The recent Street Fighter 6 beta leaves an incredible impression. The upcoming fighting game features in its beta version, with stylistic battles and thoughtful social integration.
However, for fans of the genre, much of the conversation centers around the game’s universal battle mechanic, called Drive Impact. This system breaks down into five separate pieces that can be used in a variety of creative ways, adding lots of extra flavor. With this feature it is possible to see the DNA of various other fighting games present on the system as Drive pulls some of the best ideas from previous Street Fighter games and even Mortal Kombat.
when you play to Street Fighter 6, you will immediately notice a meter just below your character’s life bar. This is the drive meter. The meter has six bars and players will lose one tick from it when they use a drive ability, are hit by attacks while blocking, or are countered after smelling an attack. Just as you can lose health, you can get it back by successfully Drive Parrying, or simply waiting for it to replenish over time.
Like Focus, Drive Impact activates super armor, which absorbs a select number of incoming hits and knocks the opponent back, giving players enough time to get a free combo. This throws another mind game into the flow of battle, just like Focus Attack did in Street Fighter 4.
Drive Impact’s biggest scare factor comes from its use around corners. If you get hit with this technique, even while blocking in the corner, you will be bounced back on pressure, as opposed to just being bounced back when hit mid-screen. But that does not mean that there is no counterplay. Among other ways to beat Drive Impact, there is the Drive Parry. As in Street Fighter 3, this move can be activated against an incoming attack to nullify it and return the game to neutral, start a counteroffensive, or completely punish an attack. Upon successful completion, you will also gain a set amount of Drive Gauge.
One of the most impressive parts of this new system comes from Drive Rush, a mechanic that allows your character to dash forward. The activation of this Drive technique is not limited to neutral moments. You can also cancel it after hitting an opponent with a normal attack. Doing this costs an extra tick of your Drive meter, but the advantages greatly outweigh that negative. This gives instant access to close pressure and longer range hit confirmations from low engagement shot attempts. Reminiscent of the running mechanics present in games like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Y Mortal KombatX.
This was one of the most pleasant surprises that a devotee of Mortal KombatX could find in the game. Not only does this tool add the things I detailed above, but it brings more creativity into the mix. In one clip, a player showed a mix-up using dash where they knocked a character out of an aerial juggler, ran the other way, and followed up with a side switch. This is just the tip of the iceberg found in the beta; imagine when there is 24/7 access to training mode.
Drive Gauge isn’t exclusively for offense. There’s also Drive Reversal, which is an instant “get off me” counter that can be activated by blocking attacks. Just like the Alpha Counter series from Street Fighter Alpha or V-Reversal from Street Fighter 5pushes an opponent back with a very low damage investment, taking the pressure off you and returning the game to neutral.