STREET FIGHTER 6: BETA THOUGHTS (PS5)
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
This past weekend Capcom had their second closed Beta test of the upcoming sequel to the legendary fighting series known as Street Fighter 6. This highly anticipated game is said to be another game changer in the fighting game genre providing longtime fans with new features not seen in the franchise before with promises that it will give us an experience like never before.
Those selected to participate got the chance to experience how the game's core control scheme and mechanics works as well as the online stability when facing each other using Wi-Fi or Lan. We also got to check out the Fighters Hub which included many gaming cabs to face an online opponent and/or spectate other fights going on.
The Fighters Hub also offered other sections to provide more fun while waiting to face another opponent and rank up such as:
Hubs Goods Shop
Arcade cabinets (where you can play actual Capcom classics)
A DJ booth to mix tunes in.
A photo station for players to take pics and selfies using their avatars.
NOTE: Only the Fighters Hub was available during this test. Both the Fighting Ground and World Tour mode were not available during this test.
Here are my thoughts on my experience with the second closed Beta test which includes one major factor that will allow everyone to feel welcome when playing the next chapter of the Street Fighter series.
One of the biggest attractions I have for Street Fighter 6 is the ability to create your own avatar character to venture through World Tour and Battle Hub with. I am a huge fan of elaborate creative suites where you can create virtually anything within the means of the suite's capabilities. One of my favorites (and arguably the best) creative suites ever in video games goes to 2K Games WWE 2K series (originally developed by YUKES in Japan) which provide a multitude of customizable features to give you the opportunity to create something authentic and original (or you can use it to recreate a favorite real-life wrestler). I have played many games that provide their own creative features, but none matched up to what YUKES had created. That is until now.
For the first time in any game, I've played over the past decades I have never experienced a creative suite as detailed and thorough as what YUKES provided until Capcom decided to build their own in this latest engine.
Much like YUKES creative suite, you have the options to create and conform characters to your imagination with a widespread number of customizations at your disposal.
The creative suite gives you the ability to configure the following:
Body Type (Male, Female)
Identity (Male, Female, Human)
Presets (Avatar presets, Body Presets, Randomize, Blend Face Presets)
Avatar (Height & Proportions, Upper Body, Lower Body, Muscle Definition, Skin Color, Body Hair)
Face (Face, Hair, Eye Shape, Iris/Sclera, Eyelashes, Eyebrows, Nose, Mouth, Ears, Facial Hair, Skin, Definition, Expression)
Body Features (Tattoo decals that you can place anywhere around your body)
Voice (16 voice selections ranging from male, female, deep, and light voices)
Much like WWE 2K's creative suite you create the coolest to the craziest avatar forms you can think of. The one thing you can't do that 2K allows is the ability to upload images to be placed on your avatar. That may be for the better as those who have played WWE 2K while using those features also experience bugs, glitches, crashes, and other errors due to the uploading of jpegs and Png files that the system doesn't recognize.
Leaving that out may not be a deal breaker if it means that the game will remain fluent in its process.
Overall, in this early stage of development it is clear that Capcom is looking to step up the game in the fighting genre once again to remind players around the world who is the pinnacle of the fighting game community.
While this is not the first creative suite, we've seen in a fighting game it is guaranteed the most involved creative suite to date if not ever.
On top of creating your avatar you will also have the opportunity to gain clothing items and accessories using both in-game and real currency.
When visiting the Hub Goods Shop (hopefully they will produce a better name for this show by the time it launches next year) you will meet the clerk named Manny Rose who will help you will your purchase. You are immediately taken to the Hub Goods Shop (NOTE: loading time when entering playing on the PS5. We have no knowledge of the loading times on the PS4).
The hub gives you just a few selections of hats, shirts, sweaters, jackets crazy head gear like a TV head for you to wear, pants, shirts, gloves, shoes for you to choose from with more expected to come at launch and beyond.
For those who played Street Fighter 5 heavily will know that Capcom will provide dozens of items for years to come.
For those who were chosen to play the closed Beta Capcom gave us a starting amount of Fighters coins (which you acquire using real currency) and Drive Tickets (which you earn during online fighting).
Once you purchase the item it will ask if you want to equip it now. Any items you don't have will be stored away for you to use at any time. Much like you did in Street Fighter V you have options on how you want to purchase items for your character. If you want to grind it out on the battlefield you can. If you don't you can just use your real money to purchase items. If this will be anything like SFV then there will more than likely be exclusive items that you can only buy using real money. The lessons they learned from SFV look to be helping craft SF6 into the ultimate fighting game experience.
Now we must talk about the main course of the hearty meal which asked, how was the online experience which now includes cross play. For the first time in years players other than PlayStation owner like XBOX, and STEAM will now own a Street Fighter game. Capcom has added cross play to this game which is why the BETA is needed. Having cross play work fluidly across multiple platforms is vital for not only the online playing experience but also E-Sport tournaments and more. The legendary company needs this experience to go off without a hitch.
While I can't speak for the masses who played the Beta, I can say that my experience was more than impressive. I had no experiences with lagging issues during the times I won and lost a match. The entire weekend went off without a hitch. If everyone in Beta has high bandwidth, keeping them from having the same issues made for successful results on my end.
Entering spectator mode was also fun. Whether you just want to watch or wait for an opponent, spectator mode is a fantastic way to get excited about playing while watching others play.
