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5 Ways Street Fighter V Beats The Crap Out Of The Competition

It’s time to rise up! Eight long years after Street Fighter IV first hit arcades, the next true instalment in the series has shoryuken’d its way to PlayStation 4 and Windows.

Mainstays Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and M. Bison are looking leaner and meaner than ever, along with familiar names the franchise picked up along the way, like Street Fighter Alpha 3’s R. Mika and Karin Kanzuki. Four fresh faces have also been added to the mix, and they are: F.A.N.G., Laura Matsuda, Necalli, and Rashid. Each of these new brawlers helps add a renewed layer of style and personality to an already proficient roster. For example, F.A.N.G. is a flamboyant fighter who incorporates poison into his slick attacks, while Necalli’s a volatile successor to Street Fighter II’s Blanka.

Yet what matters most is Street Fighter V looks gorgeous and plays even better. In case you need further convincing, here are five more reasons to join the fight.

1. Newcomers Welcome

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This isn’t to say Street Fighter V takes it easy—just that the game’s learning curve is gratifying at whatever skillset. For the hardcore, there’s a surprising amount of depth behind the fighting mechanics that complement past experience with the franchise. Those who haven’t endlessly played prior Street Fighters will find their road to victory to be equal parts challenging, fair, and rewarding. The most noticeable thing right off the bat is how much more generous the game is when it comes to pulling off specially-timed moves and combos.

2. All the Right Moves

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There’s little doubt Street Fighter IV was a step in the right direction for the series, but SFV does away with some of that game’s more disposable baggage, namely Focus Attacks. In its place are V-Skills, which are far less limiting in terms of pulling off devastating combos and counter-attacks. By simply pressing both medium attack buttons at once, you’ll perform a special move that’s totally unique to each fighter. Some moves are more offensive, like M. Bison’s ability to hurl fireballs from the sky, while others are more strategic, like Ryu’s ability to parry—and then fiercely strike back.

3. Trigger Happy

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Special moves aren’t limited to medium V-Skill attacks—there’s also V-Trigger, which fills up as you take hits. By pressing the two strong attack buttons in unison, for a limited time you’ll be powered up with a noticeably different fighting style and abilities. If all these upgrades sounds easy to pull off, that’s because they are, but getting the most out of them is where the challenge lies, and as you rank up you’ll need to get a better handle on when to use them, lest your ass become grass.

4. Online Fighting’s Where It’s At

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While SFV does away with the more traditional arcade mode, it contains a couple nifty categories for the solo experience. Story mode gives some very lengthy background info (via motion comics) on all the characters as they make their way through a handful of single-round fights, and Survival mode tests your might as you attempt to win a number of matches with one health bar and several optional power-ups. But the real reason to get your hadouken on is online, which has been running considerably smoothly since launch. After honing each character’s moves in Story, Survival, and Training modes, you’ll be spending the majority of your time in the conveniently mapped out Battle Lounge.

5. More Free Content on the Horizon

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Stacked up against today’s gargantuan open-world games, SFV could’ve used a bit more single player oomph to pad things out, a la Mortal Kombat X. Although it’s somewhat thin for the time being, there are major free (!!!) updates on the way. Next month will see the arrival of Challenge mode, which, based on screenshots taken from the game’s menus, will provide plenty of inspiration for players to keep scrappin’. Some of these challenges include performing specific combos, counters, knock downs, and more. Later down the road—June, to be exact—a more robust expansion to Story mode will offer a more fleshed out campaign, complete with a richer narrative and new cut-scenes. Lastly, be on the lookout for downloadable characters you’ve come to know and love, like Street Fighter III’s Alex and Ibuki, Street Fighter IV’s Juri, and Street Fighter II’s Balrog and Guile.

Street Fighter V is out not on PlayStation 4 and Window. Check out the Game Modes trailer below. And for a trip down memory lane, read our piece on Street Fighter‘s now-and-then character art.

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