The latest and probably the last Street Fighter 6 Open Beta has come and gone. It was a glorious 3 days of getting a taste of Capcom’s upcoming fighting game and it just makes me more eager for June 2 to drop. There are a few hurdles I’ll have to jump before that happens as I still don’t have a PlayStation 5 as of yet. I will get one soon and the Street Fighter 6 Open Beta only made me hungrier to get one as soon as possible. Still, we all know good things come to those who wait, right?
Even without access to a PlayStation 5, I still managed to access the Open Beta via my brother’s beefy gaming PC. He wasn’t able to use it for a good number of nights but it was worth all the time I put into it. I’ve learned a few things after playing hours of the Open Beta. These were things I was really concerned about, being from the Philippines where Internet connectivity isn’t all that good. So, let’s go through just 5 things I’ve learned after playing Capcom’s Street Fighter 6 Open Beta.
#1 Online connection is good even with crappy internet
Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t have really good internet over here in the Philippines. I’ve experienced this the hard way by trying to play Street Fighter V, Capcom’s previous entry, online against other players. Let me tell you, it’s not a pleasant experience in any shape or form. It’s laggy and the fighters would magically teleport from one place to another. This made playing the game an atrocious experience. It was so bad I actually opted to not subscribe to PlayStation Plus anymore because, since Street Fighter V was the only game I played online, why bother?
After trying out the Street Fighter 6 Open Beta on my brother’s computer, I believe Capcom ironed out all of the kinks which made Street Fighter V’s online experience a disaster. The rollback netcode they’re using now feels a whole lot better here. I would imagine the Open Beta is more like Capcom testing if their servers can handle a massive load of players from all around the world and still have a decent connection. Now, my brother’s PC is connected via WiFi so you would expect the online experience would be trash. It was the opposite. It played wonderfully. I even played a match against pro player Eita’s Ken! I lost but he didn’t want a rematch because I’m sure he was afraid of my superior skill! I didn’t capture any footage so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
There are some “rules” I did have to follow but these “rules” were never given to me as Capcom didn’t allow me to simply switch to any server I wanted. There were some servers I would try to enter but would be denied for some inexplicable reason. I was, however, get into servers sprinkled all over the world, such as the United States and Europe. Sadly, most of them were the ones I couldn’t get into. Even the ones which were marked as uncrowded were cordoned off for some reason I don’t know. I can say the Western servers I did get into showed my lowly Philippine broadband was sufficient to get good online matches with them as I didn’t experience any real problematic laggy matches.
I did stick mostly to the Asia region as it was so much easier to find servers I could access there. There were a few hiccups here and there and there were a couple of really terrible matches with bad connections. The majority, however, were really good. I even got to play against someone for 10 matches straight, thanks to the game’s fantastic rollback netcode! I had a blast during this run because the connection was near perfect with nary a speed bump during gameplay. Looks like I’ll be getting a new PlayStation Plus subscription when I get my PlayStation 5 later in the year!
#2 Drive Rush combos are easier than you think
One thing which really intimidated me about Street Fighter 6 was the new Drive System. It’s a very ingenious battle engine where most of your main game mechanics are powered by the Drive Gauge, which is located just below your character’s life meter. The Drive System allows for different things. The Drive Parry blocks all strikes (but can’t counter throws). Drive Impact allows your character to deliver a devastating strike which can blow through several hits (but will lose to throws as well). It also powers your Overdrive moves, which are just EX moves from previous Street Fighter entries. The most essential one, especially if you want to do as much damage as possible in a combo, is the Drive Rush. This allows you to cancel out of some normals to continue the combo.
I honestly thought it was going to be complicated. I did try doing it in the PlayStation 4 Demo and I just couldn’t really do it properly for some reason. For some odd reason, I was pulling some really nasty Drive Rush combos in the Open Beta. Either Capcom niggled with the code a little bit for the Open Beta or my brother’s PC just handles better than my aging PlayStation 4. Whatever the case, doing Drive Rush combos feel much snappier.
It felt so snappy an intuitive I tried to actually do them in an actual online match! Yes, the attempts I mentioned earlier was just in the practice arena. I was nervous but, lo and behold, I was doing them in online matches and it felt so good! I honestly believed it wouldn’t work because of online reasons! I’m so glad even a newbie like me can perform a Drive Rush combo during an actual online match! I’m so proud of myself!
