It took a while for Street Fighter 6 to arrive, and for good reason. The final product is slickly polished, packed with modes and headlined by its feature-rich online Battle Hub and ambitious single player World Tour. It’s a fighting game for everyone, with multiple control styles and vast accessibility options.
Broad, accessible control schemes
World Tour mode rules
Seamless online functionality
Excellent, diverse base roster
Difficulty spikes in World Tour
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Time played: 35 hours
Platform reviewed: PS5
Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Street Fighter 6 is finally here after what felt like an eternity. But it brings me nothing but joy to report that the wait for the latest installment in Capcom’s legendary fighting game series has been worth it. Almost every facet of Street Fighter 6 is appealing to the broad audience it targets, and you’ll have heaps of content to delve into when it launches on June 2.
Developed in Capcom’s RE Engine, Street Fighter 6 dazzles with exceptional visuals and style. Expressive, highly-detailed character models mesh gorgeously with graffiti-like flourishes and particle effects that splash across the screen whenever special moves fly. Street Fighter 6’s style lends so much vibrancy to its fights, a far cry from the relatively muted Street Fighter 5.
The actual fighting in Street Fighter 6 wows even more than its remarkable visuals. Its 6-button setup is Street Fighter through and through, but the newly added Drive Gauge sets each and every fight apart with its array of supplementary mechanics. From the Drive Impact that can break through an opponent’s aggression to a Drive Parry that, when timed perfectly, can give you an instant frame advantage, the gauge ensures every character has access to a veritable Swiss army knife of defensive options if managed effectively.
And if that all sounds a bit much, fear not; Street Fighter 6’s excellent World Tour mode does a great job of getting new players up to speed, presenting opportunities to learn the game’s systems and each character's move set.
Street Fighter 6’s biggest strength is that it is incredibly welcoming. The fighting genre is a daunting one, but Street Fighter 6 embraces new players brilliantly. Whether that’s through World Tour or forgiving online ranking systems, the game makes sure newcomers feel just as much at home as the pros do.
Around the world
The first item on the docket for many Street Fighter 6 players will be the ambitious World Tour mode. This sprawling single player adventure first has you creating your own custom character – a first for the series. Capcom hasn’t been shy with the sliders here, allowing you to create something convincingly cool, or something that wouldn’t look out of place in Resident Evil’s Spencer Mansion.
World Tour is a fully 3D, third-person adventure, the majority of which’ll have you roaming the busy streets of Metro City. Think New York, but with people running around with cardboard boxes on their heads. While there is a critical path to follow that’ll introduce you to Street Fighter’s iconic world warriors, you’ll likely be much more tempted to trek off the beaten path. Metro City is impressively dense with side quests, treasures and all manner of Easter eggs tucked down its narrow streets, dark alleyways and open parks.
Most of the city’s residents will also be up for a fight, and challenging them will near-seamlessly switch to the usual two-dimensional plane. In fights you’ll make use of move sets and specials you’ve learned from your Masters (the game’s roster of fighters that you’ll find either as part of the story or from side quests and yes, you can give them gifts and improve bonds with them), earning experience, items and clothing to boost your stats.
Fights are typically very quick, but you won’t always be the one to instigate them. NPCs marked with a red name will charge at you on-sight, a la the Yakuza series. If you’re quick on the draw, you can hit them first for an advantage in battle, which does help to alleviate the frustration of how these fights can play out. Depending on where you are on the map, a veritable clown car of goons can line up to fight you. It occasionally led to me being stuck in the same spot for about five minutes while every gang nut in the vicinity charged in for a scrap.
The World Tour mode does have some flaws. Aside from the occasional goon parade, fights later in the game can drag on. That’s often thanks to bloated stats and health bars. It’ll mean you’ll need to chug healing items mid-fight a lot, which hardly feels fair. There's some visual oddities, too. Distant NPCs and objects update at a lower framerate, which is common to see in other RE Engine games like Monster Hunter Rise. It's unfortunate to see it here, but it by no means a deal breaker for the mode at large.
