I purchased the original Street Fighter V at launch for $60 without also getting its $20 season pass. What I had purchased was easily one of my personal worst games of the year. Vanilla Street Fighter V was one of the most barebones gaming experiences out on the market at the time. Capcom wanted to push V out in time to start their E-sports league, the Capcom Pro Tour with it instead of the older Ultra Street Fighter 4. What this resulted in was a disgusting, empty, and barely working mess. There wasn’t much to do in the game other than hit up training mode or go online, mostly because even single player modes required an online connection. Nothing was saved on the player’s side, and everything was put on a cloud that Capcom controlled. The main problem being that the servers would go down at random, and if you were on a +20 game survival mode streak, well that streak was now gone since the server was no longer recording it. The game’s online store also wasn’t working, so any poor soul who bought the season pass had essentially given Capcom a free $20 since the company made all the characters free while the store was still being worked out. Street Fighter V is the only game I have ever returned to the store after buying from a lack of quality control and stability from its company.
My qualms with the game have very little to do with its actual gameplay. Street Fighter V is a great fighter, and I love watching and playing it. Capcom knows how to make a good fighting game, but I hate the predatory practices they put in place to make sure people bought their DLC. The insipid cloud save system they put in place made the game impossible to enjoy from their own nearsightedness in keeping the game’s server stable. If you were competitively invested in Street Fighter V then the package you got at launch was all you needed, but that wasn’t so true for the casual audience that wasn’t going to be grinding out ranked matches, going to local meetups, and traveling tournaments. It was a barren and barely working product where the company was outwardly demanding more money from the player if they wanted the rest of the content (characters) teased at the start.
I wanted to air out all my skepticism from vanilla V before diving into this year’s Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, which feels like the game that the original should have been from the beginning. For starters, everything is working as intended now. You can access the store, and buy things with in-game currency, but the grind for some items is pretty steep. It’s obvious that you’re intended to purchase characters with cash as only the most die-hard grinders will be able to unlock them freely. That said, you get 28 characters from the get-go with Arcade Edition for $40 with an additional 6 more if you get the 2018 season pass. That’s $60 for a 34-character cast, which feels a lot better than $120 you would have paid for the same thing if you had been playing since launch, and this is the real difference: the price.
Most of Street Fighter V’s issues were fixed well before the Arcade Edition re-release, but the money now associated with getting into the game was incredibly steep. The store was fixed within a year of release, an event-like arcade mode was added, story mode was slightly fleshed out, and server stability was no longer problem. The new problem was dumping upwards of $100 to simply unlock all of the playable roster in a game through its copious amounts of season passes, and this is exactly what Arcade Edition fixes by bringing the game back to an affordable baseline for late adopters.
Since Arcade Edition is just a glorified patch and re-release, there aren’t too many changes to the gameplay outside of character balances. Character models still look goofy and like they’re made of clay, Hair and other loose tangent objects on characters clip into models, and the frame rate for stage backgrounds runs at the smooth 15 frames per-second. I do not find Street Fighter V to be an exceptionally pretty game, and all my visual nitpicks form vanilla continue to live on in Arcade Edition.
I would suggest investing in Street Fighter V if you happen to be a casual fighter fan who passed on the original 2 years ago. Many of the game’s launch issues have been fixed, and what remains is a fun and functional fighting game that has as much to offer to the competitive tournament goer as it does the casual party-player. Street Fighter V is one of the most solid fighting games of this console generation, and the new budget price-point for Arcade Edition makes it one of the most affordable games out there and with a huge community backing it.