Every game genre comes with some level of complexity, but fighters perhaps struggle the most with their onboarding process. With more complex controls to master and a hardcore community to get up to speed with, it's no surprise many newcomers fall at the first hurdle. Street Fighter 6 attempts to streamline those first few hours of difficulty with a modern, simplified control scheme. And it works.
Traditionally a six-button game with individual inputs for punches and kicks, the sixth mainline entry offers the chance to simplify bouts to light, medium, and heavy attacks. Those classic button combos of old are very much part and parcel of Street Fighter 6 — you can still utilise them even with the modern control scheme selected — but this new commitment from Capcom is all about getting new kids on the block onboard.
Your light, medium, and heavy attacks are mapped to the Square, X, and Circle buttons respectively, and special abilities dictated by a Drive Gauge are activated through Triangle and a direction on the D-Pad. That's about as complex as the modern controls get; almost every move in the game is just a single button press away. A Super Arts Gauge charges up as you deal and receive damage throughout a fight, and it too only takes a press of the Triangle and Circle buttons at the same time to trigger.
By breaking Street Fighter down into these easy-to-remember inputs, the title immediately becomes so much more accessible. No longer do you need to spend five minutes scrolling through Ryu's move list just to learn the button combination for a Hadouken. All it takes now is the Triangle button and a direction on the D-Pad. This works wonders for newcomers, ensuring they can immediately compete and start to have fun.
Those flashy, flair-filled moments usually reserved for EVO tournaments can now be performed by someone who's only been learning Ken's moveset for a few hours — they look better than ever too with Street Fighter 6's neon and graffiti-packed art style lighting up the screen. Feeling good whilst doing it, the modern controls work wonders.
That's not to say the game loses all its complexity, however. While Ryu and Ken are fairly easy to pick up and play, the likes of Guile represent an immediate step up with a more advanced moveset based on charges. There's still a lot of variety to accommodate for; making button inputs easier hasn't made every character feel the same in the slightest.
Does it still feel like button-mashing at times? Of course: there's still a control scheme to learn that's going to feel alien to genre newcomers. However, Capcom has dramatically shortened the time it's going to take for someone to go from zero to Street Fighter hero. This is far and away the most approachable and accessible entry in the series to date, and with a healthy roster at launch and a super slick art style to boot, Street Fighter 6 is primed to please both the soft and hardcore. If you're ever going to take the plunge and learn a fighting game, there's never going to be a better chance than Capcom's latest.
Street Fighter 6 is scheduled to launch for PS5 and PS4 next year. Are you going to give the game a chance as a fighting newcomer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.