Still, even with its problems, World Tour is loads of fun, and certainly feels like a Matryoshka-esque game within a game. It very much reminded me of a quirky PS2-era brawler, like The Warriors or Mortal Kombat Deception’s awesome Konquest mode. It’s absolutely packed with charm, and I really can’t get enough of it.
Street Fighter 6’s fundamentals aren’t too dissimilar from series’ tradition, but new mechanics (some reworked from older entries) and robust alternate control schemes will help players from all walks of life gain a decent foothold.
One of Street Fighter 6’s standout features is its various control schemes. Classic is the game how it’s always been; 6-button setup and full manual inputs for special moves, throws, Drive Gauge abilities and the like. This mode’ll give you full control over your fighter, but that naturally entails a higher skill ceiling. The Classic control scheme can be a bit finicky on a gamepad, but is well-suited for the best fight sticks.
Modern controls provide a more streamlined experience, and is the setup recommended for newer players. Perfect for controllers, Modern allows players to string together combos and inputs special moves far easier thanks to preset macros for each of the game’s eighteen fighters. Think a certain fighter looks cool, but find them hard to play? Try switching to Modern controls to get a better feel for them, and potentially use them more effectively.
Lastly is the Dynamic control scheme, which is a strictly casual setting and is only available offline. Dynamic will automatically input attacks and specials based on the distance between you and your opponent. It’s great for more laid back play sessions, but if you’re serious about learning the ins and outs of Street Fighter 6, then I’d say stick to either Classic or Modern.
I’d be remiss to not mention Street Fighter 6’s incredible accessibility suite. Clearly dedicated to helping as many people enjoy the game as possible, Capcom has included a swathe of accessibility settings to assist players where needed. Most notably, the publisher has partnered with accessibility firm ePARA to develop options for blind or low-vision players. These include audio prompts to let players know the distance between them and the opponent, and one that distinguishes between high, mid and low hits with distinctive cues.
This is unprecedented within the genre, but I know Capcom can go further. There unfortunately doesn’t appear to be any support for colorblind players at launch, which seems like a huge oversight. Hopefully this is something the developer can patch in soon after launch, as the existing commitment to accessibility is very admirable.
Lastly, let’s delve into Fighting Ground and Battle Hub, the other two marquee modes in Street Fighter 6. Fighting Ground is pretty straightforward; a large collection of modes and training suites that are perfect for local play and improving your skills. It’s here where you’ll find a robust Arcade mode, options for local versus matches, and the fervent Extreme Battle mode. There’s also a marvelous tutorial that’ll introduce the fundamentals of the game, as well as guides and combo trials for every fighter.
Once you’ve gotten a good feel for your fave in Fighting Ground, there’s a good chance you’ll want to take the fight online. That’s where the Battle Hub comes in. Battle Hub is an open space populated by player-created characters that’s dotted with arcade machines.
Sitting at one of these machines will effectively queue you up for a match; all it takes is for another player to sit right opposite you. However, I found the more reliable option to be to enable constant match queuing in the options menu.
During the betas and the online sessions that took place over the review period, I was never hurting for matches. Lobbies were well-populated and functional for the most part. Capcom has employed the use of rollback netcode, meaning that most matches ran smoothly with minimal lag. Of course, mileage will still vary here based on the quality of connection, so I recommend hooking your console or PC up with an ethernet cable for the most consistent connection quality.
Battle Hub successfully sells a feeling of community, and whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, hanging out here long enough is likely to land you some like-minded friends. It also helps that rematches are instantaneous, which is fantastic for fostering spirited rivalries and intense back-and-forth play sessions.
Real World Warriors
Street Fighter 6 is a landmark release in its genre, and with it, Capcom has reclaimed its throne among the best fighting games out there. Its fighting is more polished than ever, and the addition of the Drive Gauge lends a ton of strategy and split-second decision making to every single fight.
Whether you’re just here to check out the globetrotting World Tour mode, or staying for online fun in the Battle Hub, there’s no part of Street Fighter 6’s package that feels particularly lacking. Offline and on, there’s so much to sink your teeth into between its three standalone sectors. Street Fighter 6, above all else, is a fighting game that’s for everyone.
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.