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Street Fighter V

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: Feb. 16, 2016


PS4/PC Preview - 'Street Fighter V'

by Adam Pavlacka on Feb. 10, 2016 @ 4:00 a.m. PST

Street Fighter V is the latest installment in the fighting franchise, adding new fighters, several new locations, and cross-platform play.

After months of character announcements, multiple beta tests, and different demo events, the release of Street Fighter V is finally around the corner. I spent a few hours with a near-final build of the game last week (Jason Andersen of Capcom estimated it at 98%), and what I saw was enough to get me excited about the game. Street Fighter V appears to offer something for both casual and hardcore players, with certain characters being extremely accessible, while others are harder to master yet seem like they could be massive damage dealers in the right hands.

Of the four new characters, Rashid quickly became my favorite. Fast, quick and aggressive is the name of the game for Rashid, though his critical whirlwind attack doesn't have a whole lot of reach. I can see Rashid being a popular pick for anyone who focuses on offense. Rashid's attacks can be overcome if you have a good command of space, but once he gets in close, it's all over.

Laura is an interesting choice because the game makes no bones about trying to appeal to her sexuality. Laura's intro video makes R. Mika look like a prude, as Laura is 100% T&A. In action, Laura is probably the most beginner-friendly of the four new characters because she is fast like Rashid but has a good deal of reach. Managing space between you and your opponent is also easier when playing Laura, as she has a slow-moving electric shield. It doesn't do much damage, but it can block other projectiles and stun your opponent if they are attacking.

Necalli is a big beast of a man, looking somewhat like a hulked-out version of Ronon Dex, the "Stargate Atlantis" character made famous by Jason Momoa. Necalli isn't as fast as Rashid or Laura, but he hits hard. When you land a punch or a kick with him, it feels like there is some weight behind the impact. Necalli also rewards players who make strategic use of the V-Trigger. Executing the V-Trigger right before doing Necalli's critical results in an extra 40 points of damage to your opponent. It may not seem like much, but that little bit can be the difference between winning and losing a match.

F.A.N.G. is the oddest of the bunch and is a character who isn't very casual-friendly. If this is your first rodeo with the Street Fighter franchise, you'll probably want to avoid F.A.N.G. unless you spend a bit of time training against an AI dummy. His moves have an odd cadence, so he feels a bit unwieldy at first. Individual attacks don't seem to do a whole lot of damage, but when combined with F.A.N.G.'s poison special, what initially seemed like a weak character becomes someone who can pack quite a punch.

In addition to the four new fighters, I spent some time playing with the returning crew. As I flipped through the different characters, what struck me was how familiar some of them felt. I haven't really played heavily since Ultra Street Fighter IV was released, but it was kind of like riding a bike. After a few warm-up rounds, all of the familiar skills start returning. Overall, some commands seem to have been simplified, which helps make Street Fighter V feel more accessible than its immediate predecessor, but that doesn't mean it will be an easier game. I get the feeling that Capcom is really pushing for "easy to learn, difficult to master" this time around.

From a purely visual standpoint, Street Fighter V looks fantastic. The characters are well animated, and the lush backgrounds are works of art in their own right. Both the PC and PS4 versions share the same assets, so the game should shine equally on either platform. Don't expect 4K support on the PC side, though, as the game is only designed for standard HD.

There is support for fightsticks and controllers, with the PS4 version of Street Fighter V explicitly offering support for PS3 fightsticks. Kudos to Capcom for that, as fightsticks can be expensive, and it's nice to know that a good investment isn't going to waste.

The biggest question surrounding Street Fighter V at this point is how well the cross-platform play is going to work out. That's something that will be impossible to evaluate until the game is out in the wild. If it works as promised, the unified player pool between PC and PS4 players should mean much better match-ups for players of all skill levels.

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