Fighting Games Friday: Street Fighter V’s Big, Meaty Update

Capcom has been steadily releasing new content for Street Fighter V since it launched in February 2016, which was necessary given how light it was on content upon release. Unfortunately, the company had little to no experience with the process, and struggled to get its servers in working order when it released and at several points afterward. It’s been difficult for most of the gaming audience to get over its pitiful launch, as shown with the title’s current sales. But most who enjoyed it (and are still enjoying it) also liked the six characters and multiple stages released after launch in the first season.

There’s been plenty of good content with the current second season, too, though it’s coming along in a slower fashion. It’s clear now that a good chunk of the first season’s content was finished shortly after the game originally launched, given how it was released in a nigh-monthly fashion. It’s taken two months or more for most of the second season’s content to release, but in fairness, the individual updates have been more substantial. But that especially applies to the most recent post-Evo 2017 update, which included a new character, three new stages, and nine new outfits — along with other small bonuses.

The biggest part of the update — in terms of the content and quite literally in the game — is new character Abigail. He’s similar to Hugo in how he previously debuted as member of the villainous Mad Gear gang from Final Fight, but is making his Street Fighter debut. And while he mimics Hugo in being larger than previous SF characters before he first appeared in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, Abigail is monstrously large. It’s to the point that when he was first shown in the trailer from Evo, a vocal subset of players wondered if some characters could even jump over him, or if he could duck under attacks other characters have no issue crouching under.

The answer is “yes” to both of those questions, by the way, though some attacks that whiff through him while crouching damn sure look like they should connect.

There was an astounding amount of dislike for the character when he was revealed, which you can see through the number of “thumbs down” on the above trailer. Some of that came from the crowd that would rather have familiar characters who still haven’t returned, like Sagat and Sakura, but others just think his design is ugly. The character model designers for SFV (and Street Fighter IV before it) have a habit of overexaggerating the features for characters here, which explains why Abigail is far larger and more cartoony compared to his Final Fight design. In fairness, many of them have warmed up to him now that he’s been released, as they’re seeing how immensely powerful he seems from the outset. There are also common strategies that work on other characters but don’t work on him, thanks to his immense size.

It will take some time to determine whether he’s actually good, or if he has flaws many players simply haven’t discovered yet. We’ll find this out though online tests or tournaments over the next few months.

This update also came with three new stages. The first is the “Ring of Pride” tournament stage, which was used during the top 8 at Evo this year. It’s included with the Capcom Pro Tour package, meaning it will only be available for a limited time. There’s also the “Suzaku Castle” stage, Ryu’s stage from the Street Fighter II series, which also includes a new rendition of his theme. The third one is Abigail’s “New City Bay Area” stage, which comes with a Final Fight stage remix. If there’s one thing you can definitively say about this game, it’s that the stage design is good.

They also stuffed this update with outfits. Capcom finally released the nostalgia outfits for Alex and Ibuki after revealing them at Evo last year, and threw in one for Juri. There are also stylish Capcom Pro Tour outfits for Ryu, Ken, and Guile, though again, the CPT DLC is only available for a limited time. Finally, there are sports outfits for Rashid, Ibuki, and Laura, which look spiffy. Between the sports and recent school-themed outfits, it almost feels like some staff at Capcom desperately want to make a new Rival Schools game. There are codes that can be inserted for certain outfits to get a bonus accessory for each outfit, like a scarf for Guile’s or a bomber jacket for Alex.

This is a lot of DLC, and they want people to pay through the nose for it. Abigail will cost either 100,000 in in-game Fight Money, or $30 to get all six characters in season 2 with their premium outfits. The stages can be purchased for either 70,000 FM or $10 each. While the nostalgia and sports outfits are $4 each, the CPT outfits are $6 (!) a piece, though all the CPT content can be purchased through a $25 bundle. But keep in mind the outfits can’t be purchased with FM, so they clearly only want people to buy the outfits for their favorite characters. That is, unless they’re crazy enough to hope most players will purchase these.

With all this content, it could be a while until more arrives, like the remaining two new characters in this season. But hopefully they stick to their current schedule of having something ready on a bi-monthly schedule.

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