Street Fighter 6's closed beta test has finally wrapped. Now that we’ve had our first taste of the game, folks are sharing their opinions and videos on the various in-game mechanics. While much of Capcom’s upcoming fighter feels like the recent Street Fighter entries, Street Fighter 6 introduces a new tool called Drive Impact that has some players losing their minds over how overpowered it is.
The closed beta ran from October 7 through 10, letting people check out Street Fighter 6's copious game modes, the character creator, the training mechanic to online matches, and even some in-game shops to buy clothing for your avatar. Of course, the main attraction, aside from the cursed fighters players sported around the hub world, was the fighting. There was plenty to be had, with several crowded servers full of folks laying the beatdown on each other with series mainstays like Ken and Ryu as well as newcomers such as Jamie and Kimberly. It was solid fun, albeit frustrating, learning Street Fighter 6's new systems. But that Drive Impact mode isn’t going over too well with the community.
The mechanic is part of the new Drive system, a refillable meter below your fighter’s health bar that lets you use EX Specials and other specific Drive-enabled abilities. You can think of the Drive Impact like Street Fighter IV’s Focus Attack, an armored move that staggers your opponent if it connects and leaves them open for big damage. It only costs one tick of your Drive meter, making it a cheap and effective zoning method. It can absorb two hits with its armor, and it has the strength to beat just about every move in the game except for another Drive Impact, a throw, or the third hit in a combo string, which means it’s extremely powerful against button mashers and spammers. It’s for these reasons players are screaming about how stupidly busted the mechanic is. I kinda agree.
Pro Street Fighter V player Adel “Big Bird” Anouche said Drive Impact makes the game “chaotic” because it’s a move you have to “constantly be watching for” since it’s so effective against almost everything. Fighting game YouTuber rooflemonger, after getting bodied by someone online using the Drive Impact, said he didn’t like the mechanic because of how frequently the players he encountered online used it. Content creator Dalauan “Low Tier God” Sparrow flat-out called Drive Impact a “scrubby panic tool,” saying it needs to be nerfed or tweaked in some way. Even Dominique “SonicFox” McLean hates the Drive Impact, which prompted other casuals and pros, like Sayed “Tekken Master” Hashem, to proclaim the mechanic was “literally made for beginners.”
As a casual fighting game fan, the Drive Impact was both a blessing and a curse during my time with the Street Fighter 6 beta. It’s easy to throw out since it only costs one tick of the Drive meter. However, whiffing the move—using it without it actually connecting—leaves you incredibly vulnerable to punishment. And if you spam it wantonly, you’ll enter a “burnout” state when the Drive meter is depleted, which stuns you and slows your movement speed, making managing your Drive meter the difference-maker in fights. The Drive Impact is a low-risk, high-reward type of attack, particularly because of the damage it dishes out and the combo potential it opens up.
That doesn’t mean the Drive Impact is impossible to deal with, just troublesome to react to if you aren’t looking for it. Street Fighter is all about mind games. When you get a hard knockdown on someone, what you do next could be the difference between a win and a massively upsetting loss. Having the Drive Impact thrown in the mix, a move that tanks most in-game attacks, means you’ll wanna play patiently and watch your opponent diligently to catch them off guard. They might get up and immediately mash buttons, in which case you can respond with the Drive Impact for a punish counter—a type of counterattack that deals extra damage—and really lay in the hurt. The same can happen to you, though, and it hella sucks a lot when it does. The Drive Impact whips ass.
Of course, this was only a closed beta test. While there’s no release date for Street Fighter 6 right now, you can assume that things will change over the course of the game’s development. Who knows? Maybe the Drive Impact will see some tweaks that’ll increase the cost and decrease the damage or something. Only time will tell, but I had fun with the game despite getting whopped on.