‘Street Fighter V’ review: Incomplete, but great gameplay

Ever have a school assignment that wasn’t turned in on time? Some teachers will grant an extension, some won’t.Unfortunately for …

Ever have a school assignment that wasn’t turned in on time? Some teachers will grant an extension, some won’t.

Unfortunately for Capcom’s latest release of its tent-pole fighting franchise, “Street Fighter V,” no extension will be granted.

“V” found its way into consumers’ hands in February with some of the finest, most balanced and accessible gameplay. But several modes (main story, challenges) won’t be released for the game until digital updates in March and — incredibly — June.

This game doesn’t stray far from the franchise’s formula. The previous entry in the series featured two gauges — for charging up Super Combos and Ultra Combos. “V” retains the Super Gauge’s function and renames it the EX Gauge, but the Ultra Gauge has been replaced by the new V-Gauge.

The V-Gauge doesn’t charge up to a mega attack. Rather, it allows for a character-specific meter (a V-Trigger) to activate. V-Reversals can be spent using a portion of the V-Gauge as well.

The new system meshes smoothly within the gameplay. For most characters, the V-Trigger simply makes specific moves more effective for a limited time. It’s easy enough to fill the gauge multiple times during a back-and-forth match by using the unique V-Skill or taking damage, and it’s not an overpowered addition.

It’s clear Capcom’s focus with “V” is on eSports because this game is heavily geared toward player-versus-player. Catering to the pros appears to be the reason for release with key solo modes not yet ready.

Beyond online battles, the game at launch features only lean story content that can be cleared in an hour or two, survival modes and training. There’s no arcade ladder or battling the AI in solo matches.

“V” shipped with 16 characters, with six more set to release at a once-a-month rate. In a welcome move, these characters are attainable via points earned during play instead of only using real money, which is still an option.

As solid as “Street Fighter V” is at present, it’s impossible to ignore that this is an incomplete experience that can’t be fully evaluated until the summer.

Available now

“Street Fighter V,” published by Capcom and co-developed by Dimps, is out now for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC

Scott Fontana