Review: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition (PS4)


Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (50.96 GB)
Release Date: February 14, 2020
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Original MSRP: $29.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: T
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The world of console video games has changed a lot in the last few generations, and one of the most controversial ways is the ability for games to be patched or changed after launch. While seemingly a good thing at face value, allowing developers to fix bugs or issues that were missed in testing, detractors have noted that the ability to “fix in post” has lead to some games seemingly released too early and without any testing.

I bring this up because Street Fighter V is a game that has changed substantially since it first launched. Launching to largely mediocre or bad reactions (though not all, as Rey enjoyed it for his review), the current version of SFV has seen an incredible glow-up in nearly every way. For my money, while the shaky launches are annoying, I am glad to see games given the chance to reach that full potential. Some developers might have just pushed the launch aside and moved to a Street Fighter IV, but the years have instead been kind to SFV.

I was certainly one of those who were underwhelmed by the game at launch (I probably would have rated it around a 6 had I been reviewing it). It played nice enough, but without much to do and, with the limited roster, the game just paled in comparison to not only its predecessor, but other contemporary titles. After only a few sessions, I put the game aside and barely thought about it outside the yearly Evo tournament (and even then, I would usually prioritize watching other games for which I had fonder memories).

Having pretty much not touched the game since its initial launch, I was wowed at the amount of additions when I booted up Champion Edition. However, in researching the differences since the Arcade Edition of a few years ago (see Chazz’s review), it would appear that many of these upgrades were made at that time. The only major update this time around is the addition of a second V-Trigger to complement the two V-Skills each character had. Otherwise, Champion Edition does seem to be more of a “game of the year” release which compiles the plethora of DLC into an easy-to-buy into package.

And honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Games that get periodic releases and updates can be hard to follow, and falling off the train even for just a few months, let alone years as I did with SFV, can make getting back in feel like running into a brick wall. That feeling is exacerbated even more for those coming in completely new. Being able to get nearly all of the DLC releases of the past few years makes it a solid way to catch up.

As to my opinion of the game itself: I enjoy it for the most part. The Street Fighter series hasn’t traditionally been my favorite fighting game, but always felt like the baseline of a solid fighter. It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, doesn’t get too over the top, but also has enough depth to be satisfying. Many of the iterations are games I feel like I can drop myself into and have a good time, and SFV is no different.

As mentioned before, on the content side SFV does not disappoint anymore. The easy story mode of launch has been supplemented by six different arcade modes (one for each mainline game in the series, which sticks to characters that appeared in that game). There’s a ton of missions available ranging from combo training to weekly online missions for in-game currency. And of course, the full roster of now 40 characters, each with a good number of alternate costumes, including some fun Capcom crossovers. Champion Edition definitely feels like a full game.

Visuals:
SFV has a decent visual style that is stymied by some rather odd design choices. The overall package looks good, but then you get some things like Ken’s banana-looking hair or some plasticky outfits, which detract from the look.

This package comes with a ton of special costumes; most characters getting a normal, story, classic, swimsuit, professional, and a crossover costume. The crossover costumes are especially fun if you want to play Ryu as Megaman or pretend to be playing a new Darkstalkers. Like the overall visual style though, the alternate costumes do have some downsides, primaril that they often have a lot more clipping as they sometimes aren’t really designed for the movements the characters make.

Audio:
The audio package is a solid offering of classic Street Fighter music and new music. With a variety of themes to choose from in battles, and the option to even set a favorite song for online matches, the music in the game does not disappoint.

And the sound design on the whole is satisfying, from the sound of punches connecting to the whoosh of a super attack powering up. Getting a solid whack as you KO an opponent is as gratifying as the results screen that follows, a testament to a good sound design.

Online/Multiplayer:
As with all fighting games, the bread and butter of the game is multiplayer, either locally with friends or at tournaments, or online to beef up your skills and take on tons of challengers. Street Fighter V offers plenty of options for the multiplayer-inclined. Local games are as easy as ever, and online comes with several options including ranked play, unranked play, and player lobbies. The former two offer matchmaking, while the latter is a great option for playing with online friends. SFV also has a feature I like in fighting games where you can be searching for a match while playing other modes.

As is often the case, actual online can be a mixed bag. I certainly had some good matches and some bad ones when playing online, even with my settings restricting my opponents to those with “solid” connections. I’m not as connected into which kind of netcode SFV uses or if it’s the “good kind” of netcode, but it definitely felt just a little more sluggish than offline play in most cases. As a pretty low/mid-level player I still found most matches to be playable, but your results may vary.

One downside is that SFV is a very online connected game. From the very title screen you will be logged in, if an internet connection is available. And if you’re not, the game will chastise you for it on boot-up, in addition to not recording results in some modes and not allowing participation in weekly missions or challenges.

Of note: Street Fighter V does offer crossplay with the PC version of the game, as well as the option to restrict certain modes to only fellow PS4 players.

Conclusion:
Street Fighter has always been the “Mario” of fighting games to me: much how Mario is often the average, default character in Mario Kart, Street Fighter sits as a solid middle ground of fighting games. It doesn’t have some crazy in-depth story mode, just a simple arcade mode. It doesn’t add some weird RPG mode, just some basic combo challenges and weekly missions. Nothing too gimmicky, just good fighting game mechanics from the grandfather of fighting game mechanics.

Street Fighter V: Champion Edition specifically offers a good starting point for the Street Fighter experience. At this point, SFV has been updated to a respectable game with a large roster and plenty of solo content. It even fixes one of my issues with SFIV, in that the roster feels more unique. While every second character in SFIV was a Ryu clone, SFV includes a lot of different playstyles and callbacks to the franchise’s history.

As always with modern fighting games, the question becomes “should I jump in now or wait for the inevitable upgrade?”.Indeed, even for SFV, they’ve already announced a fifth season worth of DLC characters is in the works and I wouldn’t be too surprised if they offered another package deal down the line. And with the console generation about to roll over, it’s incredibly likely that in some dusty Capcom basement, Street Fighter VI is in the works for PS5. I think Champion Edition offers enough content that I would recommend it as-is. It’s certainly a long way from the launch version of the game.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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