Street Fighter V is a good game by all the normal reviews and tournament players. This statement leads to the question,”Why does it have an 82 critic score but a 3.7 user score on Metacritic?” What seems to be the answer are some very interesting design choices made by Capcom. As of print, Street Fighter V lacks the following content normally found in a Street Fighter game:
- Story Mode
- CPU Vs. Mode
- Standard Arcade Mode
- Training Mode
- No Unlockable Gallery
- Challenge Mode
- Spectator Mode
Now, there is nothing wrong with culling unneeded or unplayed game modes across sequels and Capcom knows more than any of us of how much actual play goes into these modes. The problem still lies with the fact that with all of this content cut, and with a very slim roster of characters at launch, Street Fighter V is still being sold at the full retail value of $59.99 American with a $99.99 special edition version (which, being honest here, does include a pretty sweet Ryu statue). Capcom has also put freemium elements into this franchise by having new DLC characters locked behind a paywall that is a $29.99 season pass, $5 per individual character or taking a page straight out of how MOBAs like League of Legends works, letting you unlock new characters by playing the game and spending an in-game currency.
Now, Metacritic has its own vast amount of issues with how the industry uses it, Obsidian losing Fallout: New Vegas bonuses comes to mind. In a case like this though, it is interesting because on one end we get to see what games journalism values as important as compared to the community. Do we value what the game itself gives? Do we judge it as it falls into the collective of its series? Does a small amount of great content equal a large amount of just good content? The major issues that players are having with Street Fighter V falls into these questions that really have no answers. The only thing that does matter though in a market system of buy and sell is what does the consumer want. Ideally, things like a game’s length or core mechanic should not matter as long as it is executed well, but failing to acknowledge that those things are important to gamers is just a complete failing of business.
So, getting out of the rhetorical questions we can now get to a troubling thing that Capcom is trying to pull off with Street Fighter V. Putting in optional unlocks like new costumes, stages or skins are perfectly fine in my opinion. I’m also one of the probably few critics that’s OK with publishers selling cosmetic DLC to monetize their games to the fullest. What Capcom is doing though is something that does not belong in a $60 game. If a company is going to charge full price then gamers deserve to get a full game, not an entry level into an entire pay to play economy. If they released Street Fighter V as a $30 game with the pay options that would have been acceptable because then the player gets to determine the further value of the game plus Capcom would have to keep content at a high quality in order to convince players that their game was worth putting more money into.
I’ll close this out with a question that kinda proves my point here. The normal response being given towards this is “the DLC is free, you just have to play to get the currency”. Now, what happens when they release your absolute favorite Street Fighter character and you have none of the currency or not even close to enough to purchase them? Or, even worse, what happens if they release an S class fighter into a DLC pack that is a must have in order to stay competitive in tournaments? Don’t you wish that they were part of the core game and not 5 bucks to be able to keep up?
So what’s your thoughts on Street Fighter V? Interesting new pay model or Capcom squeezing the community too hard? Let us know in the comments below