Preview: Street Fighter V adds improved graphics and a whole world of meters
Street Fighter V, initially looking similar to the previous title in the series, is slowly separating itself more and more from its predecessor. Though this latest entry doesn't have the same “OMG I haven’t seen this series in 10 years!” effect going for it, the more we see of the upcoming PC and PS4 title the more interesting details come to light. Here are some of my thoughts after going hands-on with the title at E3 2015.
The graphics and aesthetics appear to be inspired by water, again building on things from Street Fighter IV and taking them in a different direction. Everything looks better this time around and it’s probably due to the lessening of the outlines in the cel-shaded graphics. The backgrounds also seem to affect the appearance of the fighters more, with the new London stage making everything look slightly sepia-toned.
While the characters returning from the previous game look pretty much the same, the long missing characters have had some strange changes made. Nash (Charlie) has patches on his face and body that make him look a bit like Frankenstein, which is interesting and establishes story hooks. However, changing Birdie’s appearance drastically yet again feels like Capcom is rehashing what made Rufus unique. A Black Punk Rock Briton who now has an obsession with donuts? Ok.
With systems returning from Street Fighter Alpha, there are now a few more meters which run the chance of alienating casual players. The super meter is back and EX-specials and Critical Arts (super moves) are able to be used as this meter is built over a match. And there is now a V-Gauge which ties into three new abilities: V-Reversals, V-Skills, and V-Triggers.
V-Skills essentially replace the focus attack and pressing the two middle attack buttons instead triggers a character-specific skill. Ryu's V-Skill is a parry that feels a lot like the ability from Street Fighter 3, while Cammy's does a spinning punch that goes through a lot of attacks and can even switch attacks. Some of these skills can actually build the V-Gauge, and not all of them are offensive. In practice V-Skills were easier to use than focus attacks, but I can't get over the feeling that I was playing a Killer Instinct character that was constantly in Instinct mode.
The other two uses of the V-Gauge actually deplete the gauge. V-Reversals are a lot like Alpha Counters from the Alpha games, but can be used to counter a move while being attacked at the cost of a V-Gauge section. Finally, the V-Trigger requires the entire V-Gauge and gives a unique character specific ability, such as giving Ryu a boost in attack power.
Meters on Meters on Meters
While a lot of these additions make the game sound even more offense-focused than before, the stun meter has returned, encouraging defense too. Basically, get hit without blocking and the meter will fill and stun your character for a few seconds. To be honest I didn’t really notice it while I was playing, but it’s a meter on screen that I don’t really think needs to be there.
Overall, from what I played I can sense the accessibility of the Street Fighter IV series, but the new systems resemble the complexities of the Street Fighter Alpha and that kind of scares me off. While there were a few meters on screen with Ultra Street Fighter IV, there are at least 3 meters other than life on screen here. The V-series of moves also seem a bit overpowered, taking some of the moves introduced in the Omega mode in Ultra Street Fighter IV and making them canon.
However, with that being said, I'm looking forward to whatever else is being added or tried out with Street Fighter V. I’m also hoping we see some actual new characters and more returning characters from the Alpha series. And will we see tournament champs like Rose dropped? T
he systems and even the rumored season approach to characters and updates sound a lot like Killer Instinct's reboot has had an influence on Capcom, and it will be interesting to see what sort of game we actually get when it releases in March 2016.