Street Fighter V – July Update Review
- Story Mode knows it's audience and doesn't take itself too seriously
- Some brilliant character moments in Story Mode
- NPC enemies in Story connect to the expanded lore
- Balrog and Ibuki both offer unique playstyles
- New stages are visually stunning
- Improved Matchmaking
- Story Mode can struggle balancing the cast and the stories
- Story Mode unique stages unselectable in the main game
- Some anti-climactic wrap ups in Story Mode
- Super Expensive DLC
So it has finally arrived, “A Shadow Falls” the cinematic storyline to Street Fighter V. Game owners have been salivating for this expansion to arrive and fill in the void left in its absence since the game launched in February to a mostly negative reception.
Can “A Shadow Falls” and the rest of the 1.04 update redeem Street Fighter V? Or is it too little too late?
Now as a disclaimer I will not be doing a review for every piece of content that rolls out for the game, however this update is so huge and adds a big chunk of the game that it would be a disservice to dismiss it as a simple update. Therefore this will not have a traditional score and will instead just be my thoughts!
So the biggest piece of content on offer is the cinematic story mode “A Shadow Falls”. This story mode is a whopping piece of content that is far larger than I originally anticipated.
It spans 5 acts with each act being individually selectable in the story mode menu, allowing you to go back and play your favourite segments, which I have took advantage of to play more of the unreleased DLC characters.
The story is good old goofy fun, M.Bison and his trusted cronies of Shadaloo have unleashed the Black Moons, 7 devices that cause calamity and chaos. Using these devices M.Bison will strengthen his mastery of Psycho Power and bring destruction to earth. Recognizing this is bad news the world warriors unite to take down M.Bison and Shadaloo, meanwhile a fallen warrior Charlie Nash returns to the world of the living to exact vengeance on Shadaloo and M.Bison.
As far as a fighting game story goes, its full blown cheese fest, and the best part is the game recognises its silliness. There is rarely a dull moment but when there is downtime you don’t mind, you are even treated into seeing characters in ways you have never seen them before. Ken and his son Mel share a scene that put a big solid grin on my face as it shows Ken in a light that is rarely ever explored in any meaningful way.
That being said the story seems to struggle balancing the huge cast, where games like Mortal Kombat X and Injustice tell their stories with chapters dedicated to characters, Street Fighter V takes a different approach, which see’s you playing various characters, one match you may be using Charlie Nash but the next you could be using Ryu. It definitely allows you to play with quite a lot of the cast and allows you to play matches as villain characters. However, it can be to the detriment of the story as the game struggles to balance the several sub-stories at once and can lead to some disappointing wrap ups with characters like Necalli having a very abrupt and rather anti-climactic end to his sub-story.
However, the variety of enemies you face in story mode is rather interesting, on top of the characters playable in the roster and the two unreleased DLC characters, you fight against several unique NPC characters. These characters are clearly not full characters as most of them have stock moves borrowed from other characters with a few unique attacks thrown in, but seeing some of these characters from the expanded Street Fighter universe definitely impressed me showing that Capcom did give some thought to the story.
Also coming in this update was the additions of Balrog and Ibuki and there is not much to really say here, except; Good Job Capcom. The characters are brilliantly animated, both have unique quirks to their gameplay and feel very fresh, I as someone who tends to avoid charge characters never used Balrog in the past but the way he animates in Street Fighter V has me itching to get into practice and learn how to use him effectively.
There was also additional stages added in the update with new variants of the Forgotten Waterfall, Kanzuki Estate and Shadaloo Air Base being implemented, however, the new stages High Roller Casino (Balrog’s classic Street Fighter 2 stage in all its neon glory) and the Kanzuki Beach are hit and miss. The High Roller Casino stage is vibrant and colourful with plenty going on however the Kanzuki Beach while very well designed and graphically impressive has an issue where the water obstructs view of the ground, making it hard to judge attacks like Birdie’s can roll.
On the topic stages disappointingly Capcom created brand new stages for Story Mode that do not appear outside of it. Some of these stages are fairly boring to look at like the corridor of the Shadaloo Air Base however some like the Black Sun control room and the ground floor of the Lair of the Four Kings are visually impressive stages that I think would be cool to receive upon completing the story mode.
Rounding out the package is the DLC premium costumes, and initially I was not going to cover this however upon reflection it seems a bit too heavy handed not to mention. Bear in mind that in Street Fighter 4 £4 would buy you a costume pack featuring 5 costumes for 5 characters. Capcom is requesting £3.29 for a single costume. That to me, is rather steep to expect people to pay for, I understand that they are offering characters for free but this is some serious price gouging if I have ever seen it!
If you have been holding out on Street Fighter V after hearing the negativity swirling it, now might be the time for you to dive in as update 1.04 adds a substantial story mode, a fixed store front and improved online. And with the promise of more content still coming in the form of Juri and Urien with confirmed extra modes on the way, there hasn’t been a better time to pick up Street Fighter V!