The title is split into three distinct game sections, World Tour, Battle Hub, and Fighting Grounds.
World Tour houses a full 25-hour RPG that lets you create an avatar and travel the world learning about the meaning of strength. You get mixed up in a shady underworld conspiracy and take place in fighting tournaments that span the globe. It’s an exceptionally goofy plot that gives your character an excuse to meet and learn from the eclectic roster of Street Fighter characters.
Your avatar will adopt the move sets of each fighter you meet after becoming their student and can swap freely between them. Special moves are earned after leveling up a particular style in fights and can be assigned to open slots regardless of the base style as long as their inputs don’t overlap.
Combat in the story is still traditional 2D Street Fighter action, but it can throw multiple enemies in at a time or introduce hazards like falling debris or powered-up bosses that beg you to stack your avatar with as many advantages as possible. The few open-world hubs like Metro City and Nayshall will reward you for exploring with fun interactions or items, but the majority of other global locales are single-screen backdrops, which is a bit jarring.
Many of the classic game modes can be found in the Fighting Grounds. Here you can set up normal 1-on-1 matches, enter casual or ranked lobbies, or play the arcade single-player mode to learn about each fighter’s individual story. There are a host of tutorials and character-specific combo training modes to familiarize yourself with basic and high-level techniques.
The Battle Hub is a massive online lobby that feels like a collision of the other two modes. Here, you’ll take your avatar into a giant arcade arena to hang out with other players and challenge them to fights or minigames at arcade machines. Street Fighter 6 introduces a new modern control scheme that assigns all your special moves to a single button with directional inputs as well as provides auto-combos on the other three face buttons.
Regardless, it’s fantastic that the Modern scheme even exists as a viable path for a novice to learn to play. A lot of 2D fighters have resigned themselves to a hardcore audience. But Street Fighter 6 lowers the bar to entry and creates an easygoing environment to understand its mechanics all without alienating the core fans that just want to dive into its competitive meta. If you get one fighting game this year, make it Street Fighter 6.