Street Fighter 6 review: Go for broke!

Street Fighter 6 is coming out strong in Round 1, but is it good enough to warrant a rematch?

Image via Capcom

When Street Fighter 5 came out in 2015 it broke my heart. It was incomplete, shoddy, and good things came piecemeal after the fact. Yes, I know, it got better, but it took years. Meanwhile, other fighting games were complete from the get-go and reaffirmed my love for good, modern fighters. If ever there was a game that needed to do a lot to impress me and win me back, it was Street Fighter 6. Nonetheless, for all that is dragon punches and footsies, the mad geniuses did it. On its continuing streak of great games, Capcom has brought one of their crown jewels back and reforged it into something altogether incredible - a proper return to marquee fighting game greatness for the franchise.

World warriors reworked

One of Street Fighter 6’s main strengths right out of the gate is its roster. All of the original 8 World Warriors of Street Fighter 2 are here. That means no waiting for Guile, Blanka, and E. Honda in DLC. More than that, they are joined by an enjoyable extended cast. Characters like Manon provide elegance to the grappler archetype while Marisa gives us a big body brawler that might actually get some love from the Sagat crowd for her long punches and kicks. Lily takes many of T. Hawk’s moves and mixes them into a weapon-based stick-fighting style with command throws, and the mysterious JP feels like a zoner’s dirtiest dreams.

Each of these characters look better than they’ve ever looked with the help of Capcom’s RE Engine. Dee Jay’s sparkle on every thumbs-up and Air Slasher projectile is delightfully infectious and when Zangief is in Parry, he flexes his gut, causing a scar on his abdomen to spread and close. These details are rampant throughout the fighters and stages and add the most life I’ve seen in Street Fighter in a while.

Most importantly, everyone, new or returning, feels fresh and fun to play. I usually can’t stand playing fireball throwers like Ken and Ryu because I’ve always felt they were too vanilla, but even I found myself enjoying a bit of Ken for the time I tried him out. For every new character bringing an all-new gimmick to the table, the oldies feel like some of the best versions of themselves in generations. It helps that their fights are elevated by one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a Street Fighter game in years. I have my favorites, but most of the cast’s music is riveting.

Street Fighter 6 match of Luke vs Jamie
Source: Capcom

There are so many tools to learn which of the cast fits you, too. Capcom didn’t just come correct with general tutorials to learn the new mechanics and character-specific combos. They also brought one of the most exhaustive character tutorial systems I’ve ever seen. These take you step by step through each character’s moves, supers and fundamentals, not only demonstrating for you what each does and the most appropriate time to use it, but also giving you the opportunity to try what you just saw and get a feel for it. Put this alongside a good training mode with plenty of frame data and, from the seasoned veteran to the absolute newbie, Street Fighter 6 feels great when it comes to guiding you to the characters that will suit you best.

Of course, Street Fighter is about taking those moves and working opponents over with them, and there are tons of ways in which to do that in Street Fighter 6 as well. One-on-one and versus modes are here, as are extreme rules and gimmick modes. If you want to have a 3-on-3 bout with bulls sporadically running through the screen, you can. If you want to just have a typical match, you also can. There's also the option to take your favorite character against the CPU in an adjustable arcade Story mode. There, you can also put on modifiers like overall match count; round, time, and difficulty settings; and plenty more. Simply put, even if you just want to play vanilla-style Street Fighter, this game offers a lot of ways to play.

Ken vs. JP in Street Fighter 6
Source: Capcom

I will say Street Fighter 6 is still a pretty high-execution game. Putting together combos requires some strict timing and inputs like Zangief’s spinning piledriver aren’t any easier to pull off than before. Moreover, Street Fighter 6 still feels extensively difficult to master. Every match I played felt like a knowledge check as much as it was a reflex and execution check. However, the game at least helps newcomers out on the execution front with Modern controls. The Modern control system is quite a bit more than the autocombo system we’ve seen in other games (although you can still do autocombos on Modern). It’s closer to the input system in games like Granblue Fantasy Versus.

Where classic still has light, medium, and hard versions of punches and kicks with manual special and super move inputs, Modern control scheme simplifies that down to light, medium, and hard attack buttons with a fourth button dedicated to special moves. Holding another button while repeatedly tapping light, medium, or hard attack buttons will do an autocombo on that button while holding the autocombo button when tapping the special move button will access an “Overdrive” version of that move. You lose out on some technical options, but it’s still a great way for new players to access a character and what they can do, as well as coming up with a playstyle around it that isn’t relegated to just mashing a single button repeatedly. I actually used it to learn a bit more about Zangief since I don’t like doing circular motions, but still wanted to try him out. I found I was able to come up with a playstyle on Zangief that I would have been unable to do otherwise, and I feel other players will be able to do the same.