The one thing I wish we could create is the in-person arcade experience. Many gamers of this generation never grew up with arcades as home entertainment consoles and online gaming isolated the idea of human social gathering. In its place are online hubs which provide entertainment yet lack community interaction that we as humans so desperately need today. It's crazy that we have avatars attempting to do what we used to do and should be doing. Kind of wonder why we are all in the state we are in today.
PLAYING USING "MODERN" CONTROL SCHEME:
The common thing I noticed when people started playing Street Fighter 6 was the assumption that the "Classic control" option would be default. Any veteran of SF knows the traditional control scheme by heart through constant practice and skill.
Capcom took the liberty of providing its more user friendlier handholding modern control scheme to appeal to the casual fans who may not want to go too deep into the game but wants to play along with a fair chance at fun.
While I am not a fan of this option as it has become common in modern fighting games as the primary way to play, I do understand that if its only for those who aren't hardcore for the franchise and just want to play for recreational purposes then that is fine. I doubt that this feature will be allowed in any E-Sport competition and tournament, so I am happy that Capcom made it to cater to all. Once I realized I was using modern controls I decided to try it before changing it to the classic.
I played using my favorite of all Street Fighter characters Ryu (of course) and managed to get used to the control scheme although not winning most of my matches with it.
With all that said this is one of the smoothest modern control schemes I have played with. Capcom did an excellent job making you feel like you have a chance at winning with the right timing you can really get in deep on an opponent. While the control scheme feels comfortable to play there still lies the contrast of the two play styles that you just can't get around. If you played honing your skills mastering the traditional way you may find this mode unfulfilling. It's way too easy to pull off special moves and to some it may feel slightly unethical, much like a college student cheating on an exam using cliff notes. But the good news overall is that there is something for everyone in this game.
So, once I decided to configure my control options from modern to classic, I couldn't help feeling comfortable and in control I became when using the mode. I was able to strategize and prep better. From the video of the Battle Hub fights I had using Chun-Li I was getting my feel for the control scheme (stupidly not practicing beforehand) to get adjusted to her move set and the opponent.
By the second match against Kimberly, I was more familiar with the move set enough to create a plan of action against my opponent. Safe to say that I succeeded through a hard fought (no lag) match and enjoyed it thoroughly. Then I decided to play another favorite in Guile (also not practicing the new move set) I managed to beat another player using the traditional control scheme with excellence. The final thing I will say about the control scheme options is that for years the fighting game control scheme has evolved thanks to modern controllers which much better response times than ever which makes it easier to pull off moves involving quarter, half, and full circle rotations on a D-Pad. During the 16-Bit and 32-Bit era of fighting games one would find it to be complex and challenging to be able to pull off moves like Zangief's spinning piledriver or even Akuma's raging demon on a Super NES/Famicom, Sega MegaDrive, or even a PS1 controller.
But as the years gone by with controllers from PlayStation, Xbox, Logitech, Mad Katz, and more we now have controllers that can help you pull off the most challenging of moves along with training modes that teach you how to execute the moves with precision. I would say to those who would begin their venture through fighting games to start off using the modern control scheme but give yourselves the chance to try out the traditional style as it gives a sense of accomplishment you won't get making it easy for yourself. Hmmmm, like life in a way.
I should also point out some of the new fighting features you can do including the awesome drive system that unleashes a new beautiful and brutal stun attack on your opponent called Drive Impact that will leave them open for combos or to pull off a super move on them.
This includes a Drive Guage that depletes the more you use it during that round. If you drain the gauge, you will enter a burnout state like a fighter in a combat sport would lose stamina.
For longtime fans of Street Fighter 3 comes the return of the Parry system now called Drive Parry which allows you to repel and deflect an opponent's attack with precision if you time it right. Much like Drive Impact, Drive Parry also relies on the Drive gauge.
Overdrive returns which adds more impact and damage to your special moves while Drive Rush has you dashing to your opponent in hopes of catching them off guard.
Drive Reversal is a strategic way to counter your opponent's attack.
Street Fighter 6 is designed solely to create the ultimate fighting game feel while also making it fun to play for everyone from novice and noobs to vets and combo masters alike. With multiple consoles finally getting the opportunity to play the greatest fighting game franchise, once again Capcom had to provide an experience that was well worth the wait. NOTE: No commentary options were available during this beta.
The last and most important aspect I want to mention is something you notice right from the beginning of the game's introduction as well as their promotion of the game. Representation.
As of the last few years (most notably since the events of the last few years dating back to 2020) we have witnessed more games that are advocating characters of all colors and orientation, finally bringing balance and importance to the gaming industry.
Capcom is continuing this tradition creating new characters of color, and orientation as well as your ability to create characters that you want to see roaming the world of Street Fighter. Seeing characters like Eternity introduce you into the next chapter of the series followed by new fighters like Kimberly, and the return of Dee Jay is making change in the right direction. I have no doubt there will be more fighters to come but one thing is clear, Capcom is an ally.
As you have already read in this article, I was overwhelmed with excitement over my play over the weekend. The fact that the game plays this good in this early stage brings great hope. My expectations were superseded with the introduction of the robust creative suite, solid connection for online battles, and the ability to see characters more like me and others. Street Fighter 6 won't be available until June 2023 and right now I can say you have a lot to look forward to with just the way the game plays alone. Without playing through the Fighting Ground or World Tour mode the core of the game is stronger than ever and will only get better as the time comes leading to it official release. One of the biggest questions with the Street Fighter franchise was based around the departure of Yoshinori Ono and how this series would fare without him. The company was prepared to enter this new chapter and it shows. Once again, Street Fighter returns as well as a new era of fighting coming soon.