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June 2024

Street Fighter 6

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: June 2, 2023


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PS5/PS4/XSX/PC Preview - 'Street Fighter 6' Akuma DLC

by Adam Pavlacka on May 10, 2024 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

With more ways than ever to play, Street Fighter 6 represents the next evolution of the Street Fighter series.

As Street Fighter 6 closes in on the end of its first year, the final character DLC is set for release at the end of May. Akuma will be available on May 22, 2024, for anyone who owns the Year 1 Character Pass or Year 1 Ultimate Pass. He will also be available for separate purchase via the in-game store if you don't have one of the two passes.

I recently got a chance to play around with a pre-release version of Akuma running on a special build of Street Fighter 6 at Capcom HQ in San Francisco. I'm far from a Street Fighter expert, so don't expect a frame-by-frame analysis, but as a casual Street Fighter 6 player, I have to say that Akuma is an appealing option.

Having first appeared in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma plays like a super-powered version of Ryu or Ken. His moves build off theirs and come naturally to anyone who's spent time with either of the two Street Fighter mainstays. As a result, he's easy to pick up and play, especially for a casual player. While some of Akuma's more advanced combos may require technical skills to get the timing right, his standard attacks and supers should be easy to execute by most anyone.

Playing through a series of arcade match-ups against the CPU, I found that I had the most success with Akuma when I could control the fight and play aggressively. Akuma felt like he was at his best when played close- to mid-range. My biggest challenge was when dealing with highly mobile opponents who could quickly dodge and flip out of the way.

While Akuma is good on offense and he appears to hit hard, he does require you to be aware of basic defense. Capcom didn't have exact numbers on hand, but it felt like Akuma took damage as easily as he dished it out. I wouldn't call the character a glass cannon, but his offense is tempered by the fact that you don't want to leave too many openings for your opponent.

Akuma's level 1 super art is Messatsu Gohado, which is a fireball. A version of this can also be performed in midair. His level 2 super art allows Akuma to ignite his opponent, while the level 3 super art is the Sip of Calamity, which has Akuma throwing his opponent to the ground and then smashing in their face.

Of course, it wouldn't be Akuma if he didn't have his Raging Demon. This time around, the move is a critical art that can only be performed when Akuma's super is at level 3 and his health is at 25% or less. But holy cow, does it look good. Completely revamped from prior versions of the game, the Street Fighter 6 version of the Raging Demon shows you exactly what happens inside the black void, with multiple duplicates of Akuma ganging up on his victim and dishing out massive damage. Even if I were winning a match, I would let myself take extra damage just to try pulling another Raging Demon. It's that satisfying. This is one move that's going to be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser at tournaments.

After playing with Akuma in Street Fighter 6, I popped in Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and went a few rounds with him there. The character basics are obviously similar, but the Street Fighter 6 iteration felt more polished. I'm not sure if this is due to differences in the character or overall differences in the game engine, but if you enjoyed using Akuma in Super Street Fighter IV, you'll likely enjoy his latest outing.

When first unlocked, Akuma's default costume is one of a slightly older character. He's aged up from the previous games, his gi jacket is missing, and his hair and beard have grown out by quite a bit, but he still has the ponytail. Older Akuma also fights barefoot. Akuma's second costume is his traditional outfit, with a complete gi, sandals, and reddish-pink hair. The default costume looks a bit more imposing, but I found myself preferring the second costume out of nostalgia. Once Akuma hits the retail game, I'll likely be grinding to unlock the second costume right away.

In addition to Akuma, the update also adds Akuma's stage, Enma's Hollow, to the game. I didn't get a chance to play Akuma's story in World Tour, so no spoilers on how or why his environment came to be, but it's obviously meant to evoke a devilish landscape.

Set inside a cavern on the water's edge, every part of Enma's Hollow has a reddish tint. The sky, the water, the mountains in the distance — all are red. A beached, and broken, wooden boat is on the left-hand side of the stage, while a giant stone head lies on its side in the center. In the background, off to the right, you can see the body of a large statue standing in the distance. Presumably, this is where the head came from. A flaming bucket provides a light source in the center of the stage, while lit candles are littered liberally throughout.

A classic Street Fighter character, Akuma has been updated for Street Fighter 6 while still feeling familiar. How he'll fare in tournament play is likely a question better left for others, but from the perspective of a "dirty casual" who just wants to have fun, Akuma should deliver in spades.

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