Street Fighter V incredibly fun but stingy offering
Playing the launch version of Street Fighter V is, perhaps, one of the most bittersweet gaming experiences in recent years.
Sweet, because the adrenaline-packed fighting series has been taken to a new level with a somewhat more basic move input setup, that offers far more potential for all-out aggression at the expense of the slightly tedious defensive play style that dominated Street Fighter IV.
Bitter, because the entire playing experience at the time of launch feels decidedly half-baked, with a near-laundry list's worth of still-to-be implemented features leaving a sour taste in many a gamer's mouth.
In fairness to Capcom, they have very nearly perfected the art of pleasing a million casual gamers while still serving the needs of high-level professional players. This is a series where both world class players showcase spellbinding skills and the more casual button-mashers amongst us play to unwind after a day of work or school.
The problem with Street Fighter V will be whether people will want to play it enough.
After playing the game for mere hours you may find yourself already overly familiar with the paltry 10 stages and 16 characters available at launch.
There's no Arcade Mode and the short story mode sequences for each character are woefully underdeveloped.
By comparison to the gargantuan effort that Netherrealm Studios put in with the Mortal Kombat single-player, Street Fighter V's stingy offering is almost embarassing.
Online competitive play is clearly the main concern here. Even when in single-player modes, players need to be logged in to earn Fight Money or the experience used to level up their account.
A decision like that signals that the 'real' Street Fighter V experience is supposed to happen online. You can toggle Fight Request settings so that the game will always be looking for people for you to play in Ranked or Casual matches, with the option to automatically accept challenges.
Although online play around the launch date has been laggy, I've definitely seen some improvement over the past couple of days.
All-in-all, Street Fighter V is a mechanically sound and incredibly fun game to play, but you may find yourself losing interest quicker than you expected due to its rather barebones presentation.
Street Fighter V
PS4 / Xbox One