Street Fighter: Duel review: The Capcom mobile game is drenched in Street Fighter IV nostalgia, but is it any good?
A wave of nostalgia hit me in the face like a Dragon Punch upon pulling up the Draw tab. If one wasn't paying attention it would be easy to mistake Street Fighter: Duel for a mobile version of Street Fighter IV. It uses all the same aesthetic and visual design as Capcom's 2009 fighting game masterpiece, and to great effect. The sounds, look, and feel of Duel all scream nostalgia for a specific era of Street Fighter.
But does that mean the game is any fun? More to the point, what does a fan of the somewhat maligned and now mostly forgiven Street Fighter V think about it? Capcom's first official Street Fighter foray into the mobile game market wants to evoke a specific image of the franchise. For better and worse, it works.
Here's some initial impressions on the recently released mobile game in this Street Fighter: Duel review.
Street Fighter: Duel - Indestructible?
If you've spent any time in the world of auto battler, gachapon-style mobile games then Street Fighter: Duel will feel familiar. Using the look, taste, and sounds of Street Fighter IV, Duel attempts to whisper in your ear about paying money to get your favorite Street Fighter waifu. And while the game has all the trappings of similar games in the market, there's one thing that Duel has and it wants you to know it immediately:
Hey, wasn't Street Fighter IV, like, the best?
To which I would personally say, yes. The spiritual successor to Street Fighter II in every way, the fourth iteration in the fighting game franchise was a renaissance. Smooth, yet familiar core mechanics married with new, impeccable style. The fact that the Street Fighter IV era is the highpoint for the franchise post-SF II is no shock.
And Street Fighter: Duel leverages this information with weaponized, precision accuracy. Every bit of this game is meant to evoke strong memories for a time when oily turkish wrestlers and super, dynamic lucha-libre chefs walked the earth. A better time. A happier time.
This also helps make a somewhat generic but mindlessly fun mobile game go down the palette all the smoother.
Of course Hakan is a tank
Upon installing the game I got my first free taste of Street Fighter: Duel's character draw system. Like any good gachapon, Duel knows the way to any FGCer's heart is through free fare. Immediately I obtained Hakan, my main from Street Fighter IV and all-around best boy. Consider my amusement upon pulling up his character page and seeing that Hakan was a tank. And had min-maxing stats. And equipment slots.
Yes, Street Fighter: Duel is an RPG. And if you're into the crunchiness that comes along with spending resources to slightly make the numbers go up then you'll find fun in Duel. Creating a team of four fighters, you'll watch your squad auto attack in matches.
The direct-control offered to the player comes in the form of your Super Meter. Players can string together super attacks from their party to do damage, buff, cause damage over time, and more. Honestly, it was a pleasant surprise to see that there is some deepness in what could otherwise feel like a cash-in. The order in which you trigger your abilities has drastic differences, with some fighters doing different moves based on that order.
For zoning character Dhalsim, being triggered first causes him to use his Yoga Catastrophe Super Attack from Street Fighter IV. However, using him second will instead send Dhalsim into his Yoga Tower move, which buffs the team. And if I'm being honest: It feels good when you manage to pull off a big combo and you see the numbers and lights flashing across the screen.
There's just enough here to feel like you're rewarded for experimentation.
Choose your fighter
The cast is completely made up of the Street Fighter IV roster, which comes as no shock. Once again, Street Fighter: Duel knows what audience it's selling to and it uses that to great effect. Compared to other games in the gacha category, Duel is more than liberal with its premium currencies and character draws.
It did not take me more than a half hour to accrue multiple Hakans and level him up to an A+ rating. Was that a good decision? Who knows. However, I do know that each time I heard Hakan yell "SLIIIIIDING" I smiled. It's a sound I've heard hundreds of thousands of times and the nostalgia is a nice dopamine hit.
However, if Street Fighter IV isn't your peak of the franchise you may get bored in a hurry. Despite a number of modes in both PVP and PVE, Duel suffers from a familiar mobile issue: Waiting.
You'll wait for XP. Then you'll wait for premium currency. And then, just when you thought you were done waiting you'll instead wait for more PVP tickets. This is nothing new to mobile-savvy players. However, I have to believe the target audience of SFIV stans may grow weary of the mobile dog-and-pony show.
Should I play Street Fighter: Duel?
Having spent literally no money on the game, I can say that Street Fighter: Duel is a welcome distraction. As with most mobile games, their value comes in the form of filling that downtime in between moving the laundry, filling your gas tank, or waiting in line at the grocery store. If not taken too seriously then there's a lot of fun to be had. And as a bonus, it's just nice to see the sights and sounds of my favorite Street Fighter game once more.
Now, who do I have to bribe at Capcom to get Hakan in Street Fighter 6?
Street Fighter: Duel is out now and available for both Android and Apple mobile devices.
Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more esports news and Hakan fan fiction.