Street Fighter 6 is the “Beginner’s First Fighting Game” I’ve been looking for.
I’ve been harping on for years that fighting games shouldn’t be getting easier, they should do a better job teaching you how to play them. We’ve seen some improvements in tutorials over time, such as Skullgirls, Xrd Sign & Revelator, Under Night In-Birth, and Them’s Fightin’ Herds, but all our most of the above have been brief system tutorials for the most part with very little on fighting game fundamentals.
Street Fighter 6 feels like they read my article on Retention and took it as a challenge. It’s doing what Them’s Fightin’ Herds did, and making a single player campaign with an overworld between fights, and bespoke enemies that teach you fundamentals through their move sets.
But more than that, SF6 looks like it’s trying to be the complete package in a way we’ve never seen before. It has mini games teaching motion inputs & charge inputs. It has the most detailed frame data display we’ve ever seen. It has what looks like modern AI CPU players. It has the full suite of interactive tutorials you’d expect. It has wacky alternate game modes that stress fundamentals.
And SF6 isn’t presenting a more watered down core game than the previous one, for a change. Street Fighter 6 has no comeback system. It has chip damage kills. It has crossups. It not only doesn’t have wall breaks, it has unblockables in the corner! And it has a new set of system mechanics that interact and stack with a lot of other mechanics with drive rush and burnout.
From my time with it, I like the feeling of the game a lot better than SFV. I still wish the walk speeds were faster, pushback was a little higher, and probably some other things, but it’s closer to 3rd strike’s frame data, pushback, and hitboxes than they’ve been in a long time, so mild win. It probably won’t become one of my favorite competitive games, but I’m glad that I can finally have something to suggest to beginners unqualified and I hope this seriously raises the bar for the genre’s single player offerings. If nothing else, I hope we see more RPG style overworlds for Fighting Games, and DEFINITELY more basic tutorial minigames.