As written about in my “How Not To Launch a Fighting Game” post a couple of months back, it was a rather rocky start to Street Fighter V. The console exclusive probably didn’t light the PS4 up in the way Sony intended. Lack of modes, a terrible launch day and its inability to punish rage quitters meant what was supposed to be the return of the fighting game king ended up with a lot of upset fans.

Despite its obvious shortcomings though I still kept playing. The fighting just felt so good! And now with the recent release of the March update it’s the perfect time to do a little check in and see what’s changed.

First let’s try and be positive! New character Alex is free for everyone, at least until the in-game currency Zenny is implemented. That’s the second form of currency, on top of Fight Money, which is something that can also be used to purchase characters, outfits etc. Why the game needs two forms of currency only Capcom knows.

The new update also thankfully brings with it some more single play content in the form of Challenges. Each character coming with ten combos that must be performed, similar to what was in Street Fighter IV. The ability to change it from describing move names to inputs is also welcome for those of us (like me) who aren’t quite fluent in the crazy move names. There are also some nice demonstrations that educate the player on the various SFV intricacies, something desperately missing from the launch.

Now let’s move onto the online side and for this section of additions it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The best new thing is being able to rematch against an online opponent, essentially turning it into a best of 3 contest. Of course this only happens if both of you agree to it and from my experience if you embarrass someone in the first match then they very rarely want to give you a second opportunity to do the same. This for me though is the definite highlight of the new update.

Then there are the online lobbies. When originally launched you could only have two people in a lobby, which let’s be honest, is just a Versus game. Now you can have up to eight players. This, however, is incredibly flaky. The main gripe is the connection bars on the left are in a constant state of loading so it’s impossible to know how good the connection is till you’re in the lobby. I tried this, picked a lobby and was greeted by some Japanese and American players, safe to say the connection was not great. Watching them fight as a spectator was like watching Nightcrawler in the opening of X-Men 2. Try again, same result. So far at the time of writing (a week post update), I have yet to get a lobby game.

And so the Street Fighter V train hobbles past another station on its way to becoming an actual fully functioning game. Despite its faults though, for there are many, it’s still fantastic to play and is the reason I keep going back to it almost on a daily basis. It’s frustrating more than an anything that the SFV’s first few months could end up being what people remember the most.

Oh well, I guess I’ll see you again in June for the next big SFV update (Story Mode!).