The Best Part of the Street Fighter 6 Demo Is Starting Fights in the Street

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The Best Part of the Street Fighter 6 Demo Is Starting Fights in the Street

We’re a little late to the Street Fighter 6 demo that came out last month, not because we aren’t interested in the latest version of the fighting game champ, but because we couldn’t get our fight stick to work on a PlayStation 5 until we ordered a special part for it. (Apparently keeping up even the cheapest fight stick is like the gaming equivalent of those “European auto repair” specialists your dad’s sleazy boss took his sports cars to.) Once that little USB dongle arrived and everything got squared away we dived right into the demo, and quickly realized something important: the best part of Street Fighter 6 is just throwing down right then and there with anybody else milling about Fake Times Square.

Street Fighter 6 is broken up into three major modes. Battle Hub is a virtual lobby where you can challenge real players to online fights, and was the focus of last year’s beta test. Fighting Ground is the catch-all space for tutorials, local multiplayer, story missions featuring the game’s cast of fighters, and more; the basic tutorial is available in the demo, but the rest of Fighting Ground is blocked off. The final section, World Tour, makes up the bulk of the demo, and is basically like a Street Fighter RPG; consider it the Yakuzafication of the OG fighting game. Based on the short glimpse in the demo, World Tour is a deliciously corny open world game where literally everybody is a street fighter. It’s gotten me even more excited for this game than I already was.

World Tour drops you in Metro City, the Capcom fighting world’s version of New York, and lets you challenge anybody to a fight. Yeah, there’s a story about your character training with Luke, the scarred-up MMA bro with cool dude hair who debuted in Street Fighter 5’s DLC, but that’s just a pretense to get you where you belong, out on the streets, where the fights are. After creating your character (the options are bountiful) and going through a quick tutorial, you’re shuffled off to whatever Metro City calls its version of Times Square. Pretty much everybody here is itching for a faceoff; just walk up, hit a button, and after a friendly fist tap you’re pulverizing each other just like your World Warrior faves. 

Street Fighter 6

Like Zangief doing his flying spinning piledriver, this flips a central part of Street Fighter on its head. In the past it felt like this world was divided between the Street Fighters and everybody else; the dozens of playable fighters over its 36 year (and counting) history were like a breed apart from the normal people who were content to watch on in dingy backstreets or aircraft carrier flight decks while cycling through their three or four frames of animation. The actual warriors weren’t just pro fighters, but quasi-mystical superheroes who did what everyday citizens could never hope to. Well, that’s all bullshit, now.

Based on the demo, Street Fighter 6’s World Tour reveals that everybody in this world is a fighter. Businessmen on their lunch breaks, class-cutting teens with backpacks, otaku wearing Capcom jackets: they’re all searching for strength just as much as Ryu or Ken, and are always ready to take on anybody who can help them get closer to that goal. I’m not a violent person but in Street Fighter 6 it feels really good to walk up to some rando drinking coffee outside a cafe, or the dude at the food truck, and proceed to beat them down in a polite, friendly, and respectful fashion. It also provides new context to this world defined by an endless series of martial arts contests between battle monks, deadbeat dads, rich dilettantes, international cops, massive terrorist organizations, the US military, and so many schoolgirls; fists and the strength channeled through them drive every transaction and interaction in the universe of Street Fighter, and the battles that were previously our only window upon this world were simply the best of the best, the smallest, most elite tip of an iceberg of fisticuffs. 

Street Fighter’s devotion to street fighting is beautiful, elegant, pristine. And Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode finally lets us fully participate in this joyously rough-and-tumble society. I can’t wait to let my fists do the talking all around Metro City—and, hopefully, the world, as well—when Street Fighter 6 comes out in June.

Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.

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