Street Fighter V Arcade Edition review: The more things change …

Capcom /

Nearly two years after the disastrous launch of Street Fighter V, Capcom has re-released it with new modes and content that feels like more of the same.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: PS4 (Version Reviewed), PC
Release Date: January 16, 2018

Calling Street Fighter V‘s initial launch one of, if not the biggest disappointment in the history of the series is a pretty easy understatement to make. Nearly two years ago, the game launched with a barren roster, not much single player content, and netplay that was the constant butt of jokes across fighting game spheres. Even with arguably some of the more accessible and approachable gameplay in the series, there just wasn’t enough there to justify a fully-priced game.

And yet, when most games would be dead and buried; this one has somehow survived. Capcom made many changes throughout the game’s lifespan, packing in 12 more characters, a story mode and all sorts of costumes and palette swaps as the months rolled on. The competitive scene and community also kept things alive, much to the chagrin of those wanting a new combatant to step up to the fighting game throne until Capcom got things together. V led the way regarding the number of registrants at major tournaments and remained a title that was fun to watch the best players in the world go at it.

With all that said, Arcade Edition easily marks the biggest change since launch. It serves as a new version of the game akin to the million-and-a-half revisions of Street Fighter IV. Though the much-improved UI and modes are a free update for existing owners who may or may not have bought any of the post-launch DLC fighters, the $40 retail version gets access to all of the Season 1 and Season 2 characters, with both passes also getting significant discounts as well.

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The current Season 3 will bring the roster up to 36 fighters by the end of the year, as opposed to 16 in the base version. Speaking of Season 3, fan-favorite shoto Sakura was released with the launch of AE and is actually pretty fun to play and learn the ins-and-outs of. Her inclusion and implementation get things off on the right foot with other challengers like Blanka, Cody and Sagat all on the way in the coming months.

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition
Capcom /

Granted, the UI hasn’t changed that much, but it’s a welcome change. A new character selection screen plus a newer pre-fight intro combined with a new golden sheen just makes things look so much better than before. It gives off the feel of an actual fighting tournament or something you’d see in combat sports. As mentioned, the changes here are welcome despite being pretty minor, and they really help make things more visually appealing overall. Meanwhile, the menus and the rest of the graphics remain virtually unchanged from the 2016 launch, weird hair clipping and all.

Arcade Edition also has a few tricks up its sleeve in the gameplay department. Each character now has a second V-Trigger, a mechanic that can unlock buffs, enhance certain moves or even bust out all new ones by building a separate meter than the traditional EX one. It’s always good to have options like this in a fighting game, even if some of the new Triggers are somehow much less practical than the originals. Even as you read this, someone has probably already found a way to make what was initially thought to be a bad V-Trigger into something useful, because the fighting game scene works that fast. Other than some balancing, that’s the biggest change to what otherwise is an accessible fighter that still plays pretty well in a local setting. If you’re someone who wants to dive headfirst into the series, or just fighting games in general, this is a pretty good place to start from a gameplay perspective.

The update’s namesake, Arcade Mode, is pretty unique in its own right. As opposed to just simply choosing a character and climbing a ladder, it serves as a celebration of the series coming 30 years after the release of the original Street Fighter. Each numbered game and the first Alpha game all have their own characters to choose from with their own respective paths to each of the possible 200-plus endings that can also unlock special artwork after meeting certain conditions.

The character selection is also reflective of who was (and probably would be) in each game, so the roster starts to bloom the deeper one chooses to dive. There’s also not one set path, but rather the player can choose who they take on next after a victory with some options even including higher-leveled AI. It’s a solid mode with an interesting change in direction from what would normally be expected, even if it took nearly two years to implement.

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition
Capcom /

Extra Battle is the other big addition concerning gameplay modes and provides special challenges and rewards at the cost of Fight Money. This presents a bit of double-edged sword. On the one hand, getting a sick-looking Viewtiful Joe costume for Rashid by simply playing is great. On the other, the in-game currency is hard to rack up unless you just constantly play online. Not to mention it can still also buy other cosmetics, stages and even change your user ID in the game thanks to an update.

The intentions here were clearly good, but the implementation could definitely have used a bit more work.

The intentions here were clearly good, but the implementation could definitely have used a bit more work. The local-only Team Battle Mode also comes back from Ultra Street Fighter IV and presents an elimination-style format that could be an attraction for tournaments or parties who want that competitive edge. There are also new practice tools to help newcomers and veterans alike, including updated combo trials and even the ability to view frame-data in training mode. Each character also has a shorter story arc as found at launch and the cinematic story mode is also still available for a free download, but you can check out our full review of that here.

So what does Arcade Edition not come with or fix? Well, the DLC stages and costumes from post-launch are all missing and locked behind a Fight Money/real money paywall for the retail version. It’s a shame considering that some of those stages are much better-looking than the ones originally shipped with and could easily tempt people into spending more money. If you want to fight on a beach or on a plane, you’re going to have to cough up more than the retail asking price.

The netcode didn’t have many problems on PS4 for the most part, but cross-play matches did have frame drops and noticeable lag at times that just suck the fun out of the experience. The PC version even had reports of a nearly unplayable status not long after the game came out. It, along with the less than stellar netcode of Ultra Street Fighter II, doesn’t bode well for the upcoming 30th Anniversary Collection due out in May; but I’d love to be proven wrong.

Capcom. . Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. 8. Simply put, <em>Arcade Edition</em> finally brings <em>Street Fighter V</em> to a recommendable state. With plenty of single-player content and new wrinkles in the accessible gameplay, it can actually be a good time to sit down, learn a character and just get better. There are definitely some issues regarding DLC and in-game currency along with some questionable netcode that have plagued the game since its launch two years ago and are a big part of what was seemingly its demise. Instead, this raging demon still lives on to fight another day … albeit at a discounted price.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.