’, and then saving the game’s release for when the game was finished, yeah…it’s not like Capcom doesn’t have a precedent for such things going back to when they were selling cartridges or anything.

09philj
Guest
09philj

There’s something I find off putting about Street Fighter’s aesthetic, and I think I’ve nailed down what it is:

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

banana hair?

09philj
Guest
09philj

It’s that, and the skin. And the shapes of the body. I’ve fapped to weird stuff in my time, but for once I don’t feel like looking for dirty fanart.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

ehh. the character models I dont mind because I kinda like the stylization. though Luara’s design kinda comes off as a bit too DOAX, same with mika’s redesign. and the males look hilariously roided out. Do like Karin and Cammy’s alt costueme design at least. But yeah..the art is…good and bad.

Ringwraith
Guest
Ringwraith

It’s SFIV! But a little less ridiculously proportioned in general.

I will give a pass on Rainbow Mika because that is a very Japanese wrestling outfit, and Zangief exists.

Jack_T_Robyn
Guest
Jack_T_Robyn

Outsourcing this review was an excellent call, the genre-savvy adds a lot.

Cultured Vultures
Guest

Always enjoy the guest reviewers on here, they know their parsecs from their Sarlaccs.

SFV is great, even if it is just a fancy Alpha with a beard.

Larsen
Guest
Larsen

And the PC version doesn’t have dinput support or personalized key bindings on launch … a fighting game … no dinput support …

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

from what I hear the pc version doesnt even support the official SF ps4 fight stick. what the hell is that? lol

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

Yeah, you have to use free pc programs to fake dinput which sucks

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

I just cant fathom how Capcom couldnt even be buggered to put in fight stick support.

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

It’s almost like Sony made it part of the exclusivity contract.

Paragraph 10-A, Section 3:
Capcom must do everything in their power to inconvenience customers who use Microsoft products, including the Windows operating system. Because fuck those guys for not buying our console.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

makes my decision to buy a wiiU with my refund feel even more justified 😛

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

I just hope the NX doesn’t undo all that goodwill. Nintendo really needs to spill the beans already.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

yeah, agreed

09philj
Guest
09philj
NeilS52
Guest
NeilS52
First of all congratulations Laura, seeing your review pop up here was a nice surprise. I’m not going to be playing Street Fighter V because fighting games are not my jam, but even as someone who isn’t going to play it I am very dissapointed in Capcom. You would think that the industry as a whole would of figured out by now that games that have a always online component always end up being a shit show. At least you can play offline but even that is squandered by not being able to gain currency or progress in any way… Read more »
Muramasa
Guest
Muramasa
Where this differs from Splatoon however is the fact that Splatoon was a new IP and an experament for Nintendo and their plan was transparent from the start, many of us bought that game expecting to have fun but not really expecting for this to be what a ‘sequel’ should be, which is for all intents and purposes an ‘improvement’ over the previous game. Instead, much as Soul Calibur 5 did, this game has launched at a full pricepoint with far, far less features and characters available at launch, which for a game like Street Fighter which makes its bread… Read more »
Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

and if they do stick to their plan to never release a new edition, just new fighters..then offline players are doubly screwed.

Gorantharon
Guest
Gorantharon

Nice one Laura.

The only big information missing from this review is the failed support of many peripherals.

I do take issue with the score, though. While the text gives a very good impression of the game, positive and negative, the score suggests this is a product fit for purchase.

I’m not sure I’d agree to that.

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

Look at Jim’s review number brakdowns. It’s a really good game, but it’s hard to recommend without a bunch of caveats.

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

And RE peripheral support, while it’s not ideal you can fudge in support within 5 mins or so using online tutorials. Not ideal, but not a huge factor. Onb PC, no keyboard key rebindings sucks a fair amount/

Gorantharon
Guest
Gorantharon
You can use external methods to get your fight stick working,but they don’t work 100% flawlessly either. It’s just one thing I’d say that is not unimportant to potential buyers. On the matter of score: Unless we stretch “not the most polished” to breaking degree, at least for me, I’d say I disagree with the general direction of that score. I won’t argue numbers, though, “it’s good when it’s working”, but mostly it seems to be not, is an instance where I would have preferred no score and just your text. As I said, I think the words did a… Read more »
Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

I’d have honestly have not scored personally, but when in Jims house you play by Jim’s rules 😛

Rashed Mokdad
Guest
Rashed Mokdad

My biggest complaint so far is the online is pretty much broken at this stage. I could have at least handled waiting for more stuff to arrive had the online kept me busy…

TheCaardvark
Guest

Aesthetically though, it looks beautiful- more colours is always a plus for me, fuck realism.

