Street Fighter V review – an ambitious but unfinished reboot

The greatest fighting game series of them all is back, but its return is half-cooked, with much of its advertised features yet to materialise

Seven years ago, Street Fighter IV felt like a spiritual revival. Capcom’s hyperactive martial arts series had been absent for close to a decade and, under the enthusiastic watch of producer Yoshinori Ono, its return was a triumph. By simplifying the game’s move lists it lowered the entry bar to newcomers, but it then also offered a long, deep learning curve for those willing to set out on the warrior’s journey. In this way the game attracted a devoted community of competitors, who trained with the dedication of real-world martial artists, and who now compete in professional tournaments for enviable prizes.

Street Fighter V’s launch, by contrast, feels lacklustre. For the first time in the history of the series, there will be no release in the arcade, that frontline of competitive play where Street Fighter has, traditionally, always debuted. Capcom has been unable or unwilling to fund the game’s development alone, forging a financial partnership with Sony (thereby preventing the game from coming to Microsoft’s console). And now, on arrival, the Street Fighter V of February 2016 is plainly unfinished, with many of its modes and functions unavailable. The game is a statement of intent rather than anything resembling a final delivery.

You’re told that you’ve unlocked a new costume for purchase in the in-game store – which doesn’t launch until next month

Street Fighter V has been delivered early to meet a financial deadline​,​ rather than an artistic one.

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