Nearly two years ago, I reviewed Capcom's latest entry in its long-running fighting franchise, Street Fighter V. At the time, I found a game that had a solid foundation, especially for tournament play, but lacked the bells-and-whistles players expect from AAA fighting games. The sales reflected the lack of features, especially coming off of the complete package that was Ultra Street Fighter IV.
"There's two types of players who should buy this game. Those who want to play competitively, or those who believe in the eventual scope of Capcom's vision. I think Street Fighter V will be an amazing game when it's done, but it's nowhere near done yet," I said at the time.
One thing the game was missing for most of this time, brought up in multiple requests from thousands of players, was an Arcade Mode. A basic mode where you could just pick a character and fight against consecutive AI opponents. A simple addition, and yet the omission signaled a blindspot in Capcom.
It's 2018 and Capcom has finally delivered on the initial promise of Street Fighter V. The missing Arcade Mode is just one of the features added to the aptly-named Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. Containing two years worth of tweaks, characters, costumes, and gameplay modes, this game finally resembles the Street Fighter players expected in 2016.
Capcom redid the entire user interface for the new edition and Arcade mode now sits at the top of the list. The Arcade Mode has been dressed up with several paths, each representing one of six Street Fighter titles: Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV, and Street Fighter V. Each path restricts the choosable roster to one of the characters available in that specific game, or a related character, like Laura standing in for Sean in the Street Fighter III path. The Street Fighter V path resembles what you'd generally expect from a basic Arcade Mode. Pick any character in the game and defeat a random roster of AI-controlled opponents. It's what players have been asking for, plus a little extra.
There are other additional gameplay modes in Arcade Edition and Capcom has gone back and improved the existing options. In the Versus category, there's the new Team Battle options, allowing some local tournament-style play against a team of 2-5 players or CPUs. Matches can be set to an Elimination-style mode or Best Of Series, you can allow players to change their team orders, or a host of other options. It's good if you have a local crew of friends who are all into Street Fighter V.
Training Mode can now show the frame timing for every attack and Capcom added a colored frame advantage tool. When the latter is on, you can tell if you're safe or unsafe by the color of your character: red or blue.
I dinged Street Fighter V before for having a short Tutorial and Training Mode, but lacking modes to teach players how to really use a character. Now the game includes further Tutorials and Per Character Guides; the initial round of these actually released a month after launch, but we're now three seasons deep and Capcom is keeping them up to date. Arcade Edition also adds Extra Battle Mode, which offers timed challenges for players to obtain some more Fight Money. The trick is the challenges cost Fight Money to enter, so there's a definite sense of risk and reward. The first one for launch week has players up against Shin Akuma and it's not pretty.
The core of Street Fighter V remains largely the same. The roster is currently sitting at 29 characters and over the course of each season, Capcom continues to drop balance changes for each and every character. While the roster started off with mainstays like Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li, joined by newcomers like Rashid, other classic Street Fighter characters like Guile, Ibuki, Akuma have popped up since. The game has also seen a solid infusion of new characters like the sauve and tricky Menat, ice queen Kolin, or Guy's former ninja master Zeku. And the next season of characters is already off to a good start with the return of Ryu fangirl Sakura.
The other real addition to the core game are the new V-Triggers. When Street Fighter V first launched, every character had a single V-Trigger, which are extra attack or movement options via the additional V-Gauge. With Arcade Edition, every character now has two.
The new V-Triggers offer different strategic options for each character. Some offer alternate ways to maneuver, like Nash's new Stealth Sprint, which allows the assassin-style character to get close. Then there are V-Triggers that tweak existing moves, like Ryu's Kakko Fubatsu, which works like a Street Fighter IV Focus Attack, parrying an attack and stunning his opponent. Others give characters back old moves, like Chun-Li's Kikosho or Ken's Shinryuken. It doesn't tear down the existing game and build a new one, but it's a nice addition to the foundation of Street Fighter V.
It's hard not to feel a bit burned if you've been supporting Street Fighter V all this time. The game cost $60 at launch, with two Season Passes at $20-30 each, only for all of that content to end up in Arcade Edition for a clean $39.99. It's the kind of thing that you have to grit your teeth over; yes, you got hit with the early adopter's price, but this should lead to a stronger community overall. Think of it as more meat for online matches.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is everything that the game should've been at launch. It's finally a completely package I could give to the average person and say, "Hey, this is a fighting game worth playing." The fundamentals were always strong, but now Capcom has built a compelling set of additional features around that. Both side are core to a great fighting game, and I'm glad to finally say that's what Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is. The house is finally in order.
After two years of additions and tweaks, Capcom has finally gotten Street Fighter V into the state it should've launched in. What was only a tournament-ready fighter is now a robust package. A roster of 29 characters, the long-awaited Arcade Mode, Extra Battle, Challenges, a great Training Mode, and solid online play add up to a release that shouldn't be missed for avid fighting game fans.