Game: Street Figher V: Arcade Edition
Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Several people bemoaned Capcom’s decision to disembowel Street Fighter V of the Arcade Mode, a series staple that for many is such an integral component of riveting fighting gameplay the game faces an identity crisis without it. Some even explained that its absence was deliberately designed to push more players into experimenting with online matches, but whatever the reason, Arcade Edition has touched down and it’s bloody brilliant.
For starters, it charts the entire history of releases from 1987’s genre-defining invocation of Hadōken all the way up to Street Fighter V‘s refined battles and gorgeous graphics. As I somersaulted through Normal mode’s 47 stages, hammering away at bulked up bastions of impenetrability like Zangief and Abigail, two realisations rose to the surface: firstly, the difficulty is absolutely perfect, even if opponents occasionally scare you to death, and secondly, the variety of rostered environments (now including Suzaku Castle and Flamenco Tavern) is a visual treat that reaches heavenly heights with killer melodic pop rock audio.
As a casual dabbler in Street Fighter, Dead or Alive and Mortal Kombat, the sheer rush of adrenaline and excellent replay value SFV: Arcade Edition managed to conjure impressed me greatly. If you’re looking for a more relaxing time, Capcom acknowledges your request with an easy mode, though be warned rivals become dumbed-down pushovers. Hard mode scales up just enough from Normal mode, evidently catering towards Street Fighter veterans, but beating tricker stages is entirely possible and feels immensely gratifying, especially so for newer players.
Despite flashier special effects and transitions, Capcom resists the temptation of indulging in long-loading times in SFV: Arcade Edition, because it remembers that first and foremost, it is an arcade game. Returning players, however, seem indignant over the attempt to streamline the game, which is absolutely justified. Over-simplification might be good for entry-level fighters like me, yet it promotes narrowing and dilution of the prerequisites for victory; definitions may be hard to memorise, but that doesn’t mean we should change the lexicon to appease all.
A large proportion of the joy I derived from SFV: Arcade Edition came from guessing my opponent’s next move; anticipating multidirectional contortions and invisible trickery of Dhalsim, trying to dodge Bison’s psionic blasts, defying the cunning acrobatics of Vega using the brute force of a low, well-timed kick—surely an obvious reason responsible for Street Fighter‘s success as a franchise to date. Legendary gameplay is revived in Arcade Edition. May it always be here to stay.
Full Disclosure: A copy of the game was provided for purposes of this review.