It may have taken seven months, but Street Fighter V is way better now than it was at launch. That's in large part thanks to the game's 1.06 update, which adds both a new character and a long-awaited versus CPU mode (one of the key features missing from the game at launch).
But while a new mode and a new character go a long way toward further improving the Street Fighter V experience, the addition of stage transitions in the latest update just might steal the show.
Capcom has at long last added unique stage transitions for each of the game's original nine arenas. There are two stage KOs for each arena, one for the left side of the arena and one for the right. If a player is defeated at the end of one side or the other, a cinematic KO will play that then opens up the map further for the next round. And boy oh boy, do the stage KOs add insult to injury.
If Street Fighter wasn't goofy before, it is now. In addition to having to feel the usual sting of defeat, those who find themselves on the losing end of a stage KO will have to endure: being shot out of a canon, being buried under a snowman, being mauled by elephants, wearing a hotdog hat, being locked in a bank vault and much, much more.
It's a fun little addition made even more fun by the fact that some of the stage KOs have a lasting effect on the next round. For example, being knocked into a suit of samurai armor on one particular stage will see your character sporting a samurai helmet in the next round. Same goes for a Russian stacking doll head and plenty of other fashionable post-defeat accessories.
Yes, Street Fighter V is finally shaping up to be the fighting game it should have been at launch. We did enjoy it, but online connectivity issues and too little content made it hard to recommend back then, even if the game's fighting fundamentals are arguably the best they have ever been.
Numerous updates since then, including a beefy single-player story mode, have gone a long way toward fixing some of those initial complaints. It only took half a year, but now might be the time to at long last give Street Fighter V another shot.