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Street Fighter V: Season Pass
Score: 65%
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Action/Fighting/Online

Introduction:

The Street Fighter V Season Pass has me feeling conflicted. On one hand, it fleshes out an attractive and fun but woefully barebones fighting game. Who can say no to more characters in any fighting game, particularly when theyíre this well-conceived and developed? On the other hand, I feel like recommending it is akin to rewarding bad behavior on Capcomís part. While the slew of updates weíve seen since the gameís troubled February launch have been touted as massive and game-changing, all of it is content that should have been included with the game at launch. But letís take a comprehensive look at the additions weíve seen thus far.

Free:

Iím going to break the rules and talk a bit about the free updates that, in fact, arenít part of the Street Fighter V Season Pass, because they impact the game on a fundamental level. When it launched in February, Street Fighter V was easily one of the most stripped-down fighting games ever released. It was missing several features most fighters include simply by design. Holding it up to something as feature-packed as Mortal Kombat X is beside the point. The core game lacked a proper suite of teaching tools and a traditional Story Mode. It appeared to be a game marketed exclusively towards the online tournament crowd, and had very little regard for those who went solo.

Thankfully, this has changed somewhat. While the five-act Story Mode (entitled "A Shadow Falls") is much more along the lines of what single-player Street Fighter fans were looking for, perhaps the most substantial free addition is Challenge Mode, which features a hearty helping of demonstrations and combo challenges, each specific to your fighter of choice. This is a huge deal, and a massive improvement over the core game.

The Battle Lounge now holds up to eight people, and brings back something that should have never been gone in the first place: spectating. My fondest memories of Street Fighter IV were of getting into a party with friends and just unleashing. All the trash talk and hyper combos. Good times. Thankfully, we can do that with Street Fighter V now.

Finally, Capcom has opened a shop, where you can spend all your hard-earned Fight Money. Think of it as the Krypt from the last two Mortal Kombat games, though not as robust, replete, or rewarding. But itís a welcome addition.


Paid:

If itís characters you want (and for the record, you should want characters), itís characters youíve got. The Street Fighter V Season Pass comes with six excellent additions to the core roster, along with alternate costumes. None of the characters are entirely new, but Capcomís pedigree shows with these competitors, as they each fit comfortably into the admittedly complex framework that drives Street Fighter Vís combat system.

Letís start with the all-American soldier boy with the greatest hair in all of video gaming: Guile. While itís true that his theme goes with everything, letís not forget that it goes best with Flash Kicks and Sonic Booms. From Street Fighter II on, Iíve always found the rhythm of his fighting style to be a marked difference from the rest of the gang. And that proves true in Street Fighter V. I have a feeling people are going to love or hate his incorporation here. Personally, I donít mind.

Next, we have everyoneís favorite boxer, Mike Bison Ė errÖ I mean Balrog. I hope I live to see the day when this series goes with its original Japanese translation and names. Come on, Capcom, Mike Tyson has mellowed out and seems to be a really cool dude these days; Iím sure heíd be an enthusiastic supporter of his tribute character. Capcom has successfully translated his distinctly ground-based beatdowns into the workings of the new game. And his crouching jab (spammed many a time by Street Fighter IV veterans) has been nerfed to hell and back. A good thing.

Street Fighterís resident kunoichi schoolgirl Ibuki is back to throw her ninjutsu skills into the mix with the rest of the motley crew. Iíve always been a fan of fighter characters who placed more of an emphasis on speed than brute force, so Ibuki always appealed to me. Her appearance in Street Fighter V is most welcome; I love frustrating my opponent by running around like a madman, taking to the air, peppering them with kunai, and occasionally getting in close for a throw or two.

Alex made his first appearance in Street Fighter III. Heís always been an up-close-and-personal combatant, and those who like to play as an all-around bruiser will find a lot to like here. Heís not the quickest fighter on the roster, but heís no slouch. But if you can get him in close, heís got a pretty brutal command list.

The last two fighters arenít completely integrated into the mix, but appear in Story Mode. First, weíve got Juri, the overtly villainous South Korean Taekwondo master who first appeared in Super Street Fighter IV. And finally, we have Urien, whose shady past and dabbling in forces beyond his ken have resulted in a stable of frightening supernatural abilities.

On top of the characters, the Street Fighter V Season Pass includes six stages: three of which are new, three of which are alternates.


Value:

In the case of every Season Pass or downloadable content package, it all comes down to value, what youíre getting for how much youíre paying. A few releases get it right, others get it incredibly wrong, and most of the others exist in the limbo in-between. The Street Fighter V Season Pass has staked its claim with the latter group, unfortunately. As much as I love the additional characters, they simply donít justify half of the core gameís purchase price.

Ultimately, my recommendation of the Street Fighter V Season Pass hinges on your status as an early adopter. If you purchased the game at launch, the price point makes it hard not to see the whole thing as anything but a straight up fleecing. Characters are the bread and butter of fighting games, and they can be a powerful draw. But when you step back and think about the history of this franchise, you know something more comprehensive and definitive is always down the road.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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