Street Fighter 6: A Redemption Story and the Martial Arts Fantasy We’ve Been Waiting For

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Remembering the Arcade Boom

Like most gamers in their late 30s, I remember the arcade boom well. My idea of the perfect Saturday night would have been going to the local cinema to see a movie, then off to the local arcade to experience the best action and fighting games the superior technology could offer. It was then that my love of Street Fighter II would begin.

Transition to Home Consoles

Shortly after, the franchise arrived on home consoles, with my child brain unable to tell the difference. I experienced every version of SFII, collected the comic books, devoted myself to regular viewings of the phenomenal anime (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie and Street Fighter II V), and I even found the Jean-Claude Van Damme live action movie enjoyable.

Expanding the Boundaries

Soon, Capcom began to experiment with what Street Fighter could be. It became super technical with Street Fighter Alpha, and even ventured into 3D with Street Fighter EX and Street Fighter EX plus Alpha (a criminally underrated iteration). Street Fighter was a global phenomenon and a pillar of the fighting game genre. Ask any fighter worth their salt, and they’ll tell you, the king of fighters isn’t King of Fighters, it’s Capcom’s iconic fighter franchise.

My Personal Opinion: Ups and Downs

While the series continued to grow, my personal opinion of it deviated from the masses. I don’t believe that it improved with each and every entry, and that multiple games had issues at launch. Street Fighter III while gorgeous, had an almost entirely new roster of characters. It also had a steep learning curve with new mechanics such as the Parry system, and a lack of content at launch. Street Fighter IV tried too hard in the opposite direction, attempting to find a balance between technicality and simplicity that simply didn’t work. Fans also complained that characters were out of balance, and that some were noticeably far stronger than others.

Disappointment with Street Fighter V

More recently, Street Fighter V was, in my opinion, the worst entry in the franchise to date. There was barely any content at launch. There were hardly any characters, no story mode, and other features missing. The roster was completely unbalanced, and the Online Mode could barely even function. Worse yet, there wasn’t even an Arcade Mode at launch. SFV burnt me so badly I revisited it a handful of times just to see if it was fixed, and while it became a perfectly serviceable title, it wasn’t the game fans wanted or deserved. That, and the insane amount of additional monetization turned me off the game for good. I thought my street fighting days were done.

A Ray of Hope

After seeing certain favorable reviews of Street Fighter 6 (I say certain because there are some websites that love every game they receive for review, no doubt to keep getting games to review), I decided to take the risk and pick up a copy of the game. Boy, am I glad I did.

World Tour Mode: A Remarkable Experience

Street Fighter 6’s World Tour Mode, is so good, it’s the only game mode I’ve played so far. I haven’t touched traditional game modes, nor have I ventured online. I’m sure I will, but right now, I’m on an epic martial arts journey that only Capcom can deliver.

Embracing the Martial Arts Fantasy

What I mean by that is, World Tour Mode is engaging, rewarding, and even at times, hilarious. Players start under the tutelage of Luke, who has become the main face of Street Fighter 6. Luke is ex-military and runs a fighting school, though after a very short period he admits that he isn’t the greatest of teachers. After that, they’re left to wander the world, learning from the masters, fighting citizens of Metro City, and pursuing the true meaning of strength.

An Homage to the Past: Metro City and Final Fight

Speaking of Metro City, I thoroughly enjoy all the nods to Capcom’s Final Fight series, which took place in the aforementioned location. Various gang members dress like Poison and Andore (who I presume are heroes to lowlife thugs in the Capcom fighting universe) down to the animal print tank tops and handcuffs hanging from jean shorts. Mike Haggar is referenced often (though with the unfortunate condition of being dead), classic arcade cabinets pepper the city, and even the Mad Gear Gang is more powerful than ever thanks to the backing of a major criminal organization (you can probably guess who).

The Martial Arts Fantasy I’ve Always Wanted

Taking into account my 30+ years of diverse Street Fighter fandom, it’s wild that I can honestly say Street Fighter 6 is giving me something I’ve wanted this entire time, that no other Street Fighter did: an actual martial arts fantasy campaign starring me.

Restoring Faith in the Franchise

And while it’s certain that this has most likely been attempted by other fighting games in the past, none of them had the pedigree of Capcom’s iconic fighting series. The opportunity to learn from some of the series’ most renowned characters is truly something I’ll cherish forever – even if this game mode is dropped by Capcom in future installments. Side note: I wouldn’t say no to learning how to channel psycho power from M. Bison, and going on an evil world tour learning from Vega, Balrog, and more!

World Tour Mode: Worth Every Penny

World Tour mode is worth the price of admission alone for Street Fighter 6, and has swiftly restored my faith in the franchise. SF6 is my go-to daily game, even if it’s to level up or pursue cosmetics. I’m hoping to create a character that looks as though he could fit in the main roster alongside the likes of Guile, Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, etc. The only thing missing is a few optional unique movesets. That way, I wouldn’t need to borrow moves from other characters if I didn’t want to.

A Glorious Return

That being said, there’s something really engaging and accessible about learning from the masters and tailoring your own special moveset. You’re able to learn all general moves and special moves from SF characters but mix and match specials if you want to. You don’t start with access to all moves and instead need to level up each fighting style, so I usually keep one of a previous fighter’s specials that fills a gap in my starting moveset.

I could go on and on about how much I love World Tour Mode, but I will just summarize my experience with this: play it if you’re a fighting game fan, play it if you’re a Street Fighter fan, and if, like me, you feel burnt from previous entries in the franchise: come back. Street Fighter 6 is the best entry in the series in a very long time.

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