After what seems like ages since the last major installment in the Street Fighter series, Capcom announced Street FIghter 6, a new installment in the series earlier this year. While we’ve seen lots of details on the upcoming game, only a lucky few were able to get their hands on the upcoming title. That is, until recently when that number grew significantly thanks to the recently concluded closed beta. Despite the limited content, what was available was incredibly impressive.
The game first introduces players to the Battle Hub, where all of the beta’s events took place. Players were then prompted to create their avatars via its incredibly intricate and detailed character creation and customization menus, which has all manner of sliders, accessories, and other features that allows players to make the most detailed character possible or the greatest abomination known to man. Another of the game’s impressive aspects include the highly detailed graphics and vibrant visuals, chiefly seen through the fighters’ models, updated looks, and dynamic attacks. Every arena featured in the game also looks fantastic and sports an incredible art direction and a great modern look. So far, the soundtrack is also nothing to scoff at, as each character has a unique and well-produced track.
And speaking of characters, it’s worth highlighting the eight characters included in the beta that consist of both new characters, such as Kimberly and Jamie, and returning characters including Chun-Li, Ken, Ryu, Guile, Juri, and Luke. While every character in the game plays great, the new characters especially stole the show with their incredibly fun moves and personalities.
All characters are balanced, but some, like Juri and Kimberly, have admittedly easier moves to pull off, specifically their super moves and combos, compared to Ryu and Ken. However, regardless of the selected character, players will have the two control settings to choose from, namely the Modern and the Classic settings. The first is adjusted to match every character’s move list and allows even new players to pull off crazy combos and moves, while the latter is mainly for those already used to the controls of previous Street Fighter games. Thankfully both settings can be edited to best fit the player’s play style and needs.
As for the core gameplay, combat plays about the same as Street Fighter V and consists of the usual standard attacks, super attacks, throws, meter moves, and ultimate moves, but also includes a few new mechanics, such as the combo-breaking move called the Drive Impact. This attack can absorb hits while breaking guards and interrupting combos, but can also be reversed with another Drive Impact. The mechanic is admittedly frustrating for veteran players, especially when at the opposite end of the attack, but it feels really satisfying when executed at the right time. I also appreciate how both ultimate and meter attacks still take effort to perform regardless of the chosen button scheme.
The beta featured three major gameplay modes. The online vs. mode, a fun but challenging “Back and Forth” seesaw mode, and a training mode that I felt could’ve been easier to access. The online vs. Mode is the standard player versus player mode, whereas the seesaw mode tasks players to duke it out and whoever gets their side of the bar all the way to their opponent’s wins the match. On the other hand, the training mode was only accessible in the Battle Hub and on an empty arcade cabinet while waiting for an opponent to challenge you. While I understand this mode will most likely have its own section on the main menu in the full game, it was rather inconvenient having to search for an empty lobby and sit on an open cabinet in order to train uninterrupted.
Performance-wise, I didn’t encounter any jarring issues as the rollback netcode worked well in maintaining stability in every fight, which resulted in no disconnections. The only noticeable dip in network quality happened when entering crowded lobbies.
Besides that, the Street Fighter 6 closed beta managed to adequately showcase the upcoming game’s brilliant visuals and engaging gameplay. It was a fantastic look at what the game has to offer, and has me excited for what the full game has in store.