Street Fighter 6 Modern controls vs Classic controls: what are the differences?

Luke hitting a punching bag in Street Fighter 6
(Image credit: Capcom)

Street Fighter 6's controls offer a little more in the way of variety when compared to previous entries. Depending on whether you're a new player, or a series veteran, the Modern and Classic options will have you covered.

Importantly, Street Fighter 6 Modern controls provide a beginner-friendly entry point into the series, helping newer players get to grips with their favorite characters. They're available offline in Fighting Ground and World Tour modes, as well as online in the Battle Hub. And if you’re jumping into the arena for the first time with Street Fighter 6, it's highly recommend you start out with Modern controls to help you get a better feel for the game.

Street Fighter 6 Modern controls differ quite substantially from the Classic control scheme, and it remains to be seen just how the wider community will adopt them into higher level play, if at all. But if you’re getting into the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S fighter from the ground floor, read on to learn everything you need to know about Street Fighter 6 Modern controls and how they differ from Classic. 

Street Fighter 6 Modern controls

Let's start by taking a look at the Modern controls setting for Street Fighter 6.

Street Fighter 6 Modern controls explained

Street Fighter 6 gameplay screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

Street Fighter 6 Modern controls provide a streamlined fighting experience that simplifies combo strings and special move inputs. With Modern controls enabled, you can hold down one of your controller’s shoulder buttons, then press one of the four face buttons to input strings of attacks that would otherwise have to be done manually on the Classic setting.

Special moves are also greatly simplified. With Modern controls, simply press a single directional button and a face button together to activate one of your fighters’ special moves. 

If you’re not used to Classic controls, this is a far more reliable method of successfully inputting the move you’re after. If you’re looking to familiarize yourself more with your chosen fighter and how they play, rather than what’s most optimal for them, then I recommend switching to Modern for an initial level of comfort.

Street Fighter 6 Classic controls

Now for Street Fighter 6 Classic controls, which will be familiar to those who have played the series before.

Street Fighter 6 Classic controls explained

Street Fighter 6 gameplay screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

While Street Fighter 6 Modern controls are perfect for beginners, Classic takes a more getting used to if you’re new to the genre. Classic retains Street Fighter’s traditional 6-button layout; that’s light, medium and heavy punches and kicks all assigned to different buttons. 

This means you’ll need to input your desired combo strings and Drive Gauge abilities with more precision. However, Classic will reward you for your time and effort by allowing you to squeeze every ounce of potential out of your favorite character, should you put in the time to learn.

Special moves require full motion inputs to perform. For example, Ryu’s Hadouken projectile requires the quarter-circle-forward motion on the controller or one of the best fight sticks. Similarly, anti-air special moves like Cammy’s Cannon Spike will require the ‘DP’ motion (forward, down, forward-down) for successful activation.

Classic controls are how Street Fighter, and most other fighting games, have always operated, but they can be a tad intimidating if you’re fresh to the best fighting games out there. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to work yourself up to, but don’t be afraid to start out on Street Fighter 6 Modern controls if you’re just dipping a toe into the water. 

How to change your Street Fighter 6 control scheme

Cammy performing her Spiral Arrow special in Street Fighter 6

(Image credit: Capcom)

When you load up Street Fighter 6 for the first time, Modern controls are enabled by default, and it’s also the default control scheme in World Tour mode. However, you can change your preferred control scheme at any time by simply pressing the Menu button on your controller and navigating to the Options menu.

In the Options menu, you can customize your Street Fighter 6 experience with a range of visual, audio, accessibility and controller settings. But if it’s Modern controls you’re after, simply head to the Controls tab and select Play 1 Side Control Settings. Here you can switch between Modern and Classic control schemes as well as Dynamic which is only available for offline play.

If you want to change the control scheme for your player-created character, select Avatar Battle Control Type from the Controls submenu. This will affect your controls in World Tour mode as well as for custom character battles in the online Battle Hub. 

Street Fighter 6 Modern controls vs Classic controls

Now that we've outlined the differences between the two main control schemes in Street Fighter 6, here's some info on which one to use.

Street Fighter 6 Modern vs Classic controls: which should you pick?

Ryu throws an uppercut at Luke

(Image credit: Capcom)

As we've mentioned, Modern controls are a great place to start if you are new to the Street Fighter series, or fighting games in general. They're also just worth trying out in general, as you may find them more suited to your particular play style and personal circumstances. You can always switch to Classic if you're not gelling with how the game feels by default.

Classic mode is well worth working your way up to, and will be the main choice for those familiar with fighting games. Thankfully, there's really no reason why you can't switch between the two schemes, so give yourself some time to ease into Street Fighter 6 at first. Once you've found your rhythm, you can experiment in different game modes, and with different characters.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.