Genre: 2d Fighter
Where Gen X'ers Ryu and Ken respectively look like a disheveled old man who has seen everything and a homeless drug addict who just meandered out of a San Francisco tent city, this series entry focuses on plucky Millennial newcomer Luke. Twenty percent more soy but with the familiar "Shotokan" style in tow, Luke and Street Fighter 6 try to pull in newer, younger players while simultaneously not offending the sensibilities of the old guard. The "Street Fighter EX" polygon path is once again walked, and the RE Engine-powered fighters look phenomenal with their rippling muscles, pore-filled skin, and realistic clothing. The backgrounds have finally progressed out of the Xbox 360 era. The truly non-sequitur, quasi-open world story mode is graphically no Insomniac "Spider-Man", but the basic geometry and lighting has its own anachronistic appeal.
This reviewer has been studying music theory, and how different parts of songs weave in and out, sometimes changing key, overlapping in expectation-subverting ways. Then on the other end you have the Street Fighter 6 music, which gives the word "generic" a bad name. The compositions sound like they were written by amateurs who have no clue how to even compose music. They aren't even cliche and predictable: they're just weird.
The "lo-fi" light rap motifs in the menu music combined with the black announcer voice lend parts of the game a "Street Fighter III" vibe-- plus they give the game added ESG points. As since the dawn of time, the characters shout their moves, while the various punch and kick sound effects are all good enough.
The myriad generations of Capcom developer stewards who have "owned" the "Street Fighter" series over the decades have frequently freshened things up, from II to Alpha, then from Alpha to III, then III to IV, and so on. In V the decision was made to flip to more of a "Tekken"-esque, close-range grappling style of play. Persisting in 6-- Gen Z is too cool for Roman Numerals, don't you know-- then, the whole game is centered around doing fifty million hit point-blank range combos to opponents hopelessly trapped in the corner. The superb new EX gauge-managed "Drive" concepts give some outlet for counterattack, and there are a couple of trend-bucking range managers such as Dhalsim and the hilarious
and mechanically engaging new character, JP.
Street Fighter 6 is both a bad and good game at the same time. On one hand it opens with a one-time intro sequence featuring a flaming gay black man in garter straps wearing "trans" colors, and also has an obligatory monstrous "trannie" character to boot-- but then the irresistible fighting mechanics begin; on one hand, the writing in the story mode is junior high "fan fic" territory-- but then the player gets to build and upgrade a totally custom avatar, "One Must Fall: 2097" style; on one hand, the game lacks the aesthetic sensibilities to provide an engaging arcade mode, or much else in the way of long-term single player content-- but then the player sits down at a cabinet in a virtual arcade, and gets hooked on fighting other humans. This new Street Fighter then has a split personality: it tries to appeal to all worlds and generations at once-- and perhaps accidentally pulls it off.