I have a bit of a hard time relating to numbered releases in the Street Fighter series; ok fine, there are definitely sequels emblazoned with II, III, IV, & V, but that's not including the Alpha or EX series for a start. Take into account the great many versions, spin-offs, and crossovers, and the number of titles is closer to 40 in what has to be one of the most complex back-catalogues in gaming.
- STREET FIGHTER VI // PHOTO MODE -
Nevertheless, here we are with Street Fighter VI which Capcom are calling "a new era for fighting games". Along with the traditional 2.5D arcade fighting modes found in the Fighting Ground, this latest instalment includes fully 3D areas where you can find your next fight either in the open streets of Metro City in the single player World Tour, or online via the arcade cabinet-filled Battle Hub.
- SF VI // BATTLE HUB -
It is in the obviously New York inspired city streets where you will find access to the game's new photo mode, albeit kind of a weird one it has to be said. Implemented as a feature of the player avatar's smartphone, the camera is available while free roaming, but not during the actual fighting where people would surely most want it. There is a sense that Capcom were undecided on whether they were adding a novelty or something useful and that carries over in the features as well.
- SMARTPHONE // CAMERA -
Jumping in through either the phone's UI or an optional shortcut button combo, the photo mode features a familiar tabbed UI menu and freezes the game in its third person view. Nothing unusual so far then, but try to move the camera and things start to get messy
Although it can be moved forwards, backwards, left, and right in a small area, as well as being tilted vertically up and down, the camera can only pan 45° left or right. It is as things are suddenly limited by the range of movement in the avatar' wrist while holding the phone, except the phone is NOT the camera here, that is unless you switch to selfie mode for an even more restricted view that is actually at arm's length.
- SF VI // PHOTO MODE -
It's particularly puzzling because the rest of the photo mode actually has some interesting and even novel features. There is a standard field of view angle ranging from 50 - 110°, and manual focus with coarse depth of field adjustment to blur out the background, plus a handy Simple Blur option. Using this slider will automatically adjust the focus and DoF settings for you, tacking the character as the camera moves and generating more or less background defocus as you move the slider.
- SF VI // CAMERA FOCUS -
There are also a bunch of colour filters and rendering effects, though only the latter has an intensity option, as well as brightness, contrast, and a film grain setting that is so over the top that it looks like the result of a broken TV antenna.
In the absence of being able to take the photo mode into any actual fights, there is at least some focus on getting shots of your avatar as you develop their power, abilities, and indeed costumes while exploring the city. It's worth noting too, that the player avatars here are entirely custom creations, and we're talking full-on "monster maker" stuff with dozen of options and virtually unlimited variation. If you want something with freakishly long arms and disproportionately large hands, that is absolutely what you'll get.
- SF VI // AVATAR POSES -
When in front of the camera, that avatar gets a few facial expressions and 20 slightly comical action poses. Impressively, each pose can be mirrored from left to right, and the avatar can be rotated on the spot through a full 360° for lots of versatility.
It is even possible to get others in on the act, although it may not be immediately obviously. Essentially, any NPC in Metro City that can be challenged to a fight will respond to a click of the L3 button buy turning to face the camera and striking one of those same poses. The one caveat is that they just have to be close enough to the camera to respond.
- SF VI // NPC POSES -
There are a couple of things here then that show a refreshing novelty and a fun side to Street Fighter VI's photo mode, and it definitely hints that Capcom's approach to virtual photography is improving. It desperately needs the camera movement to be de-restricted though; if they do that then Capcom might actually have something good here, but otherwise it is more deserving of the "wah-wah-waww" that constantly plays along in the background music.
- STREET FIGHTER VI // NO LIMITS -
Subscribe to the regular newsletter for all the latest features from TheFourthFocus.com