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Street Fighter V: V for Vendetta
Company: Capcom

Itís nice to see that all the major genres are finally starting to fill out for current gen libraries. While some of them have yet to really come into their own, this canít really be said about the fighting genre. Killer Instinct shocked Xbox One owners with its surprising level of flexibility and depth, and Mortal Kombat X made a fairly hard impact as well. Toss in a version of Dead or Alive 5, and whatís usually a scant selection is already looking pretty good. Well, if you have a PlayStation 4 or a gaming PC, itís about to look even better. Capcom is returning to the fray with Street Fighter V. Having spent some time in the multiplayer beta, Iíve come away with some impressions.

Letís talk characters first. The final retail release of Street Fighter V will contain sixteen playable characters, including four new ones. This beta features six: Ryu, Birdie, Nash, Chun-Li, M. Bison, and Cammy. Okay, so none of the beta characters are new to the series, but I can guarantee you that thereís plenty new about them. Additionally, your performance with each character is tracked via a persistent leveling system; exactly what bearing the system has on the gameplay is something of a mystery to me, but Iím excited to find out. Pair that up with an economy system that seems straight out of Mortal Kombat, and we have whatís sure to be an addictive online fighting experience.

Certain mechanics have been either tweaked or phased out altogether. Street Fighter IVís Focus Attack is gone; no longer can you make the tactical decision to wind up damage-absorbent strikes that cause your opponent to crumple to the ground. Rounds can end with fancy (and often hilarious) environmental finishing animations. Furthermore, Super Combos have been removed to make way for a decidedly more interesting and character-specific system.

Enter the V-Gauge. As you land and take hits, it fills up. It fuels three specific abilities: V-Skills, V-Reversals, and V-Triggers. V-Skills are character-based special moves, but they all vary in offensive and defensive capabilities. For example, Bisonís involves reflecting projectile attacks, while Ryu hearkens back to Street Fighter III with his parrying ability. V-Reversals are the Street Fighter V equivalent of Combo Breakers; while youíre being attacked, you can launch a counter strike. If you fill the entire V-Gauge and decide to use it in one swoop, you can activate a V-Trigger, which is a variable power that can turn the tide of any battle.

Even considering the intrinsically incomplete nature of any beta, my experience with Street Fighter V feels a bit slight. Character command lists are locked, and each attempt at training up would be interrupted by an eager veteran challenger ready to thrash you to pieces. But then again, Street Fighter V is nowhere near its release date, at least not as of this writing. After all, betas are really more for the benefit of the developer than the player. So itís safe to say that what I experienced (disastrous connectivity and availability issues) wonít be indicative of the final product. As far as the game itself goes, the new systems are interesting, the persistent infrastructure looks addictive, and the production values are fantastic. With several more months of balancing and polishing, itís easy to be excited for this one.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos
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