Okay, I’ve probably said a number of times that I would be covering Street Fighter V a little less in the future. The game managed to be rescued from its initial rushed and unfinished form to grow into a decent beat ‘em up once the lobbies, cinematic story, trials and store became available, and the character roster today has lots of variety. I would have been eager to get hold of season three’s content as well, but considering how busy 2018 will be in terms of game releases, I can’t guarantee that I’ll have the time to cover the next season. However, this week saw the release of the free upgrade, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, and it would be remiss to ignore the new content available, especially when – together with so much of the previous DLC – it fleshes the game out way beyond the skeletal and broken form we witnessed during those disappointing beginnings.
Street Fighter V Arcade Edition – it’s in the name
As we mentioned in our original news piece, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition features new V-Triggers, a “gallery mode” that allows you to see various artwork and other extras, the return of Team Battle mode, the mysterious “Extra Battle” mode and – of course – Arcade mode. Those V-Triggers range from new counter-attack moves for Ryu and Karin, a Shinryuken for Ken, and an example of R.Mika taking lessons from Persona 4 Arena’s Kanji – R.Mika’s new V-Trigger sees her call in Nadeshiko and lets her attack the opponent with a chair. It’s a smart way to encourage players to leave their favourites behind for a while and explore the cast again – I feel like my “main” character jumped from Necalli to Rashid to Juri to Menat and back to Rashid, so I welcome the opportunity to revisit old favourites in Street Fighter V Arcade Edition.
As you’d hope, Arcade Mode is one of the most welcome additions to Street Fighter V Arcade Edition – more than just a sequence of eight battles against randomly-selected opponents, it actually consists of six themed gauntlets where characters are limited to the series that made them famous. Pick the “Street Fighter III” challenge, for instance, and you’ll have to use Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Akuma, Alex, Ibuki or Urien. Er, or Kolin. Or Laura. (I guess they had to make some characters fit somehow, and it kind of works if you consider Laura’s relation to Sean and Kolin’s connection to Gill.) In addition to the fights themselves, another neat feature is the ability to select your next opponent, 3rd Strike style, from a choice of two. Each choice has a different score bonus for completion, and it encourages risk taking. And there’s even a bonus piece of art and narrative if you complete one of the gauntlets.
Street Fighter V Arcade Edition – an extra bonus
Moving on to Extra Battle, it’s one of the more intriguing additions to Street Fighter V Arcade Edition. It was originally described as a way to buy in to special challenges that reward you with a chance to gain exclusive costumes – the catch is that each attempt at a challenge costs Fight Money, and you can only attempt a challenge a certain number of times. At first that seems a little greedy, but when you consider what you can earn from the daily challenges introduced in September ‘16, it’s something to keep in mind. Finally, Team Battle mode is exactly what you think it is; fighters from each team go against each other and the first player to eliminate an entire team wins. It’s great for people who want to host team tournaments, but sadly this mode can’t be enjoyed with online friends.
However, we’re not done exploring Arcade Mode just yet – this mode also holds a welcome returning distraction in the form of bonus stages. Partway through the SFII themed arcade mode gauntlet I had to do the Barrel Buster bonus stage – barrels come down from two slopes at the side and fall down the middle; some break normally, others explode, and Two-P from Final Fight is in the arena trying to send the barrels your way. It’s a nice callback to the original Barrel Buster and was a fun surprise that I didn’t expect to see.
Despite my original issues with Street Fighter V, I have to commend the work that has been put into all of the free updates – if anyone grew tired of the game before, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition gives you plenty of reasons to come back. The arcade mode challenges are great for killing time without the misery of being decimated by online warriors, the gallery has a bunch of fun unlockable, Extra Battle is yet another way to earn in-game content and I’m sure there are local players who will love Team Battle mode. Just like the March update felt like a big improvement thanks to challenges and online lounges, this is another expansion that makes today’s SFV so much better than what we had at launch. As ever, let us know what you think of Street Fighter V Arcade Edition in the comments below.