Republished on Wednesday 26th August 2020: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of September's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows.
With its Arcade Edition update, Street Fighter V finally feels like a complete fighting game – a title that can fully appeal to both competitive and casual players. As an overall package, it's now right up there with the best games in the genre, boasting a healthy amount of single player, local, and online multiplayer modes. It's good to see Street Fighter back where it belongs, even if it's taken Capcom almost two years to get it there.
Arcade Edition hits PlayStation 4 in two ways. Existing Street Fighter V owners can download Arcade Edition as a free update, while newcomers can purchase the whole thing – base game and all. The latter option also includes access to all season one and season two characters, expanding the playable roster dramatically. As such, we'd recommend nabbing the complete package if you're here for the first time.
One of the reasons we say that is because collecting Fight Money – the title's in-game currency – can still be a slog, especially if you're not the type to really get stuck into the online portion of the release. All characters outside the base roster need to be purchased with Fight Money – as do additional stages and costumes – and you'll need piles of it to unlock everything, unless, of course, you spend real money instead.
Street Fighter V stills feels stingy with the Fight Money that it pays out – perhaps even more so now that there's so much stuff to buy. Playing through the game's dreadful story mode just to fill your pockets isn't exactly an enticing prospect, and neither is grinding out smaller character stories and challenges. At least newly implemented timed events dish out some cash upon completion, but they're not an especially efficient way of stockpiling currency.
With all that in mind, it's a real shame that the newly implemented Arcade Mode doesn't reward you with Fight Money, because it houses the game's best single player content. We're not saying it's a revolutionary addition – it is just an arcade mode, after all – but time and effort has clearly been poured into it.
Arcade Mode features five different arcade runs for you to beat, each one being based on previous Street Fighter titles – they even feature remixed music from said games, which is a great touch. Setting high scores is good clean fun, and there are loads of character-specific endings and artworks to unlock. The endings are little more than quick comic strips, but they're all nicely drawn and collecting them can certainly become an addictive pursuit in itself. Who'd have thought a simple arcade mode could bring so much joy?
We suppose that's where we are with Street Fighter V at this point in time – we're praising it for actually having an arcade mode. Is it ridiculous that it's taken Capcom two years to release what can be considered a full fighting game? Absolutely. Does that take away from the fact that Street Fighter V now comes highly recommended to players of all skill levels? Not at all.
Speaking of skill levels, players of a competitive nature will find a lot to like about the revamped training mode, which now allows you to examine frame data. This won't mean much at all to the more casual user, but it's a fantastic tool for those who want to explore the brawler's inner workings. It's all quite easy to set up and analyse, too.
Without going into too much detail – our original review of Street Fighter V did that – we have to reiterate that the game's still fantastic fun to actually play. The combat system remains meaty and satisfying, and although there are some fresh concerns over character balancing – taking the most recent balance patch into account – each and every character still feels unique and lovingly crafted, even more so now that they each have a second V-Trigger. And at high levels, the tension that comes with strategic reads remains palpable.
Despite everything, though, is Arcade Edition really a full relaunch of Street Fighter V, or is it just a glorified update? Well, it definitely isn't the same as something like Ultra Street Fighter IV – primarily because you're not getting new characters or fresh mechanics out of the box. In reality, Arcade Edition is essentially season three of Street Fighter V, only the scope's been expanded to include some welcome single player content. Capcom said it wouldn't release a Super, Turbo, or Ultra edition of Street Fighter V, and technically it still hasn't, but we can't help but wonder whether we'll be getting something like that later down the line, where players can enjoy absolutely everything the game has to offer without having to spend extra or grind for Fight Money.
It's taken close to two years, but Street Fighter V finally resembles the game that it should have been from the start thanks to Arcade Edition. Newcomers can rest assured that there's now enough single player content to keep casual players happy, and at its core, the actual fighting remains top class. There's a cynical part of us that says Arcade Edition is little more than a glorified season three update, but the simple truth is that there's never been a better time to jump in.