As mentioned earlier today, the Street Fighter 6 official demo has dropped for PS4 and PS5 owners (Xbox and PC players will have to wait 5 more days for their access)… And to be honest, it’s a freaking joke of a demo that is worse than previous closed and open beta, not to mention trade show demos that I played last year, and the one Keith played at the recent PAX East 2023. So here we go with my Street Fighter 6 demo impressions because it needs to be said.
In this Street Fighter 6 demo, you get two choices of modes to play with: The “Fighting Grounds” mode where the arcade, versus, training, online, and other modes are. The main meat of the Street Fighter 6 experience. You also have access to World Tour mode, the touted single-player RPG experience that CAPCOM wants to build the game around. There is an option for The Battle Hub, the online world of Street Fighter 6, but that’s not available at this time and was replaced with a hype video for the section. Interestingly, it was available in the previous Street Fighter 6 beta.
So with limited options available, I jumped into the World Tour mode, the sampling of the RPG game mode that is new to the Street Fighter franchise.
You start things off with the very impressive Avatar Creation mode where you could spend hours making your own character or making replicas of characters from other franchises. Street Fighter 6 has enough sliders for everything that it would rival some of the best character creation modes in gaming, like the WWE 2K series and other games. While there aren’t a ton of options at the moment, the demo gives you more than enough options to make someone truly unique in such a manner that I don’t think you’ll be seeing too many of the same person running around The Battle Hub (Once you’re allowed to do that).
From here, you are introduced to the main character of Street Fighter 6: Luke. You begin as a newbie to Luke’s gym, doing some basic tutorials in movement and combat before you are attacked by your rival for the mode: Bosch. After you fight Bosch, Luke send you out into the setting for the World Tour mode’s opening: Metro City, the same one used in Final Fight (Complete with a story about Mayor Mike Haggar bringing peace to the city, with fighting becoming more of a social way of life than a need for survival). So you spend some more time with some basic tutorial missions, leveling up to level 5 through a small grind before ending the mode with a two-on-one fight with Luke that you will lose. You do get told to go find Chun-Li to learn her style, but the demo ends before you head out to find her.
It’s here that I find some issues with the Street Fighter 6 demo. The biggest one is that it forces you to use the new Dynamic Control style which gives you a simple but annoying control style. Here you have Light, Medium, Heavy, Special, Throw, and Auto buttons; when used you do most moves automatically and hold the “Auto” button to do pre-made combos. This might be great for new players to Street Fighter 6, but for people like myself who have been playing the franchise for over 30 years, we just want the classic 6-button style… We are told we get it at the end of the demo, but never actually unlock it because the demo ends after you are told you have the classic controls unlocked.
Other things in this demo that are annoying are the clothing options. Making your character your own is a big part of the World Tour experience, but you only get to buy a stupid hat as a part of a mission with nothing else unlocked at all through this method. Another is the fact that even with Ryu available in the demo (More on that soon), you are stuck with Luke’s fighting style through the whole demo… And Luke sucks! Luke plays a lot like Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury, but even the version you have is so limited that you get a Shoruken uppercut and a Burning Knuckle as special moves, you don’t even have a Super Art move at all. The game says you have all of Luke’s move-set unlocked at the end, but again, the demo ends before you get to use it. Some of this might be tied into the fact that your level tops out at level 5, even though there are only 2 level 5 and one level 9 NPC to fight.
With the World Tour mode done in about 10-15 minutes, it’s time to jump into the Fighting Grounds and play some arcade mode… Nope, not available. How about some online mode? Nope, not available. So there goes a chance to see this rollback netcode in action… There’s a training mode… Nope, it’s just a tutorial. Ok, so we have Extreme Battle and Versus to choose from.
I decided to go into Versus mode and do a few one vs one fights, after all, I played a very early Alpha version in October last year (The same weekend the first open beta happened) and had a lot of fun. We even get some taste of the commentary system, though not the one I’m interested in, it’s something. We even have access to the classic control style here which is good. However, my jaw dropped when I saw the character selection: Luke and Ryu… ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! I know that a demo is a taste of what the full game is meant to be, but only 2 fighters is an insult to people wanting to see how Street Fighter 6 plays. We want to see some of the new characters, not two guys who play exactly the same as they did in Street Fighter 5.
But before you even get to play Street Fighter 6 version 2.0, you have to play through the tutorial anyway (There is an option to skip it from the start, but it’s the smallest text at the bottom of the selection screen), which takes about 7 minutes to complete and is so bare bones basic that you’d have to be a monkey with no hands to not understand how to do these controls by now. The actual fight is not too bad, the default settings don’t really give you a challenge unless you want to try some of the new control styles. This is a hard pass for Street Fighter veterans.
Walking away from the Street Fighter 6 demo had me really upset. This taste from CAPCOM was a joke. It was less than the sample serving of ice cream you’d get from the ice cream shop. Street Fighter 6 is going to be a solid game, but in typical CAPCOM style, it’s going to be a waste because of the way it’s going to be presented. Even the two beta versions that have been done previously had more content than what you get here. Given the amount of Showcase Matches we have been given on YouTube from CAPCOM you’d think we would get something along those lines to play here, but no, we get less than the betas and trade show demos.
Previously we’ve had access to the likes of Kimberly, Jamie, and other returning characters. Hell, the ALPHA DEMO I played in October 2022 had at least Kimberly, Jamie, Ryu, and Ken involved. Where was JP, Manon, or our hulking muscle Mommy Marisa? There are NO NEW CHARACTERS in this demo. Instead, we get Ryu “aka” the template of Street Fighter, and Luke, the final DLC character of Street Fighter V… People are excited to give these new characters a try, and there are some great selections for the returning characters too, with Cammy getting A LOT of attention online with her announcement… Do we get them? Nope!
Frankly, this wasn’t a taste of Street Fighter 6, it was Street Fighter 5.5. I know CAPCOM wants Luke to be the new headline character so they can be rid of Ryu, but this demo really shows how bad this transition is going to be. I know the Street Fighter V die-hards are going to love it, but honestly, this demo is truly horrible. After two really good betas that gave us a lot more, Street Fighter 6 demo just feels like CAPCOM wanted to put out a bunch of hype videos for Street Fighter 6 but were forced to give some gameplay, so they gave us the worst examples they could out of spite
… Oh! And fuck CAPCOM for putting Akuma behind a Season Pass paywall AGAIN! Street Fighter 6 Season Passes were $40-$50 Australian Dollars EACH, and there were 6 of the fucking things! Even at $30 United States Dollars, that is bullshit! CAPCOM is looking to fleece people again, just like they did with Street Fighter V. I hope people won’t go for it, but as an Akuma main, I know I’ll at least get this first rip-off pack…