Akuma is one of the most popular characters in the Street Fighter series, which is why it was confusing to have him absent in Capcom’s latest entry into their historic franchise. This has now changed with the Season 2 content for Street Fighter V beginning with the addition of Akuma to its roster. Akuma is the first fighter to be released, with five more characters to be added later in the year as part of the 2017 Character Pass. But is Akuma a good addition to the new cast of world warriors, and does he add enough to warrant jumping back online with Street Fighter V?
Besides getting the 2017 Character Pass, you can also purchase Akuma in game using fight money saved up from playing. So if you’ve had at least 100K fight money saved up since earlier this year, then you can start using him right away. However, with Akuma is the addition of a new stage to the lineup of environments you can battle on, which cost an additional 70K fight money in-game.
Unfortunately, you need to purchase the extra stage separately with fight money or through the PlayStation Network. The new stage looks like a combination of different areas from previous Street Fighter games that are all related to Akuma. You have nods to the stormy field from the Alpha series, as well as the broken Japanese temple from different games where Akuma makes an appearance.
Playing with Akuma is similar to his previous iterations, with a few changes that make him fit well alongside the rest of the Street Fighter V roster. His V-Skill is a parry and counterattack, similar to Ryu’s V-Skill, only with an extra attack you can do after successfully parrying. It’s a useful technique that allows you to set up big combos, as well as generate more Super meter for EX attacks and Critical Arts.
Akuma’s V-Trigger changes the properties of his special moves, making them stronger and more damaging when they land. When you initiate V-Trigger, Akuma feels similar to his previous versions in other Street Fighter games. You get stronger fireball attacks, including a double air fireball while jumping, and even gain access to his Raging Demon Critical Art.
While Akuma isn’t as fragile as he is in previous games, he isn’t any easier to master than before. It can take some skill to land combos that take full advantage of his special moves and attack priorities, which will please a lot of longtime fans of the character. His design is also a bit more over-the-top, but if you don’t like his new look then you can always purchase the nostalgia costume for a more classical Akuma. The nostalgia costume however doesn’t come included with the Character Pass or when you buy him with fight money, which is a shame.
With Akuma, you also get a very brief character story to the Story Mode. Much like the other fighters that were added in Season 1, Akuma’s character story only lasts about two fights in total, with some static cutscenes here and there. It’s hardly an addition at all however, mainly because it’s over so fast.
You don’t see Akuma appear in the cinematic story mode either. This feels like a missed opportunity since the character’s legacy with the series is so important. Seems a little improbably that not much will happen in Street Fighter V’s story while Akuma is lurking around during its events.
It’s good to see the old master included once again in the main series, since the game felt a little empty without him. Exactly where Akuma will place on many of the competitive tier lists has yet to be determined, especially with more new fighters coming down the line. If you still needed more reasons to jump back into Street Fighter V besides extra characters, then this might not be the answer you were looking for.
The extra content you get with Akuma is a bit meager, especially if you were hoping for some more story from the game. If you just wanted to play with another character however, then Akuma addition to the game delivers on that front.
These impressions were based on a digital review code for the 2017 Character Pass for Street Fighter V on PlayStation 4, provided by Capcom.