Street Fighter 6 Review | Hadokens Heard Around the World

The hardest hitting punches of 2023.

I love fighting games. There’s nothing like the thrill of being locked into a small stage, facing off against a single opponent and armed with nothing but your wits, timing, and reflexes. There’s no funny business here; no advantageous perks to equip and give you the upper hand in battle, no regenerating health if you back off long enough, and no remorse when you slip up. It’s raw, it’s visceral, and it’s the pinnacle of competitive video gaming.

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For the past decade, I’ve spent most of my fighting game energy on Guilty Gear-style brawlers and hadn’t really thought of the Street Fighter series since getting my hands dirty in 2009’s Street Fighter 4. After Street Fighter 5’s half-baked launch, I feared I’d grown apart from my once-favorite fighting game franchise – until Street Fighter 6 entered the scene, hitting me like a standing fierce to the face and reminding me of the weighty and methodical style I’d missed so much.

Street Fighter 6 – Reinventing the Punch

Street Fighter 6 is simultaneously the series’ most ambitious and approachable entry yet. Right out of the gates, you’re introduced to a robust character creation system, giving you the freedom to create the monstrosity of your dreams whom you’ll play through a variety of game modes. And by game modes, I don’t just mean your standard Arcade mode stories and Online Lobbies. Street Fighter 6 isn’t just a fighting game, it’s a full-fledged fighting RPG – and you’re the star of it.

Screenshot by Prima Games

The World Tour mode is a grand, global adventure that you’ll take your character through to meet legendary fighting masters as you search for the true meaning of strength. It’s the first of its kind in the series and, frankly, in any fighting game I’ve ever experienced. I thought it was a gimmick when it was first announced, assuming they’d never really deliver a fleshed-out open-world adventure in a Street Fighter game.

I was wrong. Each chapter is stuffed with unique story quests, side missions, and secrets to discover. Metro City is crowded with thousands of characters, most of whom are willing to stop whatever they’re doing to duke it out with you on the asphalt at a moment’s notice. You’ll visit shops to purchase new drip and boost your stats in one way or another, you’ll find restoration items and food to give you temporary buffs in battle, and you’ll learn new skills from various familiar faces to mix and match on your personal protagonist.


“Metro City is crowded with thousands of characters, most of whom are willing to stop whatever they’re doing to duke it out with you on the asphalt at a moment’s notice.”


All of this is achieved while you naturally explore the sprawling urban playground of Metro City and all its nooks and crannies. From afar, the game’s world isn’t even near the same scale as, say, an Elden Ring or Horizon world, but it’s big enough to keep you goofing around for many hours, and even has fast-travel points for easier transportation. Let me repeat that: there is fast-traveling in a Street Fighter game.

Screenshot by Prima Games

You may think that World Tour sounds like a great, entertaining adventure all wrapped up in a self-contained single-player experience – and that’s where Street Fighter 6 surprises once again. All that gear you collected and those skills you learned along the way to craft your perfect character? It all translates straight into online multiplayer via the Battle Hub.

The Battle Hub is much like other virtual waiting rooms you may be used to from recent fighting games but, unlike the rest, bursts with interactivity and character in every corner. Arcade cabinets are sprinkled everywhere, waiting for would-be opponents to sit down and go toe-to-toe with each other. Onlookers are free to spectate any matches happening, and can even join a queue to face the winner.

Image via Capcom

In the center of the hub is a stage reserved for Avatar battles, where your tailor-made character can await other custom characters to come and catch some fists. When you’re not in the mood for a traditional match, you can find something exciting at every corner; vendors to buy more gear, classic cabinets to play retro Capcom games, and even a working DJ booth.

The walls of the Battle Hub are adorned with huge displays, advertising upcoming events and recognizing the best players of the day. Whether you’re working towards seeing your name on the big screen or vibing out upstairs, it’s the perfect social setting to chill with the community.

Street Fighter 6 – Back to Basics

Single-player adventures and cool hangout spots aside, what really matters in Street Fighter is, well, how it plays as a fighter. Thankfully, Street Fighter 6 lands right on the money with every hit. The usual gang is there, with all eight original fighters from World Warriors, returning favorites from the franchise, and a handful of new faces hitting the scene. Classic characters have their typical move sets we’ve come to expect, but additional skills have been introduced to add even more options to some of the more dull fighters of the past.

Image via Capcom

The Drive system adds even further complexity to Street Fighter 6 matches, giving each fighter a variety of options to deal with just about any situation through the use of their Drive Gauge. A perfectly-timed Drive Parry can be used to negate an opponent’s hit and open them up for a combo. An Overdrive empowers a special move into a beefier EX version of itself. A Drive Rush enables you to cancel out of most normal attacks early, allowing you to string together combos you wouldn’t normally be able to. Then there’s the Drive Impact, the Street Fighter 6 equivalent of Focus Attacks from Street Fighter 4, which delivers a devastating blow and leaves your opponent open for punishment.


“It’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to the game’s 18 different fighters until you find the style that suits you best.”


While it all sounds a bit overwhelming, specifically for newcomers, Street Fighter 6 has an incredibly robust training section within the game’s third mode – Fighting Ground. There’s the standard practice mode to beat up a computer-controlled dummy however you wish, but there are also in-depth character guides and combo training trials specifically and meticulously crafted for each and every character. It’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to the game’s 18 different fighters until you find the style that suits you best.

Screenshot by Prima Games

Making it even more accessible for players are the three different control schemes available in Street Fighter 6. Classic mode uses the six standard attack buttons you’ll find on any arcade cabinet, while Modern mode squishes those down to four. For players not ready to dish out quarter-circles on the fly, Modern mode enables them to execute special moves with one button and a directional input. Dynamic mode simplifies it even further, allowing you to unleash flashy super moves and spicy combos with just one button.

Where the previous entries may have been slacking, Fighting Ground makes sure to check every box that any player would ever need.

Street Fighter 6 – A Perfect KO

It’s difficult to find much at fault with Street Fighter 6. It manages to be accessible for new players while retaining the enormously high skill ceiling it’s always had. This is the game that makes you want to go out and buy a fight stick – not because you need one to be good, but because of the unbridled inspiration you feel once you’re enveloped in the Street Fighter ethos. It’s a legendary franchise, and it continues to prove why it deserves the crown it rightfully owns.

Screenshot by Prima Games

In a sense, Street Fighter 6 is the full package. It’s a three-course meal and then some, filling you up to the brim and serving you every dish on the dessert menu whether you’re ready for the check or not. It’s bursting with style, swagger, and abundant sophistication, and it’s the perfect entry for newcomers and veterans alike.

9.5
Street Fighter 6
After the mixed reception of its predecessor, the Street Fighter franchise has come back swinging. This is the best Street Fighter has ever been.
Pros
  • Flashy, colorful, and as vibrant as ever
  • Robust with content and features
  • Approachable for players of all skill levels
Cons
  • I miss Balrog
  • Can't switch characters without leaving a match
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PlayStation 5.

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Author
Matt Vatankhah
Matt's writing career began when he joined Prima Games in 2022. As an Associate Editor, he tries to make sure everything you read looks as pretty as possible. He's had a passion for video games all of his life and really loves Final Fantasy, retro FPS, roguelikes, and metroidvanias. He will absolutely stomp you in Tetris.