Capcom recently allowed select players to try Street Fighter 6, in a closed beta. As a fan of the franchise since Street Fighter 2, I haven’t been this happy about a game in this series since Street Fighter Alpha 3, or Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.
Several of the best mechanics and gameplay styles have blended together to create a beautiful and enjoyable fighting game experience. Street Fighter 6 may have only allowed players to experience a few modes so far, but it hasn't disappointed in the slightest.
Street Fighter 6’s Closed Beta gave players access to a plethora of features
Street Fighter 5’s launch was disappointing, to say the very least. Capcom definitely needs to hit this out of the park immediately, and so far, it has delivered. In this Closed Beta, players had access to a number of features.
- Battle Hub Matches
- Casual Matches
- Ranked Matches
- Training Mode (while waiting on matches)
- Challenges (Updated daily)
- Character creation
- DJ Booth
- Game Center (Updated daily)
- Hub Goods Shop
- Open Tournaments
- Photo Spot
- Ranked Matches
- Training Mode
- Extreme Battles (Updated daily)
Despite seeing a few disconnects and errors, my experience was fluid, smooth, and enjoyable. I love the hub for this part of the game. It’s a fancy, high-tech arcade, and players of all levels come together here to duke it out.
You can saddle up to an arcade game, challenge other players, or simply play in training mode while you wait on an opponent. If traditional gameplay doesn’t do it for you, you can either try the wacky Extreme Modes or play a single-player arcade game. I got to play Final Fight and Magic Sword - one of my all-time favorite arcade quarter munchers.
You can buy cool new gear to show off your style and turn your avatar into a horrifying monstrosity. There have been some truly bizarre creatures here.
This hub is very much in the vein of anime fighters like Dragon Ball FighterZ and BlazBlue. Everyone comes together after joining a server. It seemed like every single server had low internet connection bars, but that’s a weird thing to me. I didn’t suffer a single bit of lag while playing the game.
The only instance of a minor slowdown occurred during training mode, when a new challenger appeared.
Street Fighter 6 is the best of all worlds
Street Fighter 6 brought together many of the things I enjoyed from the fighting game series, and put it together in one place. For example, it has SF3’s Parry system, only it feels far more accessible. I was even able to parry multi-hit moves without feeling like a clown.
The mechanics of Street Fighter 5 come together with the heavy, solid art style of Street Fighter 4. It’s very easy to get into Street Fighter 6, which is a joy in itself. I’m not a fan of the “Modern” controls, but I’m glad they exist. Lots of new players will find it far more accessible when it comes to triggering super attacks. It’s a simplistic system and a solid way to get started.
I love the Punish Counter mechanic as it allows you to go back on the offensive and set up some truly devastating combos. The new Drive System is just complex enough to be technically brilliant, without being frustrating.
You receive a gauge under your health bar, where you can utilize a number of Drive moves to enhance your attacks, breakthrough offensives with super armor, and set up your supers. Rushing through this meter makes you suffer “Burnout”, and you definitely don’t want that.
I played a bunch of matches against a wide variety of players, and while I felt like I had more wins than losses, defeat wasn't frustrating. This continued to be the case, even when a few Ken players juggled and blew me up, without taking much in the way of damage.
While I primarily played Ryu, I tried much of the cast as well, even characters outside of my wheelhouse. I wish I had played on the PC though, so I could have used my Hit Box. This felt like I was in an arcade all over again, slotting my quarters on a machine, and waiting for my turn at whoever is dominating everyone.
Not once did Street Fighter 6 lag out on me. The netcode was pristine, and no matter where my opponent was located, I played just fine. I also saw online that players only see the stage they select, instead of being forced to play on their foe's battleground. While it doesn’t change gameplay, it stands out as a neat feature.
Final Thoughts - What’s the state of Street Fighter 6?
While there were only eight World Warriors in SF6’s Closed Beta, I had so much fun. I wish I had more access to the training mode though. The best way to get time in training was to switch to an unpopulated server and find an empty SF6 cabinet.
I haven't had this much fun in Street Fighter in decades. The gameplay felt sharp and responsive. I could generally tell what I did wrong, and during moments of uncertainty, I could go back and watch replays.
There’s still more time to go for Street Fighter 6’s development, but the current state of the game is for sure a positive one. It feels and looks fantastic.