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Street Dreams: Hopes and dreams for ‘Street Fighter V’

Street Dreams: Hopes and dreams for ‘Street Fighter V’

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Sports. Poker. Paintballing. BBQs. These are just a few of the many ways that man has looked within to seek out an emotional connection with his fellow man. But nothing has done as much for male bonding as Capcom’s Street Fighter series.

Through a somewhat serendipitous loop of art imitating life imitating art, Capcom’s seminal fighter has been uniting men from a kaleidoscope of races and backgrounds to meet up and duke it out in various locations around the world for over two decades. Countless sequels and spinoffs into puzzles, manga, and two underwhelming movies had all arguably played a part in the oversaturation and eventual fatigue the series went through. A sobering experience that was far away from the influence the game enjoyed at the heights of its popularity.

The demise of the arcade prematurely triggered visions of the death of communal gaming, an essential component that makes Street Fighter what it is. However, those visions missed two things that have clearly allowed the pulse of the genre to remain true–the passion of the hardcore faithful and the Internet.

When arcades began disappearing from the high street, home consoles and the couch made a successful coup for the throne. But despite their cavalier reign, they could not recreate the edge and mastery of the arcade experience. The Internet changed this, bridging the gap between the two to give fighters a new arena to battle in.

The rise of Pro tournament prize fights and e-sports took advantage of this new technology, which ultimately inspired Capcom to produce Street Fighter IV, which would rekindle a passion for the genre’s most prestigious series.

At this year’s E3, Capcom continued to stoke our carnal desires for combos and kudos with an extended look at its latest title Street Fighter V. Announced at the end of 2014, the PS4/PC exclusive has a brand new fight system to go with its new look. Moving away from the popping candy colour look of the previous iteration, the new visuals have a grittier, textured look. The backdrops have been marinated with a David Fincher darkness, but Capcom has only really shown two stages so far and it remains to be seen if this shadowy feel remains throughout.

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The early trailers saw Ryu and Chun Li fighting in what looks like downtown Hong Kong. The E3 demos had the fights taking place in a comically stereotypical re-imagining of London, complete with foggy streets, palace guards and bizarrely, a steam train. The stages also have interactive elements where fighters can be pummeled into other areas. A design element made popular by the fighting series DOA (Dead or Alive) and more recently in the new Mortal Kombat entries.

The character sprites look bulkier with particular attention paid to detail and definition. They do however retain the ink cel-shading animation that was a signature look of Street Fighter IV‘s graphical style. The characters also look a lot more dynamic with kinetic animations giving the gameplay an intensely dramatic feel. Of course, what really makes Street Fighter so popular is its fight system, and Street Fighter V has three new techniques that players will have to input into their muscle memory.

The V-System, the ‘V’ stands for Variable, comprises three separate parts, V-Skill, V-Trigger and V-Reversal. Along with the EX gauge, another carryover from Street Fighter IV, the V gauge will begin to charge whenever your character takes damage. When it is full, you will be able to use one of the V perks.

Pressing medium punch and medium kick together activates the V-Skill, which briefly enhances your character’s defence or attack. Each V-Skill is different for each of the characters. Ryu has a parry similar to the one used in Street Fighter III, while M. Bison can absorb projectiles before throwing them back twice as fast. The V-Skill is also a useful way of filling up the V-Gauge during the fight.

The V-Trigger essentially gives your character an additional special move by pressing the heavy punch and kick buttons together. Requiring a full V gauge, the trigger has the ability to radically shift the balance of a match in an instant.

V-Reversal has its roots in the Alpha counters from the Street Fighter Alpha series. Highly useful for getting out of a tight corner when under immense pressure. The main event of the game is the new Critical Arts attack, which is similar to the super moves in Street Fighter IV. Filling up the EX gauge opens up the CA attack. Once triggered you can deal major, match winning damage in glorious high-definition fidelity.

Everything is shaping up for Street Fighter V to carry on the legacy started by the phenomenon that was Street Fighter II. And with more characters and stages still to come, I can’t wait to get into a fight in 2016.

[wpchatai]