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Parents' Guide to Street Fighter V (PEGI 12+)

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In collaboration with GRA for PEGI and Consumer Information, here's our Quick Guide to Street Fighter V.

1. Genre

Street Fighter V is the latest in the almost thirty year old series of martial arts fighting games. As ever, the game sees a variety of human opponents, often with fantastical qualities or fighting abilities, fighting each other one-to-one in contained arenas. Each fight is won on a best of three rounds basis, and each round is won by reducing an opponent’s life bar to nothing.

While the basic kicks, punches and blocks are easy to achieve with single button presses, players need fast reactions to master the combinations of stick moves and button presses required to execute some of the more spectacular combos, although Street Fighter V is a game at pains to make sure even novices can learn the ropes without too much confusion.

As well as previous Street Fighter games, Street Fighter V can best be compared to rival fighting games such as the far gorier Mortal Kombat series.

2. Story

An expansion adding a cinematic story mode Street Fighter V is due for free release in June 2016, but until then the game has Character Story mode, which explores the background of the combatants.

3. Developer

Capcom, one of the most venerable Japanese publishers, have developed the game in-house in collaboration with Japanese fighter specialists Dimps, who also contributed to Street Fighter IV.

4. Format

Street Fighter V is available for PS4 and PC, with cross-platform online multiplayer. The game costs £50 or $60. A season pass including forthcoming downloadable characters costs £25 or $30. On PS4 a PS Plus subscription is required to play online.

5. Duration and Difficulty

Character Story Mode may only take 2 or 3 hours to complete, with the Story Mode due later in the year adding another couple of hours, but as an online multiplayer game Street Fighter V will last as long as the player wants to take on online combatants.

6. PEGI Rating

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Street Fighter V a 12 for violence in a sporting context and mild bad language.

7. GRA Additional Consumer Information

The GRA expand on their PEGI details by saying that the game was given a 12 rating for ‘frequent, non-realistic violence against human characters and the use of offensive language and mild swearing.’ Violence is ‘highly stylised’ with ‘no permanent visible damage’. Online play involves interacting with other people online, and parents should be aware of this. The words ‘bastard, bloody, piss, wanks and bugger’ can be heard.

8. Themes

Street Fighter V is very much virtual combat as virtual sport, with stylised violence taking place in a fantastic and exotic context with minimal consequences. Any story and themes are really just set dressing, with the core of the experience being the player’s ability - or inability - to master the controls and new special moves and move up online rankings.

Apart from some light swearing and generically sexy outfits there’s very little to offend or disturb anyone but the most ardent opponent to violence, but to be honest what appears on screen is merely the spectacular fireworks to illustrate the competitors ability to manipulate a controller or specialised arcade stick in fast and complicated ways.

9. Why people play

For all the talk of making Street Fighter V accessible, with Tutorial and Training modes, to help newcomers hone their skills, the game’s initial package is almost entirely focused on online play against human opponents. Casual and Ranked matches as well as a Fighters Network for finding players are available, with the only single player content being a short Character Story Mode and Survival Mode, which pits players against opponents with stringent restrictions and challenges.

This emphasis on open competition will in a way that will inevitably cause casual or new players to either sink or swim, and those who can’t compete may find the game’s full price tag steep for the opportunity to get beaten up by strangers.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.