Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Review – No New Challenger

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Last week Capcom released a new Street Fighter game, or to be more precise it launched a version of the game jam packed with the latest content that developer has been working on called Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.

It’s not a brand new game, but rather an iteration that features all 40 characters, 34 stages and over 200 costumes. As such for fans of the franchise who want to get their hands on all the different variants and digital assets available, it’s quite alluring.

But what about someone who wants to jump back into Street Fighter again?

Well I’m such a person, and for the past week I’ve been giving Champion Edition a go to see whether it stoked my love of the franchise again. Here’s what transpired.

Not much of a story

So the story for Street Fighter V centres very much on Ryu, as you would expect it to. He is trying to come to terms with the power within him, and the battling dualities that seem to be ranging inside his mind and body. It’s by no means a unique story in fighting games, and in a lot of ways reminds one of Tekken 3.

There’s also the way that it is presented, with an almost storyboard-like comic that shows different characters interacting with one another and voice actors narrating the interactions.

It’s definitely not as engaging as what you might find with some of NetherRealm’s newer Mortal Kombat or Injustice properties, and as such you’ll find yourself skipping (Options button on PS4) a lot of the time to get things moving along.

Along with a lacklustre campaign, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition has individual campaigns for each character. They consist of about four fights each and carry with it the chance to earn XP and in-game costumes upon completion.

Again if you’re looking for lore, Champion Edition is going to leave you a little shortchanged.

Tight mechanics

While the storytelling leaves a lot to be desired, the gameplay on offer is as solid as it comes. It has been ever so subtly tweaked over the different iterations of Street Fighter V, and for Champion Edition it’s one of the best on offer to date.

What we’re particularly fond of is how different each character feels to play. We’re not just talking about different types of fighters, such as brawlers, long-rangers or speed merchants, but each character within Champion Edition has a wholly unique feel to them.

The experience with someone like Chun-Li (our personal favourite) compared to Ryu is distinct, with the former dishing out combos far quicker than the latter. That said the devastating power of Ryu’s overhead punches is also quite addictive, and an easy way to slow the momentum of your opponent.

Even characters that look the same on paper, like Necalli and Blanka for example, play quite differently in-game, making it more difficult to suss out their attack patterns.

As such you’re going to find something to enjoy in every character, and the fact that there are 40 options to choose from, means quite a few hours will be dedicated to getting a feel for the roster.

Added extras

So what else has Capcom added to the mix here?

There is of course the online aspect of the title, which can match you up with other Street Fighter V players across the globe. This is a nice addition for those wanting to hone their skills, as the AI can only test you for so long.

Something that we quite liked is the fact that you can play previous iterations of the game in the Arcade Mode. It’s not the fully fledged versions of those titles as there are a limited number of matches you can play for each, but it is a welcome feature if you have friends coming over, or want a change of pace from Champion Edition.

Added to this are challenges, which carry specific in-game rewards upon completion. These usually range from beating a specific number of opponents or carrying out certain moves in fights, with it always being time sensitive. As such each one is slightly unique.

Final verdict

The key thing that Street Fighter V: Champion Edition has going for is its price. Costing R469 for the game or R399 for the Upgrade Kit on the PlayStation Store, there isn’t the more substantial R1k outlay that a new title demands.

Where it falls short though is the fact that there isn’t enough to keep you coming back unless you’re a fan of the franchise.

As such it feels more like a specialised DLC, and if you’ve already played Street Fighter V and were not won over by it, there is nothing to draw you in again. That’s why we’d rather hold out for something like Street Fighter VI, but that’s just a rumour for now.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.