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I suck at fighters – but even a noob can have hours of fun with Street Fighter 6 | Games

OWhen I got my first job at a video game magazine, there were a few games in constant rotation in my dirty office and in after-the-pub meetings in the even dirtier apartments where my colleagues and I lived: Pro Evo, Bomberman and Street Fighter. . Unfortunately, I sucked them all. Street Fighter was particularly embarrassing for me, as a 16-year-old eager to prove myself, because I simply could never get my hands on the moves and controls of all the different characters. I was an eternal button-beater and was humiliated so regularly that it put me off playing fighting games for life.

That said, I’ve always admired Street Fighter and its players. It’s an incredibly energetic game full of sleek caricatures whose movement and arrogance are mesmerizing to watch, especially in the hands of skilled competitors. I’ve watched fighting game tournaments in awe and seen winners demolish their opponents with deft combinations of reaction speed, on-the-fly strategies, and seemingly supernatural powers of foresight. It’s the perfect esport: matches are easy to follow, over in minutes, and exciting to watch. The stylistic flourishes that Capcom is so good at – flamboyant animation, moving backgrounds, the outfits – only adds to the spectacle.

I understand that fighting games are like ultra-high-speed chess, in which every spinning kick, punch, and kill has an equal and opposite motion that can cancel it out or knock it down. I appreciate the skill and control they allow. Achieving even the simplest imitation of this mastery, however, has always remained beyond me. I’m about as far from being able to compete in Street Fighter as I am from being able to hold my own in real kung fu.

Capcom apparently recognized that there were a lot of people in my position, because Street Fighter 6, which will be released next week, has two features that appeal to aspiring but terrible fighting game players like me. The first is a streamlined “modern” control system that standardizes input for most characters’ special moves, making it easier to engage in the high-speed rock, paper, scissors of competitive combat without having to remember the combos of a given character; the second is an endearing and crazy single-player adventure mode.

A first for the series, this adventure mode lets you create your own fighter – and you can really go wild with this concept, creating a luminescent Gollum-like abomination Or small-headed giant – and drop them in an explorable city full of delicious nonsense. It’s both so serious and so ridiculous at the same time that I couldn’t help but love it when I played a few hours in a pre-release demo. Once you’re loose in the city, you can start fights with pedestrians by throwing hay directly at them, without provocation. You can buy silly hats and costumes. You can fight a refrigerator. You can use spin kicks to fly around the alleys. I found a camp-loving superhero standing on a rooftop.

The explorable city of Street Fighter 6
The explorable city of Street Fighter 6 Photo: Capcom

The idea is that you meet some of the actual Street Fighter characters – I found Chun-Li showing off her moves in a Chinatown market – and learn their fighting styles, allowing you to customize your own fighter with a combination unique from all their different movements. There are stylized skill trees that teach you the basics of Street Fighter as your abilities unlock. I could imagine that in the end I might have learned to play properly.

I feel like Street Fighter 6 is the first entry that explicitly caters to fighting game newbies, without compromising on what its fanbase wants. Experienced fighters still get the competitive game they desire, with its finely tuned roster and ranked online matches. The traditional single-player mode, where you battle a group of opponents in sequence while learning more about your chosen character, is still there. And by God, everything looks swanky, from the player entrances to the ribbons of spray paint color that unfurl when a big hit comes.

I’m also a fan of modern controls – it’s more like Smash Bros, and I even won a few matches once I got the hang of it. That doesn’t flatten the list: technical and simpler characters still feel very different from each other. One of them becomes more dangerous the more he drinks, so you should try to kick him every time you see him go for his flask. Another looks like a Spice Girl in a cropped Union Jack jacket. Blanka, my old red-haired Hulk enemy, is still here, and still cheap.

This series is a year older than me, and it takes a lot more effort to change in your late thirties. Kudos to the developers at Capcom for trying it out and embracing their inner lavish silliness while doing so.

what to play

Yakuza 0.
Yakuza 0. Photo: Sega

All those punches and laughs unexpectedly reminded me of Japan’s most hilarious and melodramatic game series: Yakuza, or as it is now called in the West, Like a Dragon. In these adventure brawlers, you roam recreations of Japanese cities, follow an involved story about gangster rivalries, and beat street thugs and submit with fists, chairs, and, uh, traffic cones in fights that alternate between brutal and burlesque. Combat isn’t as polished as it is in Street Fighter, but expect to be amused and bewildered by the side stories of boring vloggers, panty thieves, shark punches, and slot car racing. Yakuza 0 (pictured above) is the most welcoming entry to start with, and also the funniest of the lot.

Available on: PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One, PC
Approximate playing time: 20+ hours

What to read

  • More than one what to watch: there is one Playstation Showcase at 9pm UK time tonight, which is probably the closest we’ve come to an ostentatious Sony E3 press conference-style hypefest. You can watch it on YouTube or Twitch.

  • WB Games announced a new Mortal Kombat game for September, called Mortal Kombat 1, with a stomach-turning new trailer. (Do not click if you are in a public place or if you recently ate.)

  • Tom Bissel – who wrote Extra Lives, one of the first really good books about video games, and has since spent most of his career writing movies (and games) in Hollywood – writes for the Washington Post on watching his daughter play Zelda. It’s almost painfully good, and a beautiful depiction of the beauty and atrocity of watching children play video games.

  • Watch the newly announced Lego Pac-Man arcade cabinet. Look to her. These Lego video game links are getting more and more elaborate (and more expensive – this one costs £230).

What to click

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Block of questions

2016 Skylanders: Imaginators
Skylanders: Imaginators 2016. Photography: Activision

Drive Adam asked :

“Tears of the Kingdom reminded me once again of Nintendo’s heritage as a toy company and how that is evident in his approach to console and game design. If there was another toy company that needed to get into game development and/or console manufacturing, not just licensing its games, which one would you choose and why? »

Remember the Skylanders/Disney Infinity/Lego Dimensions era, where the toy/game crossover reigned supreme? It’s a shame for parents (if not their wallets) that this all died out, because Skylanders (pictured above) and their ilk were onto something when it comes to how kids play digitally and in real life: they love to play in both realms. I think Lego Dimensions‘Turbocharged mashup of different toy universes from Batman to Sonic the Hedgehog to Doctor Who and Adventure Time was brilliant, even if it delighted ’80s parents perhaps more than their offspring. The Lego Super Mario Collection is another great example of how digital and physical play can intersect.

Many toy companies probably view video games as enemies, but why should they? Wooden railroad brand Brio actually has a great app that recreates the creative play of the real-world toy, and any company that makes imaginary play figures — Playmobil, Schleich, even Mattel with Barbie — could benefit from it. lessons. As long as digital gaming experiences aren’t just ways to try and extract more money from kids through purchasable in-game items, there’s potential there.

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