Street Fighter 6 Closed Beta Test Review – A True Next-Gen Fighting Game


Street Fighter 6 isn’t even out yet and I’m already itching for more. The latest in Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise held a closed beta recently and I was one of the lucky few to try out the title in what I can only describe as a fighting game experience worthy of entering the Ninth console generation.

Smooth combat, incredible visuals, fun new mechanics, heaps of game modes for casual and high players in just its online offering, and quality-of-life changes make you wonder why it took so long for these valuable features to be integrated into the genre and will leave you excited for the future of the fighting game genre.

All screenshots and footage are taken from the Street Fighter 6 Closed Beta Test and are subject to change. This is not a review of the game’s balance.

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Now This is Street Fighter!

Street Fighter 6 is a 2D fighting game building off the mechanics and gameplay from the original Street Fighter released in 1987. You and a single opponent will be battling it out against the clock, beating each other up with punches, kicks, throws, tackles, and the huge variety of power special movies super moves, and more until one of you is KO’ed for good!

This time around Street Fighter 6 introduces the “Drive” mechanic. In place of using the same meter to perform supers and EX moves, you will now use a new separate resource to perform a lot of cool stuff. This includes parrying, the new drive rush mechanic that lets you cancel an attack, drive, overdrive moves, drive impact, and drive reversals.

▼ Ken’s Critical Art, Shinryu-Reppa!

This single new meter is my favorite addition to the series. Now you have a meter that you can use offensively, and defensively, that can be used, drained from the opponent by using your supers, and built up during gameplay. It adds a lot of back and forth to the game, while still letting you whip out the game’s beautiful-looking supers whenever you want.

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Drive Rush lets you instantly close the gap with characters who would struggle before, or drive impact gives you a way to punish an opponent for getting too greedy and keep them on their toes, Of course, all of these mechanics also have counters and very clear weaknesses, making them powerful but also completely manageable to deal with when you’re on the receiving end.

I never once felt like I was hit by something and it felt “cheap”, but rather it was my mistake for getting hit by it, and I love the feeling of being able to correct and fix my gameplay during a match and get back at the opponent.

▼Using the Overdrive Meter to almost do a Moment 37!

Sadly as good as Street Fighter 6’s online felt with rollback netcode, I did run into the occasional laggy match Asia region sometimes reaching upwards to 400 ping which definitely didn’t make for the greatest experience. This is still fairly early on and the game may still patch up its netcode over time, as the more I played the beta, the less laggy matches I encountered overall. The game’s netcode is still one of the best out there only being slightly worse than Guilty Gear Strive, meaning most of your matches should be smooth when Street Fighter 6 finally launches.

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The Streets Never Looked So Good

Whether or not you’re a pro player, a casual, or someone picking up a fighting game for the first time, the most important aspect of a fighting game is just being able to do cool stuff.

Street Fighter 6 absolutely delivers in looking and feeling cool at the same time. Right out of the gate Street Fighter 6 looks absolutely gorgeous. From the sleek main menu to its lobbies, Ui, and gameplay, everything about this game just looks, sounds, and feels great to play with.

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This time Street Fighter 6’s lobby borrows a system similar to Arc System Works’ lobbies from Persona 4 Ultimax, Guilty Gear Strive, and Blazblue. Here you can see everyone’s beautifully created characters, and chill in the lobby playing music while you wait for a ranked or casual match. Want to find someone right away though? You can always just sit down at a cabinet to train, or get ready to play someone just like at an arcade!

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Once you get into a game that’s where Street Fighter 6 just oozes style. Every character’s style is pushed to the limit here, with unique particle effects, colors, and sick callbacks to their original designs. Ken for example has his parrying animation ripped straight out of Street Fighter 3rd Strike and even borrows the signature super spark for his Shippu Jinrai super art.

▼ Ken’s Shinppu Jinrai Super Art!

Everyone not only looks and plays uniquely but Street Fighter 6 takes a culmination of several cool elements from past fighting games to make matches even more of a spectacle. I especially like the introduction of slow-mo, like when executing a perfect parry or when clashing with someone’s Drive Impact, which is something Tekken 7 introduced to great effect and looks amazing here.

▼ The Slow-mo during Drive-Impact clashes

You can even customize your character in the lobby with cosmetics, and purchase items from playing matches and earning Drive Tickets and currency. You can pick up Drive tickets from completing matches, playing the game daily, and even doing certain challenges like using a certain character or performing certain actions. I like this approach to the game as now it has something casual players can also work towards, pushing it closer to other games with unlocks rather than a grindhouse to try to compete for bragging rights.

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Overall Street Fighter 6 looks really good. I played it on a GTX 1070ti and ran the game at a smooth 60fps throughout my experience on high, though I expect its performance on PS5 to be somewhere in that ballpark too.

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The Most Feature-Complete Fighting Game, Even Without all of the Features

Fighting games have always been defined by their roster and gameplay mechanics without much room for evolution or change in the other departments, leaving most of them kind of lacking for players that want a more diverse experience. Street Fighter 6 is looking to change that with a couple of new, and long-awaited features that the genre could have used a decade ago.

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If there’s one thing you normally see at fighting game events or from playing it yourself, you’ll know that rematching an opponent often takes time. Whether it’s Tekken 7’s infamous “Get ready for the next battle”, or a return to the match intro. Street Fighter 6 almost eliminates all of that, with the game letting you select rematch the instant the game ends, and when your opponent agrees, the next game starts almost instantly, leaving no downtime between rounds. This takes a bit of time in online matches, but in offline the transition is literally instant, letting you instantly keep the match going with no downtime.

▼ Blink and you’ll miss it, the rematch took a single second after the opponent accepted!

Training isn’t something many find fun, but it’s necessary for growth just like practicing your aim as a shooter. Most training modes in fighting games have a lot of features but require some kind of knowledge from beginner players to know how to access and use them effectively. This game however adds a bunch of options in training mode to instantly let you practice your punishes, blocking, throw breaks, and other basic concepts to help you familiarise and warm up certain techniques before a match, without even needing you to set it up yourself.

▼ Throw Escape Training that I was able to set up in literally 2 seconds!

Daily Retro Games and Extreme Battles also let you mess around with retro titles and new ways to modify the game! Some of the game modes I got to try out is one where you fight to max out a gauge or see who reaches maximum points first, and the stages also came with certain hazards that let you mix up different tactics and play around with new mechanics, offering loads of fun new ways to mix up the classic gameplay formula!

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Get Ready for the Next Battle!

Even without the offline features and just what was available from the beta, Street Fighter 6 is looking to be a great time. With the beta’s limited roster offering so much variety in terms of matches and the simple joy of beating on your opponent.

It’s still too early to say how the rest of Street Fighter 6 will fare once the game comes out with its cosmetics and offline features, but at the moment the core fighting game experience, has plenty to offer for fans of the genre and those looking to sink their teeth in, and a rich plethora of gameplay features and tweaks that the genre sorely needed, makes this one of the freshest fighting game experiences in a long time.

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