Street Fighter 6 M.Bison DLC hands-on: the franchise’s supreme villain returns

Street Fighter 6 M.Bison
(Image credit: Capcom)

During the Summer Game Fest 2024 presentation at the YouTube Theater, Capcom announced its second year of seasonal DLC characters for Street Fighter 6. The biggest surprise came from the reveals of Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui of Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters fame. They’re the first non-Capcom crossover characters to become selectable in a mainline Street Fighter title. 

They’ll be joined by Elena, who made her first appearance in Street Fighter 3: New Generation alongside series main villain M. Bison. The mighty Bison himself will kick off season two of Street Fighter 6 on June 26. During SGF Playdays, Capcom had the series' primary antagonist playable and we managed to go hands-on with the villain for several bouts. 

Anyone who played through Street Fighter 5's single-player story mode to the end will know that Bison was blown to smithereens by Ryu after attempting to cause a global catastrophe through ‘Operation C.H.A.I.N.S.’ Despite being dead, the former dictator’s ghost remains due to his Psycho Power. In Street Fighter 6, Bison returns for some currently unknown reason that we’ll likely need to delve into his story mode to learn. But he does have a cool stallion this time. 

Psycho Crushed

Street Fighter 6 M.Bison

(Image credit: Capcom)

Bison’s base costume features the most radical redesign ever for the character. He’s partly shirtless with a torn black cloak hiding some golden locks. His right arm is wrapped while the other has a glove with a metal plate around the knuckles. He’s not totally unrecognizable, though, as the lightning bolt belt and red leather pants remain. The disheveled look of Bison looks cool enough to fit in with the various other redesigns of returning characters and he looks great in motion with the different Psycho Power attacks at his disposal. More traditionalist players will be delighted to know that his iconic Street Fighter 2 outfit returns as well.

As a Power type character that’s effective at mid-to-close range, the character select screen places his ease of use as ‘Hard.’ Bison has always been the type of rush-down character that’s able to bypass zoning and projectiles if played at a high level. Classic special moves like Psycho Crusher, Double Knee Press and Shadow Rise attacks should make returning players to the character feel right at home. When playing as Bison, the goal is always to close the gap. Even his Drive Impact attack can have him run from dang-near a full screen distance. 

Once close, the overhead cross-up opportunities through Shadow Rise come in two follow-up options. The initial follow-up is the signature Head Press, where the ex-dictator delivers a crushing stomp on the opponent's head. This move can seamlessly transition into another aerial, the Somersault Skull Diver, to maintain aerial pressure. The alternative follow-up is Devil Reverse, an overhead chop attack.

Mining success

Street Fighter 6 M.Bison

(Image credit: Capcom)

The biggest change comes from the ability to plant Psycho Mines on his opponents with a new Backfist Combo move. Once planted, these Psycho Mines will either detonate automatically after a brief period or if Bison connects with another Backfist Combo, Psycho Crusher, or Devil Reverse. These mines are crucial to M. Bison’s pressure and mix-up strategies in Street Fighter 6

He can trigger them to make his moves safe on block or to gain frame advantage, adding extra damage and enabling potential combo extensions. Expert-level players are for sure going to use the Psycho Mines to keep rival fighters on their toes. Opponents need to be wary when a mine is active, but there’s a tactical counter—striking Bison will cause the mines to dissipate, providing a strategic opening. Rounding those out are the Level 1, 2 and 3 Super Art specials. Interestingly enough, his level 1 Knee Press Nightmare super is invincible on start-up while the Level 2 Psycho Punisher is great against opponents who repeatedly smash out projectiles. 

Though I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on Bison as a character, strategies to beat him usually involve doing everything I have to keep him as far away from me as possible. A lot of his attacks make up for his incredibly slow walk speed but this iteration of him in Street Fighter 6 does feel like that’s been slightly sped up. Adding his damage potential into the mix and trying to fight him head-on will only result in disaster.

Playing as Bison feels both nostalgic and refreshing. The reintroduction of his classic moves like Psycho Crusher and Double Knee Press, combined with the new Psycho Mines, creates a complex character that requires strategic mastery but offers high reward in controlling space and pressuring opponents. With his radical redesign and enhanced abilities, I'm eager to explore how these changes affect his gameplay dynamics in the competitive scene, making him a formidable adversary in close combat scenarios. One thing is for sure; Bison serves as a great introduction to what season two has in store when he releases on June 26.

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Ural Garrett

Ural Garrett is an Inglewood, CA-based journalist and content curator. His byline has been featured in outlets including CNN, MTVNews, Complex, TechRadar, BET, The Hollywood Reporter and more.