Street Fighter 6 World Tour Mode takes the series in a direction I’ve always wanted

These days, fighters aren’t always rated for their singleplayer offerings and that’s a shame.

Most times, it’s does the game have good netcode? Which arcade sticks does it support? Is there an eSports team? And all of that stuff is super important for the longevity of the game, of course it is.

But I’m a traditionalist. I loved the arcade modes in the original Street Fighter. I enjoyed the towers in Mortal Kombat. In fact, the Mortal Kombat 10 Krypt Mode was my favourite part of that particular game.

Street Fighter 6, on the other hand, respects its legacy. It pays homage to its origins. And it has absolutely broken barriers and revolutionised single player content in a fighting game. That’s not hyperbole, it’s cold hard fact.

The World Tour Mode is one of the most enjoyable, enriching, pieces of single player content I’ve played in anything this year. Yes, that includes games designed around their singleplayer offerings.

We will have a full overview of the game, of course, but as we only just received our key on launch day, that would be a bit premature. However, because we’ve already spent so much time in World Tour, we just had to scratch down some thoughts.

What is World Tour Mode?

So for those who’ve not been keeping score, this is basically a living, breathing open world, sandbox environment with a story attached to it. Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking Assassin’s Creed Valhalla levels of open world here, but Metro City is fully explorable, has a sizeable map, and it’s littered with missions, characters and key locations.

On top of that, you have missions which take you all over the world with trips to England, Brazil and Italy, for instance, and there you can interact with fighters from those particular regions.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that pretty much everyone you meet you can have a fight with. People have their own individual levels, sometimes lines of dialogue and even rewards they can offer you if you fulfil certain obligations within a fight.

As to how it feels and plays, you wouldn’t be going too far wrong if you compared it to Yakuza meets Final Fight. Yes, really!

It handles smoothly, it’s got lots of things for you to see and do, and it actually adds quite a bit to each of the characters, really bringing you closer to the roster. The aim is for you to create a character from scratch, meet with legendary masters and members of the roster and get them to teach you their individual fighting styles.

For example, you meet Chun Li pretty early on and by switching things around in the menus, you can fight using her style, including the spinning bird kick and kikoken.

Your aim is to impress your master enough that you master their style and level it up to unlock its full potential. Once you’re under their tuteledge, they’ll teach you more of their moves, but you can also call upon them to fight with you in battle and even use their abilities out in the wide world.

This is where the Tour starts to feel a bit like Yakuza as you can destroy parts of the environment, collecting items, and even climb ladders to reach high, out of reach places. Sure, the story is nowhere near as elaborate, but even that has plenty of nods and winks with wacky characters, funny lines and off the track side quests.

As for Final Fight, well the references are all through the content with iconic baddies you fought in the arcade years ago just hanging around, waiting for a scrap, but the main thing is you will sometimes have to take on as many as 8 enemies at a time, and you can have three on the screen, hammering down on you. This is sometimes why calling your master in to help may be a good plan.

See, it’s Street Fighter in that you still have one on one battles, you fight your masters, use your iconic abilities as well as new series additions, like the Drive Gauge and Super Combos, but it’s dialled back from the intensity those fights to help prepare you for them.

While you’re wandering around, kicking things, fulfilling easy win missions and progressing the story, the game is slowly and subtly helping you get better at the game. You’re learning how to fight as each of the different characters, gradually taking on their abilities one at a time, you’re being taught how to use your combos, learn the nuances of the game, establish which control scheme you vibe with, and through all of that, help you make the decision on who you want to main with in the game.

It is the biggest, best, most advanced level tutorial I’ve ever played and it barely even felt like one.

This leans into a much bigger point which I’ll address in the overview – Street Fighter 6 is one of the most welcoming, open-armed, reassuring fighters for newcomers I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t feel offputting or intimidating to dive in, it builds your confidence, and is ready when you are to make the leap into ranked battles and the wider fighting ground. Even if you aren’t, that’s ok. There’s still a ton of content here worth investing in.

World Tour Mode just has to become a Street Fighter staple from now on. I’ve always wanted to be able to connect with the fighters on a deeper level outside of their one liners before fights and those short stories we see in flashes in Arcade. I wanted to know these characters, move about in their world, learn more about their motivations, but equally understand their fighting heritage a little bit more. There’s a great part in World Tour when you meet DeeJay, for instance, and you get to learn more about the rhythm behind the fighting.

I guess it just adds personality to the roster and makes them feel a bit more than just another box in a selection screen. But equally, I wanted to connect more with the Street Fighter world, get on the ground, see what happens in life beyond the tournaments, and in my head I always envisaged it a bit like a Streets of Rage or, indeed, Final Fight. That’s precisely what Capcom have given me and I am so glad they did.

I burned out pretty quickly on Street Fighter V because it felt too heavily geared toward veterans. That’s ok, I know a lot of people loved it and I understood I wasn’t the target market then. But just solely based on my time with World Tour – again, I’ve yet to get in too deeply with other modes – I feel welcome here. And I’m having fun. Something I haven’t felt in a long, long time with a fighter.

This doesn’t feel like just another fighting game, it feels like Capcom have gone way out of their way to try and make new fans, get new Street Fighter ambassadors, build the franchise up for the future. Which seems incredibly timely since Mortal Kombat also appear to be going the soft reboot route.

World Tour is the beginning of a very special moment for Street Fighter and, I think, the genre as a whole. As someone who’s not great at fighters, I compare this to ‘swimming in the shallow end’ while I prepare myself to take the plunge into the game’s deeper offerings. I can feel myself getting better, I am aware of my limitations, I know which characters I like and dislike, and with regular, short sharp battles – whether I instigate them or the enemies engage me – I am in control of my progress at every point.

There’s no way I can ever imagine a Street Fighter game without a World Tour again, and I know we’ll be waiting 6, 7, maybe even 10 years for another, but I already can’t wait to see how Capcom add to and expand upon it to satisfy the next generation and beyond.

Street Fighter 6 is out now on PC, PlayStation and Xbox

Code kindly provided by Capcom for review purposes

Played on PlayStation 5

Full Overview will follow

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