By: Johnny Marcondes
Street Fighter V is finally getting an arcade mode but is it too late? With the game being released back in February of 2016 it’s been far from an ideal launch for Capcom. From the very first day Street Fighter V hit the shelves it seems that Capcom has been fighting an intense battle with their loyal fans trying to regain some trust and a lot of lost momentum. When Street Fighter V first launched there were numerous promises of content on Capcom’s side that went unfulfilled and made this arguably the worst launch experience for the company under the Street Fighte brand in quite some time. Fans were promised an immersive story mode that expanded the game’s story as well as the promise of in game money being able to unlock things like characters and other customizable features.
While promising it’s not what we got during the initial launch, instead fans were handed a game that felt heavily incomplete. Street Fighter V launched with minimal content, a story mode that was barely put together, a training mode that’s no where near as immersive as the training mode in Street Fighter IV and online battles. It wasn’t until after the backlash of fans that Capcom promised the cinematic story mode was well under it’s way which they released some time later in a patch. However the story mode isn’t and has never been the main issue of the game. For the first time fans were given a Street Fighter game that didn’t feel like a Street Fighter game. There was no arcade mode for players to grow their skills offline and the only way you could essentially play offline was either in the two “story modes” in the game or through a score attack mode.
For some reason that’s beyond me Capcom greenlit a Street Fighter game without the addition of an arcade mode ready at launch. It may not seam like a big deal to many but arcade modes are a staple in fighting games and especially in fighting games that are so strongly tied to the arcade culture. Street Fighter is one of the biggest and best in the fighting genre and for Capcom to release a game lacking so many important features and content is something that seems almost surreal. As a life long and self proclaimed Street Fighter fanboy, my experience with Street Fighter V has been a constant struggle of barring with Capcom and putting up with issues due to fan loyalty. Street Fighter V when compared to previous Street Fighter games doesn’t really stand out all that much. Even though Street Fighter V is one of the better looking Street Fighter games (I use that term lightly as Ken and a few others look a little rough) it lacks in a lot of memorable aspects. The initial roster of the game is fairly compact and balanced but coming off of Street Fighter IV the roster isn’t as eccentric and a the original characters aren’t as charming or creative as they were in the previous installment.
Mechanically speaking V runs like a dream and is one of the more hard hitting entries in the franchise so the issue was never with the gameplay but rather with the presentation of the game. Capcom has been falling into a bad habit of releasing complete games that aren’t actually complete and relying on patches along with season passes to tie it together. It’s nothing new and numerous games currently do it but Capcom has been almost calculated with their use of patches and passes to the point where as a long time fan I can’t help but feel taken advantage of by them.
The use of season passes is one trend in gaming especially fighting games that I really hope dies down. What ever happened to the good old days of earning characters, remember when fighting games were all about achieving a score or battling through characters to unlock them? Doing that made the game more exciting there was this real honest sense of self accomplishment that we just don’t see today. Now developers release a game with the entire roster already coded in the game but not available until they release them later on and the only way to acquire them is through purchasing them with real currency. Having to pay $30 per season pass like Street Fighter V has been doing is absolutely insane.
As of right now there are two seasons of characters currently released and no justifiable reason why anyone should have to pay $60 for six characters that were already planned and coded for the game. Charging fans the same amount of money as a new title release for the other half of the game they paid for is practically abuse. Especially when Capcom spent a good amount of time pre-release of Street Fighter V talking about how players would be able to unlock characters with in game fight money. Without the inclusion of Arcade mode players can only really earn fight money through the story and online battles and the cost for anything in the in game market is so incredibly high you’d have to grind for hours for just a color swap.
Nevertheless it’s taken some time but Capcom is really trying to push Street Fighter V back into the hearts of gamers and the FGC with the latest update to game. Launching January 18th 2018 Street Fighter V Arcade Edition could potentially be Capcom’s hail Mary to save the series reputation and really draw in a wider fan base of gamer’s who are more casual or play offline. Look, Street FIghter V is in no way a bad game, it’s just a frustrating experience for fans of the series. Gameplay wise it’s an incredibly fun and hard hitting fighting game and the roster with and without the DLC characters are all fun to use and honestly play like some of the characters best iteration. Street Fighter V may have been missing a lot of content at launch but it was never missing it’s heart. Capcom recently issued a statement while talking about the latest update to Street Fighter V breaking down new modes and giving details into the upcoming update:
In the upcoming Arcade Mode, players can reminisce in the Street Fighter series history as they celebrate the last 30 years of the multi-million selling franchise. Choose from six different paths and compete in matches against CPU opponents to reveal unique endings based on player performance. In Extra Battle Mode, a new series of time exclusive challenges will be available for players to use their Fight Money for the chance to receive an exclusive premium outfit each month. Complete all four challenges each month and receive a special premium costume exclusive to this mode. With extra challenges being added and more unannounced content on the way, Street Fighter V will continue to deliver new and refreshed content on a regular basis throughout 2018 and beyond.
It should be noted that Street Fighter V Arcade Edition will be sold separately at $39.99. For the fans who purchase the Arcade Edition on it’s own, they’ll receive the game along with the two previous seasons of characters while fans who already own Street Fighter V will just get an update to include the new modes without the season characters. Charing $40 for an updated version of the game with the DLC characters available isn’t a bad deal if you haven’t picked up the game yet. Honestly those who were on the fence about Street Fighter V should hold out until the Arcade Edition launches as it’ll be up to date on patches, characters and have more modes than currently available. Fans who already own Street Fighter V like myself, getting a free update down the line could use this as a reason to return to the series if you’ve been taking a break from the game.
So to answer my initial question of “is it a little too late?” it’s not. Street Fighter is always going to be one of the most influential fighting games in the industry. When it comes to the FGC (fighting game community) Street Fighter will always be tied to them. Would it have been nice and an overall better experience for both Capcom and gamers if the Arcade Edition update came closer to the game launch? Absolutely. Is it too late for the series? Not at all, as long as people love fighting games and play competitively there’s always room for Street Fighter and V plays incredibly smooth. This update is simply a way to connect to those who may not play online as much as the regular die hard, for the casuals who want to just play computer players or friends. It’s for everyone who wants a traditional fighting game experience and play both online and offline with equal challenge.