As a Street Fighter fanboy and aficionado, it’s great to see Capcom doing the right thing and releasing Street Fighter V: Championship Edition with all the bells and whistles that were expected in the Street Fighter V release back in 2016. With missing iconic characters, bugs plaguing gameplay, and feeling as if monetization was a priority over gameplay, it was easy to see how players distanced themselves from the franchise. But with Street Fighter V: Championship Edition, Capcom looks to make up for the bad showing of its beloved fighting franchise.
Street Fighter V: Championship Edition is an amazing fighting game. It felt good to have the full roster of characters, modes, and skins available at the start of the game. Off the bat, Championship Edition launches with roughly forty playable characters, two hundred plus skins, and thirty-four different playable areas to fight in. I think this is Capcom’s way of saying they’re sorry for the Street Fighter V launch debacle. Even with all those options readily available to you, there’s plenty to unlock and master in this edition. Quite a bit has changed with the game since Street Fighter V’s launched. Some good, and some not so good. In my opinion, this game is for those who are die-hard Street Fighter fans or those who love the online fighting circuit.
Once past the long wait to sign into the server, I arrived at the main menu screen, which was easy to navigate and loads quickly whenever you select a game mode. Where Street Fighter V: Championship Edition differs from the other version is the amount of game modes for you to channel your Hadou. In Arcade mode, I had the option of choosing which “path” to go down. Players can go for the throw back and choose the Street Fighter 1 style, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter IV, or stick with the default. I chose Street Fighter Alpha, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Choosing a path simply limits the character choices to that series and the background music. The fighting style, progression, levels, and abilities remain the style of Street Fighter V: Championship Edition. I don’t understand what’s the point of including this if that’s all you get. Each of those games had a unique fighting style, characters, and abilities that you don’t get in Street Fighter V: Championship Edition. So, if you aren’t going to include what made them so unique, why try?
I jumped into Arcade mode and chose the Street Fighter V: Championship Edition path. If anyone knows the basics and mechanics of a Street Fighter game, it comes down to timing. Knowing when to attack and what attack will deal the most damage when your opponent is open – and Street Fighter V: Championship Edition nailed it. Each hit felt crisp and landed as expected. Performing actions felt natural and fluid, something Street Fighter V lacked when it launched. Even as I progressed, beating my opponents and increasing the difficulty, each character felt as if they were their own fighter and their unique moves were accurate. The game’s visuals, though not changed much, appeared to be brighter and gave depth to the characters and fighting arenas. I did experience some issues with hit boxes on larger characters like Zangief, but other normal sized fighter’s hit boxes were perfect. While fighting as Akuma and performing his Raging Demon attack, though the screen goes black, the sprites and shadows casted during the onslaught have never looked better. There was a sense of ominous rage and relentlessness when it’s performed. These weren’t the only things that have changed. Seth, the genetically engineer body for M. Bison has returned but in female form. Many of her abilities remain the same, but she mimics fighter’s abilities, making it a much more challenging fight.
Aside from Arcade mode, there is a Story mode where you can play through the game and fight through the story from the perspective of your chosen character or play through and experience the story from the perspective of the series, which allows you to see and understand where this edition picks up. This I found very rewarding because replayability in a fighting game is a must. With over forty characters to beat the game with, there’s something to learn about each character’s background. Versus mode is your typical PvP or PvC. Challenges mode pits you against different in-game challenges for you to complete and test your skills as a fighter. Training allows you to learn the combo systems, timing, and V skill system so you don’t look like a noob, throwing simple kicks and punches. But this is where I found the greatest departure from the series – where the game stopped being a game and became a monetization cash cow for Capcom.
As a Street Fighter competitor, I respect that online matches are ranked, but should they be locked behind a paywall or another service? Modes like Capcom Fighters Network (CFN), which is where players can watch replays, view world rankings, and profiles, Battle Lounge, where players go to fight in ranked matches, and Casual Match, where players can play without their wins/losses affecting their league points and rankings, all locked behind the PS Plus service. This is four out of the seven main fighting options within the game. As someone who predominantly plays on PC, it’s a hard sell for me to buy the game and pay for PS Plus to experience everything that is Street Fighter V: Championship Edition.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
This is exactly what Street Fighter players have wanted. A game where all of their favorite characters and skins are available, and not having to wait for Capcom to release them when they see fit. The fighting is engaging and rewarding. Each fighter feels unique and offers a wide array of offensive attacks that land as intended. But with most modes locked behind the PS Plus service, it’s a hard buy, even if you are looking to upgrade from the base Street Fighter V game.