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We are now two weeks past the release date of the latest and final version of Street Fighter V, Champion Edition. Four years ago was the beginning of Street Fighter V, and it did not start off with its best foot forward — far from it, in fact. Street Fighter V had one of the most disastrous launches in modern video gaming. But through a robust esports league and constant updates and patches from developer Capcom, Street Fighter V is finally at the point where it should have been when it launched. Champion Edition is the best Street Fighter V has ever been. Better late than never, as they say.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition lives up to its name
The biggest changes with Champion Edition are the additions of a second V Skill for each character, (almost) every costume unlocked, every stage, Street Fighter III: Third Strike final boss Gill, and the final character to the roster, Seth. The new V Skills each character gets are all fun and interesting and bring several characters a much needed boost to their gameplay to make them viable. This speaks to the overall balance of SFV as a whole. Competitively the game is in the best place it has ever been. Granted, there are certain characters that are still very powerful, but most of the cast has been brought up to the point where they can hang with the top tiers. The first major tournament after Champion Edition was EVO Japan where Sakura, a notoriously mid-tier character, took the entire tournament.
Seth is also one of the most fun characters added to a Street Fighter game in recent memory, right up there with G. Returning from Street Fighter IV, Seth has a different body but carries over their gimmick of copying other characters’ moves, except now with their own original move set to boot. Just like in Street Fighter IV, Seth feels more like a Versus character than a traditional Street Fighter character with insane mobility, high damage output, and crazy-long combos.
Lastly is the netcode. Infamously, a fan was able to apply a patch to Street Fighter V to fix the game’s inherently broken delay-based netcode. The problem had been known about since the beta back in 2016. Many feared that Champion Edition would “rebreak” the game by removing the patch as to not interfere with its upcoming Olympics event. While that isn’t entirely true, huge sweeping changes weren’t made either.
If you already had a good, solid connection, your connection in Champion Edition will be better. If your connection was previously middling or poor, you aren’t going to see any improvements. In fact, lower connections could actually be worse. It is unfortunate that something like netcode, something that should be the most important thing to get right to secure a fighting game’s longevity, has been left by the wayside. Hopefully Street Fighter VI can remedy these issues as Capcom’s competitors like Riot Games won’t hesitate to leave Capcom in the dust in the netcode arms race.
All in all, Champion Edition is the best Street Fighter V has ever been: more balanced than ever before, passable netcode for those with decent connections, and just an overall blast to play. It took a long time to get here, but it is good that it finally happened. Ending Street Fighter V on such a strong note gives me high hopes for the future of Capcom’s fighting games, which is a refreshing feeling to have considering the company’s track record as of late.