#3 Drive Impact is reactable even online
Another concern I had with the Drive System was how Drive Impact would play out. As I mentioned just now, it’s a big attack but that’s not the entire story. It’s already scary as it can blow through most attacks. However, what makes it really frightening is what happens when it connects. With a clean hit, the enemy will take a good chunk of damage while sending them flying to the corner. As a counter hit, the Drive Impact will stun your opponent for a long time, giving you time to set up a devastating combo. Even when blocked, it’ll push the opponent quite a distance, giving you some space to breath. What’s worse is if you get it with it and you’re sent flying to the corner, it’ll send you into a crumple state, allowing for one of the most frightening things: the corner combo. You definitely don’t want to eat any of that!
So, I was concerned about how enemies, especially while online, will just be trying to spam the Drive Impact since it might be unreactable online. Well, thanks to the awesome netcode, you can actually react to it! I should know because I’ve done it several times! There are so many ways to counter it, too! You can use your own Drive Impact, which is what I tend to do. You can also Drive Parry it, which might be the safer option. You can even jump over it if your reaction time is good! There are other ways as well. Pick what suits your style!
This is a good thing because I thought Drive Impact was too powerful. It certainly looked so on the surface as it’ll keep on going despite you hitting the person doing it. It’s felt like Ultra Street Fighter IV’s Red Focus Attack’s bigger and meaner big brother! Thank god Capcom knew how to balance it out my making it come out slow enough for people with poor reflexes such as myself to react to it.
Another strategy is, against players who are very strategic at using Drive Impact is to simply not give them an opportunity to do the Drive Impact! I played against one player who would perform the Drive Impact at a specific distance. It seemed like a winning strategy until I figured out he doesn’t know how to counter cross ups! So, for the next few matches, I just kept on crossing him up then either throwing or doing a very simple combo. Rinse and repeat. He got so upset that, in the last match, he rage quit when I hit him with Guile’s Level 3. It was glorious! I guess the moral is: don’t rely on Drive Impact.
#4 Regular Anti-Airs might be better than Anti-Air Special Attacks
During my initial time with the Open Beta, I bounced around all of the characters to see who fit my style. I finally landed on Guile, a tried and true character, if I do say so myself. The simplicity of Guile made him very easy to play as he basically only had 2 special moves. The first is his traditional Sonic Boom, a projectile which makes it possible for him to control some space. His second is his Flash Kick, one of the best anti-airs in most previous iterations of Street Fighter. It has some weaknesses, such as having to charge down for a while, and, if you miss, you’re going to eat a very punishing combo for your error. Still, Guile was very easy to pick up and his combo structures weren’t all that complicated to execute during a match.
During my playtime, I realized something weird. A lot of the characters in the Open Beta have special moves which work as anti-airs. However, not many of the good players I came across were using them. Instead, they relied on normals as anti-airs… and they were working great! This was mostly the crouching version of the heavy punch for pretty much everyone in the Open Beta. Ryu. Ken. Luke. Jamie. Kimberly. Juri. Even Guile! Sorry, Chun-Li. Looks like you’ll have to struggle a bit with your weird down, down and kick special for a bit.
When I say the crouching heavy punch is a good anti-air, I’m downplaying it a little because it works almost flawlessly as an anti-air. It’s just a button press so much less execution errors on your part. It can hit opponent’s clean, even if they just jut out a limb in close proximity to its range! If it whiffs, you can try to recover fast enough with a Drive Parry or a counter throw. The only weakness I saw was it still can’t hit cross ups at all. Then again, you can say the same thing for practically all special anti-air moves in Street Fighter 6, apparently!
#5 Modern Controls feel weird for someone used to Classic controls
One of Street Fighter 6’s big selling points is how its newbie friendly focused. The World Tour mode is a goofy take on the hero’s journey where you control a neophyte fighter who travels the world to train with other Street Fighters to learn their moves. The game has tutorials and tips on how to use each character effectively. The main thing Capcom added for newbies is Modern Controls, where you can perform specials and super attacks with a press of a button or two in combination of a direction. So, if complicated motions like *shudder* quarter-circle forward with punch is too complicated for you, Modern Controls may be your gateway to Street Fighter. There’s even a rumor that some pro players may be switching to using Modern Controls in tournaments so they wouldn’t have to face the issue of dropping complicated combos during a heated match.
Well, I consider myself a newbie and I just couldn’t get the hang of Modern Controls. It’s not like I didn’t try. Sure, Guile may be a stupid character to try out Modern Controls with as you still have to do a charge motion to execute his specials. I did try with other characters in the Open Beta and I found myself doing more accidental special moves with it! I would do his Flash Knuckle instead of his Sand Blaster or something along those lines. Maybe it’s more rewiring my brain to work with Street Fighter 6’s Modern Controls, which I might try to do with the game’s official release. For now, I’ll just stick to Classic Controls. Give me my weird Z-direction Dragon Punch motion!
What was your experience with Street Fighter 6’s Open Beta? What were your takeaways? Let me know in the comments section below!