Why Street Fighter 5 never felt as fun as it could get

With the launch of Street Fighter 6 just months away now, Street Fighter 5 is seeing its final days under the mainstream spotlight. It was a polarizing game that made many gamers angry for leaving the franchise (at least temporarily) but also got a lot going for it. It’s maintained a relatively strong active player base, sold a respectable 7 million copies, and is probably the best-balanced Street Fighter game to date.

It’s safe to say that the game must be doing something right if it’s been able to produce such interesting moments and stories over its years, but if I’m being honest I’d have to say that for all its wins and the fact that it’s got such a relatively good balance, it just doesn’t It’s still not as fun as it could have been thanks to a particular thorn in its side.

If I were to try to categorize said fork, I’d say it’s a risk-versus-reward imbalance that puts the game on the cusp of what fans have come to expect from a Street Fighter entry.

The balance of risk versus reward is a thread that runs through most levels of every competition. Too little risk and reward loses its meaning, and thus we get bored. Too much risk and reward seems out of reach or impossibly difficult, and we either become hopeless or frustrated. However, a well-optimized risk-reward approach produces an interesting sense of potential satisfaction.

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You might think of it like a guitar string that needs the right amount of tension on both sides to produce a satisfactory sound when plucked or strummed. I’ll add here that I’m not talking about the reward in terms of prize pool for winning a tournament or getting peer recognition, but rather the feeling of victory that exists within the game (so, winning a round, winning the reaction, scoring a hit, etc).

Another key piece of this puzzle is fan expectation. Street Fighter has been around for over 35 years, and a certain formula for what Street Fighter is came naturally. Capcom evolves this every time it brings out a new franchise entry, but it goes awry too quickly and fans won’t recognize your game as “Street Fighter” anymore.

On the same note, those who remember the Street Fighter 4 era will remember the amount of backlash Capcom got for that game’s option of fuel-selected vortices, basically making it so that once certain characters knock you down, you likely don’t get another chance to knock them down because They will be able to stay on you and bring you down again and again until your life bar is empty.

Where did Street Fighter 5 go wrong when it comes to risk and reward, exactly? I think it has to do with a combination of the way the feet flow, thanks in large part to the V-Trigger effect. Some of the issues were addressed directly, but some remain to this day. Check out the full video below and like, subscribe and comment on our site YouTube channel If you enjoy what you are watching.

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00:00 – Introduction
01:21 – the critical importance of risk versus reward
02:14 – fan expectations
04:08 – Street Fighter 5 feet at launch
06:04 – The effect of V-Triggers on overall risk versus reward
07:51 – The effect of V-Triggers on the feet
09:39 – finale

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