The Capcom fighting game par excellence returns to PC and PS4 with a last, rich edition: here is the review of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.
The basic experience
If you have previously played with any edition of SFV you will know perfectly well what to expect from Street Fighter V: Champion Edition since the basic experience remains exactly the same; obviously net of the updates that the developers have released over time, both as regards the balance of the gameplay and, above all, the single-player content.
The main menu, indeed not beautiful, is divided into two parts: the items on the left allow access to Arcade mode, Story Mode, local Versus, Challenges, Training, and various settings, while those on the right revolve around the multiplayer component with access to the Capcom Fighters Network, the lounges, classified matches, and friendly matches, as well as of course the shop. The latter is basically useless in the Champion Edition, since it is precisely a complete edition of everything or almost.
The Arcade mode represents the fulcrum of the single-player sector: a sort of journey through the history of the franchise, with a sequence of fights and a selection of characters that vary according to the chosen path, becoming progressively more full-bodied and demanding.
It starts with Street Fighter I, with its iconic and bizarre fighters, and continues with the historic Street Fighter II, the fighting game that changed everything, and then tackle the Street Fighter Alpha youth battles. The lesser-known and understood Street Fighter III are therefore contrasted by Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V, the latter complete with all the fighters so far released. In all cases the crossroads are interesting and the endings are very beautiful, who pay homage to the original closing sequences placing themselves as welcome fanservice.
Where you want to explore the story, the motivations and the possible epilogues of the various protagonists, there is the short but intense Story Mode, in which the clashes are interspersed with static cutscenes that give a little the idea of simple drafts, not particularly cared for, but they provide some extra information on the lore created by Capcom. In this case, the duels are just four, so complete the mode at 100% and with the entire roster, it will take you only a couple of hours.
The feeling that he has not gone too far on single-player content is also confirmed in the Champion Edition, which in this sense does not introduce new modes and limits itself to dedicating paths dedicated also to all the new characters, obviously including Gill and Seth.
As far as competitive multiplayer is concerned, the question does not revolve around the numbers but rather on the attention to detail, a very solid matchmaking (which will undoubtedly enjoy a relaunch thanks to the release of this new edition) and a classification system which still keeps up today, rewarding or penalizing users according to performance and rarely incurring problems related to excessive latency.
Aside from the inexplicable server shutdown to coincide with the release of the game on Steam, perhaps due to an unexpected spike, our experience with online matches proved to be perfectly in line with what we expected from such a mature and refined product.
The new contents
The list of contents included in Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is particularly long and full-bodied, but obviously it has a different relevance depending on what your experience with the game has been so far, the edition you already have and the packages that you have you have possibly purchased.
As said, the roster is now complete and counts the beauty of forty characters, coming from the original version and from the four seasons that followed. It is therefore easy that most of the fighters are completely unpublished, although in many cases these are welcome returns rather than real new entries: we are talking about figures such as Guile, Balrog, Alex, Akuma, Abigail, Codi, and Sakura, in a mix that draws not only from the history of Street Fighter but also from the various episodes of Final Fight, as is now tradition.
Then there are the characters made specifically for Street Fighter V, such as the starting quartet composed of FANG, Laura, Necalli, and Rashid, as well as the subsequent debuts of Menat, G, Falke, and Kage. Finally, the two fighters that accompany the launch of the Champion Edition, namely Gill and Seth.
These are not unpublished figures, as you may have guessed: the first is a sort of divinity endowed with the power to manipulate fire and ice, which first appeared in Street Fighter III; the second is the female (and definitive) form of the powerful final boss of Street Fighter IV.
A sort of a bizarre cross between the Greek gods and Jesus of Nazareth, Gill is strongly characterized by a skin half red and half blue, to underline once again its peculiar powers, and by a large blond hair that remains unnaturally suspended in mid-air.
Depending on the part of the body involved, his blows can have an incendiary effect or release ice, and this also applies to special moves: a furious charge against the enemy or the emission of an energy globe that starts towards the high defusing any airstrikes. His super is spectacular and highlights the divine nature of the character: if the enemy is “hooked”, Gill takes the form of an angel and emits devastating waves.
Seth boasts a design in many ways similar to the original version of the character, a sort of synthetic creature created specifically to fight, which instead of the abdomen has a rotating sphere full of spiritual energy.
His moves involve a moment of loading and prefer short distances, with a flurry of punches, a rotating kick that slams the opponent away and a sort of uppercut performed in full-body during a rotation. The special is the one we already knew: Seth creates a kind of whirlwind that sucks the enemy and shoots him away, dealing him with enormous damage.
The two new characters, therefore, boast interesting features, a precise balance that points to specific approaches in combat (in this case very different) and undoubtedly fascinating design, perfectly in line with the style used by Capcom so far. Their introduction, however, must be interpreted with a view to the complete package; It is, therefore, worth repeating that the convenience and the goodness of the upgrade depend on what you have seen and experienced so far from the various contents of Street Fighter V.
In this sense, the addition of a disproportionate number of costumes, over two hundred in total, represents an extra welcome (sometimes itchy) but far from essential, while the presence of a second V-Skillit will certainly have a more significant impact, especially in the competitive field, and it will be interesting to see how the most capable pro gamers will exploit the new feature.
Finally, a few words on the technical realization, also well representative of the task path so far from the game with the various updates. On the test configuration, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition runs smoothly at 4K and 60 frames per second setting everything to the maximum, without thinking too much about it: thanks to a solid and tested graphics engine like the Unreal Engine 4, but also good optimization work is done by the developers.
Net of a style in many ways caricatured, the characters are confirmed well characterized, with few exceptions, and the scenarios boast truly wonderful views, however with a pinch of interaction (see the final shots well settled on the margins of the stage) that does not never bad.