Street Fighter V is finally here, injecting the world's most famous fighting game series with fresh characters, intricate new mechanics and a gorgeous new look. But while it's easy enough to slap a few buttons and throw some fireballs in Street Fighter V, getting truly good at the game takes a whole lot of dedication. That's why we've compiled everything you need to know as you make your way to Street Fighter mastery, including hardware recommendations and training tips from some of fighting games' most experienced pros.
PC or PS4?
The PS4 and PC versions of Street Fighter V are virtually identical, and the game even supports cross-platform play between the two. However, there are some inherent benefits to each; if you don't own either a console or a powerful gaming PC, the $349 PS4 is probably your cheapest barrier to entry.
While the game looks great at 1080p and 60 frames per second on PS4, the PC version can be cranked to even better settings (including 4K) if you've got powerful enough hardware.
Key PC System Requirements:
- Processor: Intel Core i3-4160 @ 3.60 GHz (minimum), Intel Core i5 4690K (recommended)
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 480/570/560 (minimum), GTX 960 (recommended)
- Memory: 6GB (minimum), 8GB (recommended)
- OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Among desktops, our top pick for the money among systems that can handle Street Fighter V is the Digital Storm Vanquish 4 ($999), which packs powerful components for a good price and is super easy to upgrade. Our top laptop for playing this game is the Alienware 17 ($1,500). If you want even more power, you can pair this notebook with Alienware's $229 desktop graphics amp.
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Gear Up: Game pads vs. fight sticks
You'll also have a different choice of peripherals per platform; the PS4 version supports PS4 and PS3 controllers, while the PC version supports Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers (and can be played on a keyboard, if you insist).
Whether you use a game pad or an arcade-inspired fight stick, you'll need to form an intimate bond with your weapon of choice in order to pull off special moves with ease. Still, that doesn't mean you need to drop hundreds of bucks for a dedicated fighting peripheral, especially if you're just starting out.
"The game is hard enough by itself, without having to learn a whole new controller," said Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez, longtime competitor and founder of Cross Counter TV, a popular fighting-game YouTube channel. "There's no right or wrong, just whatever you're most comfortable with."
There's a common misconception that you need a stick to excel, but pro players such as Darryl "Snake Eyez" Lewis and Du "NuckleDu" Dang have proven that you can win tournaments with a humble PlayStation controller. Sony's $60 DualShock 4 (opens in new tab) works just fine for Street Fighter, but if you want something more specialized, you can check out Mad Catz's $60 FightPad Pro (opens in new tab) or Hori's $50 Fighting Commander 4 (opens in new tab). These peripherals feature a six-button layout in the front, which is ideal for "claw" players, who like to rest their fingers on the face buttons.
If you're looking for a similar game pad for PC, the Xbox version of PDP's $50 Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad (opens in new tab) should do the trick.
If you're set on getting a stick, Mad Catz' FightStick TE2 (opens in new tab) ($229) is a popular but pricey option for PS3 and PS4 gamers. This premium stick uses arcade-quality parts and is extremely easy to mod, allowing you to insert your own custom artwork and even swap out buttons. If you're not ready to drop over $200 on a new controller, Mad Catz' smaller and simpler $80 FightStick Alpha (opens in new tab) is a good entry-level alternative.
PC players can check out Mad Catz' Xbox 360-compatible sticks, but I'd personally recommend the $185 eightarc Fusion, a sleek and highly durable stick that works across PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and supported PS4 titles.
Picking a Monitor
While Street Fighter V will look great on your big HDTV, playing on a low-latency monitor will provide the most responsive experience possible. BenQ's RL2460HT (opens in new tab) monitor ($209) is a popular choice for use with fighting games and is the current standard for major tournaments such as Evo. You can also check DisplayLag's huge database of latency info for both HDTVs and monitors.
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