E3 2015 – Hands on with Street Fighter V – The king of fighters is back

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It’s been seven years since Street Fighter IV hit the scene. Seven years that saw fighting games make a comeback akin to Daigo’s legendary win way back at the 2004 EVO tournament. But it’s time for a new challenger to enter the fray. And Street Fighter V may just be the next big evolution for that franchise.

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The funny thing is that you won’t even notice it at first. In many ways, Street Fighter V looks exactly like Street Fighter IV, at least on the surface. The action is tight and intense. The visuals boast that cel-shaded look that defined Street Fighter IV.

The special moves look familiar and the characters appear to be sporting the same designs that they did in 2008. But when you dig deep, the game is so, so much more than that. What we have here, is the fighter’s fighting game. A deep and technical masterpiece in development.

I got the chance to play Street Fighter V for way too long at E3, drinking deep of the knowledge of the experts who joined me in the game and proceeded to kick my ass repeatedly until I started learning the new ebb and flow of this title.

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For starters, there was a consensus among players that close combat was making a return in Street Fighter V. That may sound…odd, but when you consider just how much of Street Fighter IV was dedicated to zoning tactics and nailing projectiles before moving in for the kill, that makes a world of difference.

That’s a sensation that was built from the ashes of games such as Street Fighter III, which benefited players who weren’t afraid to invade personal space in their matches. That’s the kind of action which worked best with the fighters on offer: Ryu, M Bison, Birdie, Nash and Cammy.

How that plays out for players who enjoy utilising zoning attacks and action from further away on the screen, still needs to be seen. After all, it’s still very early days for development on Street Fighter V.

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The new V system itself is a blast. V-Reversals use up one portion of V-Meter energy, and can break players out of a particularly lethal combo when they’re blocking a vicious opponent.

You execute these counters by pressing toward or away plus three kicks or three punches in tandem, although the direction itself may be something that Capcom is still working on.

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V-Triggers are a ridiculous amount of fun, an explosive counter that opens your opponent up to being hit with more damage, provided that you’re skillful enough to do so. For more on the V System, Capcom’s Combofiend has a great write-up on these gameplay mechanics.

Even the characters on screen felt different. M Bison for instance, could teleport around the map, something which makes up for his slow walk speed. He’s got some high attacks which can easily pressure opponents, as well as counters that make him a beastly anti-air fighter. With heavy damage on his attacks, a skilled M Bison fighter could easily chip away at your health.

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Then you’ve got a character such as Nash, who is an absolute beast. The Frenchman who completely owned me with that character, was a zippy bundle of dynamite that was all over the screen. You’d imagine Nash to be an easy Guile clone, but in many ways, I preferred Nash over his former best pal.

Nash is pure offense, a character who could rush an opponent and demolish his health bar with absolute ease. Any jump attack I tried against Nash was instantly met with some strong counters such as a well-timed Moonsault Scythe.

I’ve got the feeling that Nash is going to be making regular appearances at fighting game tournaments when Street Fighter V launches next year.

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The game itself also looks gorgeous. The art style is stronger than ever, the reactions are priceless and the visuals will make your eyeballs bleed pure joy-juice. I freakin’ love it.

And that’s the general feeling of Street Fighter V. It’s a new spin on old faces. It’s already a deep fighter, that is going to see one hell of a community following. Sony may have just backed a winner here. And honestly, an hour of non-stop action with this game wasn’t enough to properly gauge just how deep the hadouken goes down this rabbit hole.

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All I’m going to say at this point however, is STREET FIGHTER V BRO!

Last Updated: June 22, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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