Street Fighter 6 hasn’t missed a beat since its reveal a year ago in June 2022. Every trailer, every feature announcement, and every character introduced into the game has looked incredible. After hitting the streets for dozens of hours, I can safely say the game meets the lofty expectations I had for it. But, the real innovation and must-play part of Street Fighter 6 is its fantastic World Tour mode which is revolutionary for fighting games.
Taking aspects from Yakuza, Persona, and other RPGs this mode builds an incredible stage for you to hone your skills, meet your favorite characters, and just sit back and have a bit of fun exploring the different locales Capcom has brought to life. This mode’s strength lies in combining the already well-established RPG structure of other Japanese franchises like Yakuza and Persona and mixing it with Street Fighter 6’s fighting system which creates an entirely new concoction for the style of RPG World Tour is.
Street Fighter 6’s fighting is already top tier but Capcom matches that with the open, explorable locations it has created here. From the bustling squares of Metro City to the dingy London streets, to the roaring Collessium where Marisa fights in Italy, each area’s atmosphere is spectacularly well-realized and different from the other.
As such, with how fast you jet across the world from location to location, you are always finding something new or interesting to do. One moment you are meeting Lily’s tribe and getting a taste of her culture, and the next you are making pizzas in the back of a food truck on the streets of Metro City.
There are quests for you to complete, fun side objectives to slowly work towards, and items to buy to refill your health. There are even gifts to give the main characters who will then grow closer with you, teaching you new moves and skills from their fighting style for you to mix them with other attacks and special moves. This comes alongside your natural growth with them as you fight using their style against criminals in the street, gangs, and random people who just want to have a quick brawl before continuing along with their day.
There is a surprising amount of depth here for what could easily be perceived as a “side mode”. But with a vast selection of activities, quests to complete, deep relationships to form with the fighters, and several skill trees to work your way through, it became clear after just a few hours of playing World Tour that this is the headline mode for Street Fighter 6.
Street Fighter 6 is incredibly impressive in this regard as the time and effort Capcom put into this mode shows from beginning to end as it is filled with replayability. Whether you want to see what happens if you choose to focus on Luke’s fighting style instead of Chun-Li’s, or how easy you find the game’s bosses or fights if you decide to use a set of moves that suits your playstyle, there is a lot you can test out with multiple playthroughs of World Tour.
The world of Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode feels alive in a way that is on par with titans in the RPG genre, such as Yakuza’s fictional setting of Kamurocho and Atlus’ version of Tokyo in Persona 5. The amount of options you have in those games is comparable here too, making the mode even more impressive from a replayability standpoint as you are overwhelmed with things to do and objectives to complete.
The narrative is also well-implemented, offering an enjoyable companion to the fun and silliness you can find in the open world, bringing just enough gravitas to your actions and fights that the mode feels grounded in the world of Street Fighter. This is despite the fact that you are fighting fridges and destroying giant trucks every now and then, performing Hadoukens on security drones chasing you around Metro City too.
But, those moments help keep the mode fun and enjoyable, allowing you and the characters you meet to engage in a bit of levity that stops World Tour from becoming too wrapped up in its own seriousness. This great blend of the serious and the silly can be found throughout the game, with the Street Fighter 6 character customization options letting you craft all kinds of monstrosities, or keep your character looking somewhat human.
The Battle Hub then allows you to dress in all kinds of crazy outfits and fight with other player-created characters, as you match your six-foot-tall burly man with silver skin and green hair fling and dance around with your opponent as you overwhelm them with Manon’s throws. Contrasted with that the hub also houses arcade machines at the same time that allow you to fight with one person for several matches, or compete in tournaments, if you really want to have a competitive fight against a friend or another player.
It’s a satisfying blend of these two styles of play, and therefore two audiences, that is executed perfectly. Either never feeling out of place or cringy, as Capcom realize the tone they are going for across Street Fighter 6’s modes and sticks to it masterfully. As such Street Fighter 6 feels like a warm hug, a breath of fresh air in 2023, allowing you to choose how you interact with its many modes.
Even more impressive is that World Tour and the whole game feels great to play, is incredibly polished, and runs smoothly. This makes it one of the best-performing games of the year on PS5. It’s clear that Capcom gave the team as much time as possible to polish Street Fighter 6 and it shows in how great the entire experience is, especially in World Tour.
For a team that hasn’t made a mode like World Tour in a fighting game, they have gone above and beyond my expectations and crafted a campaign and story mode that is one of the best in fighting games. In fact, it elevates Street Fighter 6 above everything else to be one of the best fighting games and will almost certainly be my game of the year for 2023.
Street Fighter 6 review (PS5)
Street Fighter 6 is one of the most polished games in years, offering a diverse range of fighting modes that all complement each other and a deep, engaging World Tour mode that brings the series into a new era.