'Street Fighter 6' Review: A Fighting Game That's as Intricate as It Is Welcoming

Read up on our review of 'Street Fighter 6'. The latest in the Capcom fighting game series introduces new mechanics and a welcoming set of tutorials.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

May 30 2023, Published 3:01 a.m. ET

The fighting game genre can be difficult for newcomers to enter and navigate. Most of the popular titles have a history in gaming that spans decades as well as dedicated communities and professional esports scenes, fighting games tout versus gameplay that can quickly become so complex that they come off as overwhelming to some. It can take a while for someone to learn how to play and longer still to truly master the mechanics enough to do well.

Street Fighter 6 knows this.

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Capcom’s long-running fighting game series has persisted through several consoles generations, navigating the highs and lows of new installments and fan reception. The latest entry boasts intricate and colorful new mechanics that enhance the series’ time-honored gameplay. Yet despite its new complexities, Street Fighter 6 does everything in its power to help you learn how to play Street Fighter in the franchise’s most engaging and welcoming experience to date. Check out Distractify’s review of Street Fighter 6.

Street Fighter 6

Our Rating

A brilliant new installment to the franchise with complex and rewarding mechanics as well as thoughtful and thorough tutorials for new players.

Developer: Capcom

Platforms: PlayStation 4 and 5, PC, Xbox Series X/S

Release date: June 2

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Check out our review of 'Street Fighter 6'!

When it comes to the gameplay, traditional Street Fighter combat has been re-centered around the Drive System, with the sizeable roster of debut and classic fighters feeling fresh and new because of it. For longtime Street Fighter fans, the addition of the Drive System opens up some combat options that are both intuitive and rewarding.

Using the Drive Gauge, players can perform a variety of special techniques including Parries, attack-absorbing Impacts, Rushes, counterattacks, and enhancements to a character’s specials. The new characters are exciting enough, but even veteran characters feel like they have a fresh coat of paint on them with the new system.

Even while retaining and even expounding upon the complexities of Street Fighter, there’s this sense throughout the entire game that Street Fighter 6 wants everyone to join in on the fun, especially newcomers.

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The extent of my knowledge of Street Fighter games is that I know how to do a Shoryuken input. I’ve always had a basic understanding of how to play just about any installment, having dipped my toes in both SFIV and SFV in the past, but taking the time to learn how to play always seemed incredibly daunting and insurmountable as a new player. As if in response, Street Fighter 6 does everything it can to provide a warm welcome to inexperienced players like myself.

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The game’s extensive tutorials are an incredible boon. Not only does it start from the absolute basics of Street Fighter, but it also includes in-depth lessons on each individual character and how they function. I decided to pick up Cammy, an agile fighter with tricky maneuvers that can trip up opponents. The game taught me what kind of character she is and broke down each of her moves in such explicit detail that I found myself naturally stringing combos together as I experimented in training mode.

The game offers a variety of control options between Classic, Modern, and Dynamic, with the latter two simplifying button inputs to accommodate players of any and all skill levels. Yet even with the options afforded to me, I still felt Classic clicking with me in a way that compelled me to learn some of the intricacies. No matter which control scheme I wanted to use, SF6 had a lesson plan for me.

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If I had a question about my character or the mechanics, Street Fighter 6 had an answer. As the game taught me, I felt closer to Cammy with every lesson until I finally took her out for some matches. Immediately, things felt fresh and exciting. While I was still learning the ropes, real battle experience never felt too frustrating or impossible. Not only were the matches pretty to look at with the game’s graffiti-inspired aesthetic, but SF6 prepared me well enough within the first few hours to help me hold my own already.

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While playing some online matches in the expansive Battle Hub, I was able to pull off some exciting wins and close matches with some of my losses. My matches even included some stunning comebacks against fellow players. I’m hardly ready for the competitive scene, but the confidence that SF6 helped me build made the idea of getting good at Street Fighter more possible than I ever thought before.

Once exhausted from the training grind, there was still something for me to do in SF6’s many game modes. These include a dedicated Arcade mode and the explorable World Tour mode. Between quirky minigames and honing my skills against Arcade mode, I nearly forgot that I was still learning how to play the game amidst the fun I was having with the side content.

If you’ve ever wanted to get into fighting games at any point, Street Fighter 6 presents the perfect opportunity to learn as you play and vice-versa. Despite some deeply intuitive and complex mechanics enhancing the experience for longtime players, there’s a palpable sense of community and camaraderie within the game as it extends a helping hand to all players.

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