We’re just coming out of 2017 and it’s proven to be one of the best years we’ve ever seen as far as video games go. 2016, meanwhile, was a little less impressive. Flop after flop stained the year’s reputation – No Man’s Sky and Mighty No. 9 both did their part to show the perils of buying into gaming hype, for instance. It’s not just new franchises that stumbled, though; I definitely took a bite out of Street Fighter V for its remarkably poor initial release.
A couple years later, though, Street Fighter V has undergone some dating and polish, so it’s time to take yet another look at this one in the form of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition.
If you aren’t familiar with how this game originally launched, well…it was a bit of a mess. There was a pretty clear focus on competitive fighting game players as opposed to Joe Guy-With-Money-Who-Actually-Keeps-The-Industry-Running-Even-If-He-Doesn’t-Go-To-Tournaments, so Street Fighter V launched with no arcade mode, a paltry set of vignettes instead of a now-standard story mode, questionable online play, a relatively tiny roster and so on.
Unsurprisingly, these deficiencies didn’t go over too well with the 99% of gamers who make up Joe’s demographic, so Street Fighter V was rightfully panned. Frankly, I was a little worried about Capcom as a company at this point.
There’s something to be said for the efforts Capcom’s put into righting their wrongs here, though. We eventually saw that story mode released as a free update a few months down the line, for instance, and it’s surprisingly decent. Street Fighter V’s roster has also expanded over time in impressive fashion and, finally, we’ve got an arcade mode to check out here. I’m not entirely sure why it took two years to implement something that Street Fighter 2 had back on SNES, but it’s here and it’s not bad!
Arcade Edition, then, offers the aforementioned Arcade Mode and a general souping-up of the game’s UI and presentation as a free update for all owners of the game. Meanwhile, if you’re new, you can pick up Arcade Edition as a standalone product, which will get you the newly souped-up game along with all the DLC fighters from the first two seasons. Given that this is significantly less expensive than buying all of that separately it’s a pretty decent deal; if you’re going to get into Street Fighter V, you’ll want to go this direction.
How’s all the new stuff, then? Well, we’ve already talked about the story mode awhile back, so you know it’s not too bad. The new Arcade mode, meanwhile, is a little different than what you might expect; it actually consists of five different arcade modes representing each of the five mainline Street Fighter games. You’ll choose a character from those games, fight other characters who are also from those games and get an ending once you’re done. That’s a little more elaborate than “pick a character, fight all the other characters, get an ending” but I guess two years gives you time to get that kind of polish done.
If you just want to pick a character and beat up CPU opponents without thinking too hard about it, the Survival mode that Street Fighter V initially launched with is probably still the way to go, but the fanservice touches in the Arcade mode are appreciated. It’s worth noting, by the way, that Street Fighter V’s AI opponents remain kind of dumb, so if you’re not a complete newbie to the world of fighting games you’ll definitely want to crank up the difficulty a little.
Arcade mode is nice, then, but the real winner here is the vast update made to the roster of fighters. Street Fighter V launched with a 16-character roster with only four newcomers, which was acceptable at best but not really comparable to the vast and varied casts in competing franchises like BlazBlue and Mortal Kombat. Arcade mode comes with an additional six characters from the first two seasons of DLC, with another season including at least four more on the way. Classic characters are appreciated, but I find the highlight of Street Fighter V is learning to control the newbies like fortuneteller Menat, form-changing ninja master Zeku and hulking brute Abigail.
Along with this, each character now has a new V-Trigger option available; this adds a new mechanic or skill to the character and makes them a little more interesting to play, such as adding counterattacks to Ryu’s parries or giving Ken an extra-powerful dragon punch. For veteran players this is likely going to be the most significant addition that Arcade Edition brings and it might be worth the (nonexistent if you already own the game) entry fee all by itself.
Would that Street Fighter V have launched in this state! At this point we’ve finally got an entry in Capcom’s iconic series worthy of the franchise’s legendary name for both competitive and casual players alike. If you already own Street Fighter V, you’ll have access to all the Arcade Edition enhancements already; meanwhile, if you’ve been holding out because of the iffy launch, you should feel safe in picking up this dramatically improved Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. You’re finally getting an experience that’s worth the asking price.