Fuckhead
Guest
Fuckhead

I assume Capcom wanted to get it out there in time for FGC to prepare for tournaments, but honestly don’t think they should’ve released this as a full price title until the offline portion was finished. At least we know they’re going to be polishing a gem and not a turd. Just a shame they fucked up the launch so badly. Doesn’t inspire confidence.

Aarni Kontio
Guest
Aarni Kontio

They wanted to have it featured at EVO

CorimKnight
Guest
CorimKnight

Good to have you on-board the good ship Jimquisition, Laura!
I don’t really play fighting games, so Street Fighter V wasn’t really on my radar to begin with. But all those problems you mentioned are enough for me to keep my distance from this instalment. That’s a shame, since I was hoping this game would be the one to get me into fighting games outside of Smash. I guess I’ll just go play Pokken instead when it comes out next month.

PowerSerg
Guest
The thing the game has microtransactions that they dress up really pretty as content you can get for free that you couldn’t before. Only issue is you have to get good, to get good you got to play from day one, to play from day one you got to play on the shitty launch, ect, ect. Beating all the story mode missions and other in game content only gives you enough money for a character and a costume when the store launches. More story content is coming but when and how much fight money does it give? Also the core… Read more »
Magnalon
Guest
Magnalon
“Beating all the story mode missions and other in game content only gives you enough money for a character and a costume when the store launches” Enh not quite. Story mode gives you roughly one and a half characters with 160,000 Coins. But Survival mode also grants you additional coins. At present, I haven’t completed 2/4 survival difficulties, and I have enough for nearly four characters. It’s been a few days since launch. Once I have everything done, only including launch content and not nebulous “future promises,” it’s possible I will have enough for all Year One fighters. It’s not… Read more »
Ringwraith
Guest
Ringwraith

Supposedly there will also be daily challenges to complete that give you currency to buy stuff with.
…when the March update hits.

Really needed a “competitive preview” label or somesuch, it’s clearly not quite finished, the meat is there, the frills are not.

Magnalon
Guest
Magnalon

Yeah. I’m not including any [likely broken] Capcom promises in this assessment, just launch content. At present, survival mode and level bonuses are quite hefty.

At the end of the day, if I’m able to basically negate the Season Pass entirely and get free DLC for a year, I’m not super mad at this concept. I may actually achieve this goal as early as next week.

Ringwraith
Guest
Ringwraith

Although Survival mode is a massive time-waster, as most of the rounds are much easier than the final few, where the AI has cheating numbers.
Also the alternate colours are unlocked per costume, not per character, which makes it even worse.

PowerSerg
Guest

Beating Survival mode, and enjoying survival mode are required to do that. I should have accounted for that but regardless it isn’t exactly my personal good time. I’m not a fan of Survival modes in general.

Petri Korpikoski
Guest
Petri Korpikoski

You’re talking out of your ass mate.

Steve Ray Hodgson
Guest
Steve Ray Hodgson

I hate how devs think this is OK. If you are going to leave out features from the game why not remove the menu iteams as well. I mean why remind everyone it’s half a game? And why do this in the first place? I mean I’ll just wait a few months and buy it for cheaper and with all its content!

Spiderman Three
Guest
Spiderman Three

I just come here to say nice work name starting with J. Now you’ve ruined it for me.

But nice work Linda.

Holmborn
Guest
Holmborn

I will say, Capcom has already said that they will adress a lot of the pc problems, and the march update will solve a lot of the problems.
The core fighting is great, and just today, they have made their servers a hell of a lot better.
It had poor launch, but its getting better by the day. Wait untill march, and get a full experience, with more good to come later on.

Nathan Aldana
Guest
Nathan Aldana

thats the thing though. You cant review on potential. And I say that as someone with all intentions to buy SFV..once the game is actually there.

Laura Dale
Guest
Laura Dale

I left this until I had the game four days to write the review. If not fixed by then, it’s getting panned as a consumer product.

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