I love Street Fighter V, but it doesn't love me. That's a bit of a cliché, I suppose – but I'm struggling to dream up a better sentence that best describes my relationship with Capcom's brawler. Here is a game that's both breathtakingly brilliant and mindbogglingly awful all at the same time; the Japanese firm made a classic, then cocked it up.
But let's get the elephant out of the room first: we awarded the fighting game a 9/10 on this very website. Those of you that follow us closely will know that we don't dish out anything above a seven easily, and to be frank, it's been playing on my mind all year. I proofread that review before it was published, and I signed off on it.
Inside baseball time: we decided to bring in a thoroughly seasoned Street Fighter player to review the game, hoping that he'd be able to break down the nuances of the gameplay systems in a way that none of the existing Push Square team could hope to do. And he did: Steven, who kindly covered the fighter for us, wrote a brilliantly detailed review, masterfully breaking down each element of the brawler.
The mistake we made is that Steven, like the publisher itself, was looking at the game through the lens of a tournament player, rather than an Average Joe. And so, when I got my hands on the game a few days later, I fell in love with the systems, but unless I wanted to play online against people vastly superior to myself, there was nothing for me to do.
Capcom, to its credit, did eventually implement all of the features that it pledged; there's a full cinematic story mode as well as trials and challenges now. But it all feels so paper-thin; it's almost been a year since the sequel released, and there's still no arcade ladder, tag-team option, or real single player content of any worth.
The publisher may be sticking to its promise of no 'Super' version, but the entire package needs a relaunch. I thought PSX 2016 would be the venue for that, with Yoshinori Ono buoyantly galloping on-stage to announce a gigantic patch; instead we got another Season Pass with a another batch of characters. That's cool, I'd probably buy them if the developer gave me something to do.
I just don't understand how a company can cock up such a fantastic game so catastrophically. I mean, it's not like this issue is even unprecedented; Destiny and DriveClub both launched in disastrous states, but within 12 months the developers had pivoted, and completely reinvented their games for the better. Street Fighter V, meanwhile, sits untouched on my PS4's hard drive, waiting for Capcom to give a damn.
I understand that I'm not necessarily the target audience anymore; it seems that the publisher only cares about pro players these days. And y'know what, that's fine – they should be the commanding voice. But this is a numbered Street Fighter game for God's sake – it needs to offer something for the more casual players as well.
To be honest, I'm starting to give up hope now. Street Fighter V is clearly a fabulous game, but it's one that I'll probably never properly play. How the mighty have fallen, eh?
What are your thoughts on Street Fighter V? Is the gameplay so good that you're able to overlook its shortcomings, or are you as disappointed as Sammy with the lack of offline content? Throw a mean right hook in Capcom's direction via the comments section below.