Fighting games received a boom in popularity in the early ’90s, and if a single game were to be attributed to the genre blowing up, it would be Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, the sequel to the virtually unknown Street Fighter, a title so rare that during Street Fighter II’s heyday it was half jokingly speculated that it didn’t even exist. After a year of ridiculous success in the arcade Capcom released Street Fighter II: Champion Edition which was a simple upgrade to the original game, allowing players the option to play as the same character against each other and play as the four boss characters. This also started the trend of each numbered Street Fighter title getting released multiple times with new subtitles and prefixes.
Street Fighter V is of course no different. Originally released in 2016, it was met with mixed reception. The core gameplay was great, but the game lacked a basic arcade mode, story mode (which we got several months later) and generally felt like a $60 paid beta with almost all the focus on online competition and nothing substantial in regards to single player content. In 2018 they released Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition which was the Street Fighter V we had been hoping for since day one. The newest and probable final form of is upon us, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition which offers even more content upgrades and characters.
The second biennial update to Street Fighter V offers a significant amount of content but serves a different function than Arcade Edition. Arcade Edition added additional gameplay modes and made the game more complete. Champion Edition doesn’t make any significant gameplay changes beyond what we got in 2018, but it doesn’t need to. It basically serves as a convenient and inexpensive way to snag almost all of the DLC.
Street Fighter V has a ton of DLC, and while theoretically it can all be acquired without spending any real money it would take thousands of hours to earn enough in-game currency to purchase everything. Champion Edition brings the roster of playable fighters to 40, offers 34 stages and over 200 costumes. This is basically all the previously-released DLC content, save for the Capcom Pro Tour DLC, Fighting Chance costumes and brand collaborations. Seth, the iconic boss from Street Fighter IV, joins the roster with a new costume that merges Seth’s original biological brain with the artificial body of Doll Unit Zero.
The costumes are one of the more interesting features of this update. None of the costumes have any impact on gameplay but they can significantly alter the character’s appearance. Santa Claus and Halloween costumes were obviously intended for their respective holidays, but seeing Street Fighter characters cosplaying as characters from other Capcom games such as Morrigan, Guts Man, Dante and Arthur or simply wearing samurai armor is a nice addition. It doesn’t change the game on any mechanical or strategic level but it can be fun to switch costumes around, especially when playing against friends.
The 34 stages are a mix of new areas and revamped versions of classic Street Fighter arenas, with a couple nods to other Capcom games like Final Fight. As is expected in this franchise, the stages are detailed with interactive destructible elements. The 40 character roster isn’t exhaustive, with some notable characters from the Street Fighter universe that aren’t included, but most fans should be able to play as their favorite character.
Outside of the new content, everything that was great about Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is still applicable to Champion Edition. There vast arcade mode that has different settings to represent each of the five numbered Street Fighters and one for Street Fighter Alpha makes the arcade mode much more robust than is typically seen in fighting games. The character story modes are interesting and quick to play through though the over arching main story mode is a bit of a convoluted mess. The single player content is significant enough where you can get your money’s worth by yourself but with fighting games multiplayer is also a huge draw. Online matches can be casual or ranked so cocky players can test their skill against players around the world but the ability to face off against your friends on the couch is also an option.
Street Fighter V was one of the biggest disappointments at its launch but over the past four years has evolved into one of the best fighting games of this generation. Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is the definitive version of Street Fighter V (for now). With the exception of the increased roster, the additional content beyond Arcade Edition is largely cosmetic, so this may not be a necessary upgrade people who are satisfied with the their current roster and don’t care about costumes and stages. For everyone else this is the version of Street Fighter V to get. Between the top-notch fighting mechanics and fan service there are countless hours of entertainment to be found in Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.