In February of 2016, Capcom released Street Fighter V to the masses… and the reception was mixed, to say the least.
As the fifth installment of the venerable Street Fighter franchise of 2D fighting games, expectations were high, especially after the booming success of Street Fighter IV reinvigorated the franchise and gave it new life as the most high-profile competitive fighting game franchise in the world.
While trying to cater to this new position in the fighting game community, however, SFV ended up being a stumbling block for the series that many people decried. After two years, does the Jan. 16 release of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition serve as the game’s triumphant rebirth? Or is the hole that Capcom’s dug themselves into just too deep to escape from?
Upon its initial release, Street Fighter V was panned for various reasons. The roster was small, a measly 16 characters that missed a lot of classic fan-favorites such as Sagat, Akuma, Balrog and others, while also possessing little in the way of content. Small rosters are nothing new in Capcom’s first editions of arcade and competitive fighters (Street Fighter IV’s roster sat at 17, 19 with secret fighters, but was expanded to 44 by the final released version, Ultra Street Fighter IV).
A lack of any compelling Arcade Mode or Story Mode made it clear the game was oriented for the hardcore eSports tournament scene and offers little to everyone else. It offered standard 2D fighter fare, the only new inclusion being that of V-Triggers, a comeback mechanic that gave characters either a powerful move or a unique technique as they were damaged, and while interesting in concept, they didn’t amount to much. Also, every character only had one V-Trigger, meaning there was little uniqueness in style when it came to using them. Finally, the gameplay had a low skill ceiling; you could only be SO good at the game, as everyone eventually hit the same level.
After this rocky start, the game continued to have a troubled first couple years; Capcom intended to release multiple seasons of downloadable content (DLC) characters, costumes, and content, all the way until 2020. Initially the first season of DLC characters were met somewhat positively, dissuading some concerns about the rosters size by adding six returning veterans to the series, and a free story mode, along with short arcade stories for each character. But Season 2 was met with contempt by players, as it was full of new characters, never before playable, but none of them seemed to resonate much with fans. The season was considered a failure, despite slowly becoming more accepted.
After all this, Capcom learned a lesson. On Oct. 5, 2017 Capcom announced Arcade Edition, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. This updated re-release included all the DLC characters from Seasons 1 and 2, while also adding long-awaited Arcade Modes themed around previous installments in the series. It also updated the user interface, giving it a very neat and interesting sports TV/stage show theme that gives the game much more personality. It also added a new V-Trigger and perhaps best of all, this would all be given as a free update to players who already owned the original version of SFV, meaning people who’d already purchased the game wouldn’t need to shell out more money for the content. All in all, it’s a pretty solid deal, and it helps significantly that Season 3 of the game’s DLC was also announced, bringing with it several fan favorite characters such as Cody, Sakura, and Sagat.
SFV: AE is a step in the right direction for Capcom. While several problems with the game still remain, Capcom has fixed several of them. The game serves as a perfect starting point for people who still haven’t gotten into SFV to enjoy and play, with all the content many people attest it should have. I rate Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition a 3.5/5 stars.