You can’t give it up!

Street Fighter 6's Battle Hub
Source: Capcom

With the fighting and offline modes offering so much in Street Fighter 6, we can’t forget that there’s online and the World Tour story modes to consider. Online in Street Fighter 6 is great and one of the most fleshed out I’ve seen an online setup in a while. Netplay felt incredibly good and smooth through the beta periods and it was just as good in review. I was able to play against opponents in other continents and only experienced a little bit of lag there. When my opponent was on the same continent as me, it was always buttery smooth and matches went off without a hitch.

I love what Capcom has done with its online lobbies and I hope every other fighting game developer takes notice. The Battle Hub is just plain fun. Whether you want to have casual or ranked matches, talk shop with other players, engage in Capcom’s rotating offering of classic games like Street Fighter 2 or Final Fight, or engage in Extreme matches online, it’s all there and then some. Don’t feel like socializing? Street Fighter 6 also lets you turn on automatic Casual and Ranked matchmaking in your options whether you’re in Battle Hub, World Tour, or other offline modes like the Story arcade so you can take matches anytime as you’re playing around in other Street Fighter activities. It feels convenient in a way I rarely see in a fighting game.

What’s with World Tour?

World Tour Mode Metro City Streets in Street Fighter 6

Source: Capcom

I think one of the few parts of Street Fighter 6 that left me wanting was the World Tour mode. This is the mode in which you put together a character avatar and take them on an adventure through a dedicated story, meeting the Street Fighter cast, convincing them to be your masters, and learning their moves to mix and match your own move set. It’s an interesting idea on paper, and there are quite a few working elements in it. Where you start out with Luke’s style, you eventually get Chun-Li’s and more, all while dressing your character in clothing pieces and using items that boost their stats in things like punches, kicks, and special moves. When you want to level up, get information, or move the story forward, you can talk to or challenge people on the streets and fight them in typical Street Fighter style.

There are a few different points where this mode feels less stellar than the rest of the game. For one, the frame rate and visuals suffer in World Tour mode more than any other section of the game. The cutscenes look good, and when you’re in a one-on-one fight with a Street Fighter character, it looks and feels correct. However, in non-story fights, and especially during non-cutscene dialogue, it looks noticeably lower quality than the rest of the game. Luke goes from having physics, effects, and hair that look great on PS5 to looking like an avatar in Grand Theft Auto 5 on the PS3. And when you’re fighting any number of scrubs on the street, the whole thing plays janky with dips to lower fps. It’s jarring after spending so much time in the other offline modes and in Battle Hub where performance wasn’t ever an issue.

Meeting Ken in World Tour Mode in Street Fighter 6

Source: Capcom

World Tour is still a good place to earn new items for the avatar you build and running into and becoming students of the Street Fighter 6 cast was a fun time. They all have great intros and let you find out more about their place in Street Fighter 6’s storyline, as well as their history throughout the series. I just don’t understand how it can be so underwhelming performance-wise alongside the comparatively glorious other points of the game. Simply put, if World Tour is your reason to jump into Street Fighter 6, I’d wait a patch or two.

I got next

Ryu in Street Fighter 6
Source: Capcom

I’m really excited for the gates to open to the world on Street Fighter 6 and to take on a all comers, make new friends, and start my path into competition in this game. The roster feels like a great starting line-up, the fighting feels good, the visuals outside World Tour are beautiful and the online lobbies and networking are superb. There are even good reasons to jump into World Tour when it catches your fancy, but I wish that end of the game was in better shape. Street Fighter 6 is also as tough as ever to learn, but the new Modern controls alongside Classic and a wealth of interactive learning material mean you can learn it your way and at your pace. All-in-all, this game rekindled my love of the franchise, and I can’t wait to see how Street Fighter 6 grows over time.

This review is based on a PlayStation 5 digital copy supplied by the publisher. Street Fighter 6 comes out on June 2 on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

Review for
Street Fighter 6
  • Great starting roster featuring plenty of favorites
  • Newcomer fighters are great too
  • Visuals in normal matches online & off look gorgeous
  • Incredibly good soundtrack
  • Modern controls feel awesome for newcomers
  • Tons of modes in which to play & train
  • World Tour mode is fun despite performance flaws
  • World Tour mode graphics & performance are shoddy
  • Street Fighter is still tough to learn & tougher to master
From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola