The story has never really taken the forefront in the Street Fighter franchise and Street Fighter V is definitely not going to be bucking that trend – at least not yet. The game takes place between the events of Street Fighter III and the more recently released Street Fighter IV – giving Capcom more creative liberty to bring characters from their lesser revisited games into the fold. Shadaloo, the evil corporation behind most of the wrongdoings in the series, has created a Death Star-like weapon with the capacity to destroy cities. Bison, the archetypal villain, controls this weapon while other fighters around the world set out (or are revived) to destroy Shadaloo and further their own personal interests.It’s an incredibly bare bones story and one that doesn’t really need to be told, that’s for sure. Street Fighter V is definitely not a game to pick up if you’re looking for a narrative experience similar to those delivered by game like Mortal Kombat X. Every character has a few basic story pointers that serve to “bridge” from wherever they last appeared into the current events of Street Fighter V, but those wanting a more substantial story experience will have to wait until the proper story expansion later this year.
Street Fighter IV was bright and colourful with what can only be described as a spirited presentation. Street Fighter V is no different – at any given moment in the game whether it’s the characters or the exotic locales, there’s always a wide array of bold and flashy colors on screen. It’s an interesting analog to other darker and grittier fighters available on the market like Tekken and Mortal Kombat, but one that suits Street Fighter. The game, from an artistic perspective, is incredibly stylish both in motion and in stills. Running at a very fluid 60fps, the way everything moves and animates gives the game a vigor and vitality that easily separates it from its contemporaries.
Thankfully, the more “out there” proportions of the Street Fighter IV characters have been largely eschewed in favour of more realistic looks. Don’t get me wrong – Ryu is still as buff as ever and Chun-Li could easily still crush somebody with her legs – but the stylistic design of these characters aren’t as over the top as they previously were. There were times where facial expressions or these strangely proportioned characters could get frozen in place during key moments of gameplay in Street Fighter IV and look deformed. Street Fighter V has none of this – the game runs smoothly, looks beautiful, and still retains what could now be considered the ‘standard’ Street Fighter look.The score was similarly designed with this mantra in mind – retain the ‘DNA’ of Street Fighter while also refining it to be something new. Street Fighter has always been about travelling the world, playing as different fighters from exotic locales and instilling that sense of wanderlust into players. You’ll battle on the streets of Brazil during a festival while loud flamboyant carnival melodies provide the perfect backdrop to your fighting. You’ll battle in the mountains of New Zealand while a light and airy tune complements your every move. The way that sound and vision comes together in Street Fighter V to create an ‘international’ atmosphere is to be commended.