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Street Fighter 6 Modern Controls vs Classic (+other games)

9 min

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Classic vs Modern Controls (in Street Fighter 6 and beyond)
How many buttons are needed to activate a Special?

There certainly are some standards in the fighting games industry regarding input patterns. They were developed back in the days, when the primary playing place were arcades. You know, it is not a big deal to make a quarter- or half-circle movement with an arcade stick (for example, while playing Street Fighter 2 on those machines). The same input feels more difficult on gamepads — especially for beginners.

It is quite meaningful that the trend of moving (slightly) away from that classic control system has been supported by Street Fighter 6. The game introduces a simplified system, called Modern Controls, where you need to press one-two buttons only to perform a Special Move. And it steps even further than just making inputs simpler...

The dedicated community took the changes somewhat coldly. That is quite understandable, as those inputs have become a strong part of the playing process. Adapting to them is important for learning a game. Performing a difficult move at a proper moment for a greatly optimal combo gives such a satisfying feeling. Stepping away from those movement+attack inputs feels kind of unfair. (And reward button mashing? This certainly sparkes emotional discussion)

Is the Modern Controls system in Street Fighter 6 and simplified input in other games a step back for the fighting games culture? Are the Classic inputs necessary to keep the fighting games as great as they are now? And most importantly — what type of controls is better to use when you have such a choice?

Let’s dive into this topic here and now!

If this is more convenient for you, check out this topic discussed in a new video on DashFight's YouTube channel:

Modern Controls in Street Fighter 6

The idea behind simplified input in fighting games is to remove obstacles for newcomers to the genre and let them just enjoy the fights.

In general, Street Fighter 6 took some steps in that direction — for example, with the World Tour mode that teaches various fighting techniques in a fun, RPG-like way. The Modern Controls system pushes accessibility even further. No previous core Street Fighter games had this.

(Dynamic Controls is an even bigger simplification. It automatically selects moves your character will perform, so, it’s ultimate button mashing. This system is for offline play only, so we don’t take it seriously)

Simplified Input with Street Fighter 6 Modern Controls

We could probably name two main features of Modern Controls in SF6:

  • There is no difference between Punch and Kick input for each strength level. You press Light, Medium, or Heavy attack, and the game decides on its own what should that be, kick or punch, depending on your character and in-fight moment.
  • A Special Move can be activated by one dedicated button (Neutral) or in combination with a direction input (Forward, Down, or Backward). Add the Heavy Attack button, and you’ll get Super Arts.

In addition to this, the SF6 Modern Controls system offers one-button input for Throw, Drive Impact, and Drive Parry.

Assisted Combo with SF6 Modern Controls

This aspect is so special, that it’s worth making Assisted Combo a separate sub-section.

Normally, players need to know what attacks can be linked into each other, feel exact timing for them, practice input to the level of having muscle memory, and then bring this skill from the lab to actual fights. Modern Controls take some… control out of your hands, but the system substantially simplified the process.

Assisted Combo is kind of an auto-combo in SF6, when players press the dedicated Assist button and then just mash an attack input. The game adjusts exact moves the character performs to keep the action going.

Street Fighter 6 Assisted Combos make a lot of difference for beginners and casual players.

Classic Controls in Street Fighter 6

There is not much to say about the SF6 Classic Controls system. This type of input is considered primary for the whole series.

  • Every normal corresponds to a dedicated button: Light/Medium/Heavy Punch and Kick.
  • Various movement inputs + a normal attack button activate Special moves, and the normal’s power determines the exact features of the Special. For example, 236P for Ken is Hadoken, and 623P is Shoryuken.
  • Super Arts require double-quarter-circle movement input + P/K.

Drive Impact, Rush Parry, and throws are activated by pressing two buttons simultaneously: HP+HK, MP+MK, and LP+LK respectively. But you could bind them to left shoulder buttons. No Assisted Combos are available with Classic Controls.

Classic vs Modern

The topic seems to get unnecessarily controversial. 

Many people in the core community do not like the idea of simplified input brought to fighting games (and especially to Street Fighter). “You need to practice and then enjoy the fruits of your work.”

The general gaming audience loves Modern Controls, as newcomers and casual players have a chance to grab their controller and immediately have fun with SF6 matches.

There is no real controversy here. Two input systems have been created for totally different purposes.

  • Modern Controls — it’s the first step for beginners, an environment for fun friendly matches, and a chance to feel the competitive spirit.
  • Classic Controls — this is the destination for serious players, who want to step outside of mashing patterns and unpredictability of your actions.

Ok, it might feel awful if you lose to a dude who uses Modern Controls. But the competitive environment is wild, and if you cannot take this challenge, how do you expect to “survive” on higher SF6 Ranks, with really tough opponents?

There is nothing wrong with Modern Controls.

But the true Street Fighter is sure behind the Classic Controls door.

Simplified Inputs in Other Fighting Games

Nope, Street Fighter is not the first title doing this.

In fact, not every game in the genre follows the pattern of quarter circles and DPs. Tekken and Soulcalibur offer a big variety of moves with pretty straightforward input — but memorizing them all and finding the best especially for you becomes an extra challenge. NRS games (Mortal Komat and Injustice) have their own atmosphere, in both aesthetics and control system.

Super Smash Bros. is the series that introduced the combination of a simple directional input + an attack button for activating a bit different Light, Special, or Smash attacks. Other platform fighters adopted it quite well, such as Brawlhalla and MultiVersus.

Among  more “classic” fighting games, we could name DBFZ that removes those 623s, half-circles, and double-quarters but keeps “simple” quarter-circles for Specials/Supers. The general input pattern is more accessible for the non-core fighting games players.

Granblue Fantasy Versus steps above and beyond here. This game allows both Classic and Simplified inputs at the same time. You don’t have an extra meter to limit spamming of Specials. Instead, each of such attacks (called Skills) have a reload time, and it is shorter for the Classic inputs. It seems like the developers want to remove even this disadvantage of simplified input for the new version of their game GBVS: Rising.

It’s Not Only About Controls

The way Street Fighter 6 has implemented simplified controls does not allow the players to feel the true power of fighting games. Modern Controls can’t be a full substitute to Classic just because of the randomness involved.

This does not mean a lack of proper challenges, rewards, and even the whole excitement of playing a fighting game. Even with Modern Controls, players need good reaction, gameplan, and reading the opponent’s actions.

In a way, GBVS does it a bit better, removing randomness. There still is full situational control with the simplified input for those Skills. And all the other layers of competitive fight are here to enjoy.

It is hard to see a Modern Control player qualifying for Capcom Cup and even performing well in the esports environment.

It is obviously recommended for serious Street Fighter 6 competitors to take the step towards the Classic Controls system. But it is certainly ok to be on Modern for various casual fun.

If you want to dive really deep into SF6, stay tuned to DashFight for pro guides. For example, we’ve published a video where Mister Crimson explains How to Play Dhalsim. Knowing the counter-strategies is also important, so check out our Anti-Honda Guide.

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

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