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I can’t wait to go back to Street Fighter 6’s excellent Battle Hub

Fighting games live or die on their online communities. Of course, basic functions like rollback netcode and cross-play are essential to a healthy fighting game, but Street Fighter 6 goes further by creating an online hub that celebrates the series and gives players somewhere to hang out between matches. Call it a metaverse if you must, but in reality, the Battle Hub is one-third of the Street Fighter 6 package and will likely be home to the communities and tournaments that ensure people will play the game for years to come.

It was also the focus of the Closed Beta for Street Fighter 6 this past weekend, which gave me a second chance to go hands-on with the game after falling in love with it at Summer Game Fest Play Days. The core 1-v-1 fights are still a joy to play and the beta’s new characters — Juri, Kimberly, Guile, and Ken — all come with the exciting combos and flashy animations. But really, I came away impressed with the groundwork Capcom is laying for Battle Hub and its implications for World Tour mode.

What’s the hubbub about?

The Battle Hub is one of three options players can choose right from the main menu of Street Fighter 6, and when selected, it tasks players with creating a character avatar that will represent them. I didn’t spend too much time with these options, but they seemed quite in-depth for those who enjoy a detailed character creator. After creating a blue-haired and face-tattooed fighter, I was thrust into the Battle Hub’s futuristic arcade.

A player creates a female character with colorful hair in Street Fighter 6's Avatar Creator.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Multiplayer hubs as a replacement for simple menus aren’t a new concept for fighting games (Bandai Namco games like Dragon Ball FighterZ have done this for a while). Still, for Capcom’s first attempt at one, the Battle Hub is full of personality and things to do. Its stark blue colors, a plethora of screens, and many gameplay cabinets make it feel like the high-tech arcade Capcom wants it to be.

As soon as I entered, I could walk around, emote, and perform classic Street Fighter moves the Hadoken with button presses. I was also near two kiosks. At one, I could register and view tournaments and Street Fighter 6 events, although none were available for me during this Closed Beta. The other one was the Hub Goods Shop, where I could buy clothes and other gear to customize my character further with the currency I accrued while playing.

The other kiosks on the main level weren’t available in this Closed Beta outside a screen that showed which player in our server was performing the best. I then headed toward the arcade cabinets, most of which form a circle around the center of the Battle Hub. One person has to sit on each side to initiate a Street Fighter 6 match. While it’s a bit annoying to sit and wait for someone to play with you, I could always find an opponent if I looked around at every cabinet. Hopefully, the final game will have an option to get into fights slightly faster for those who want to simply jump into it.

A bird's eye view of the Street Fighter 6 battle hub.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I could also walk up to any player and message them or view their profile and performance in previous matches, so it does seem like it will be easy to find a community in Street Fighter 6. In the center was an open area where players could group up and emote with each other, but I was more intrigued by the special arcade cabinets off to the side that let me try Extreme Battle, a Street Fighter 6 side mode that introduces gimmicks to fights. During the beta, the set Extreme Battle was a race during a match to see who could perform four specific actions first, like throwing or parrying the opponent three times.

Then there’s Game Center, a place where Capcom says players can “play a regularly rotating lineup of games.” I played Super Street Fighter II Turbo here, and I could wholly emulate the entire game and face off with other players online within Street Fighter 6. It’s great to see Capcom incorporating their work on remastered collections here, and the Game Center can even feature non-fighting games like Final Fight here too. These should provide a quick break and a nice change of pace for those who are tired of doing a lot of the same type of match in the Battle Hub. And we haven’t even gone upstairs yet.

Showing off

After spending lots of time on the first floor, I finally ventured to see what was on the second floor. First, I found a photo spot with a lot of pretty 3D 8-bit art based on Street Fighter and Mega Man characters. This seemed like a cute way to get players to promote the mode, and a player can even start to DJ music at a nearby spot to get players to gather. While this is mostly a novelty, I’m curious to see how this space could evolve throughout Street Fighter 6’s live service lifespan.

A player emotes on the second floor of Street Fighter 6's battle hub.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

With all of these extra bells and whistles, the Battle Hub goes beyond just being a flashy menu for Street Fighter 6. That said, Players can pause the game in the Battle Hub to view other players, clubs, and replays from their server, change their server, redeem rewards, read news and tips, and more. All-in-all, the Battle Hub is a thorough online space that not only impressed me in this beta but intrigued me with how its systems can be present in other modes like World Tour. For starters, I assume players will be able to use this same avatar in that adventure and unlock some cosmetics that they can show off in the Battle Hub.

I mentioned that players could perform classic Street Fighter moves in the Battle Hub, and while they are little more than glorified emotes, I suspect they will function similarly in the open-ended World Tour mode. I don’t know how using these in real-time combat will pan out, but they seem to behave like special abilities or spells in an action-RPG, as I had to hold a trigger and then choose the move I wanted to do with a face button.

3D movement in the Battle Hub also feels good, so I hope that also translates to World Tour. Still, even if a player never decides to partake in that single-player adventure, the Battle Hub looks like it has a lot to keep players busy. From its welcoming aesthetics to its areas for standard matches to its games-within-the-game, I know I’ll want to spend a lot of time in the Battle Hub when Street Fighter 6 drops. And unless World Tour or some other part of the game drops the ball unexpectedly, Street Fighter 6 is already shaping up to be one of the best games of 2023.

Street Fighter 6 will launch for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in 2023.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
The best video games of June 2022: TMNT, Fire Emblem, and more
An image of the TMNT in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.

Following all of the major summer showcases, there's a general feeling that gaming in 2022 already peaked earlier this year with games like Elden Ring, Horizon Forbidden West, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land. That said, this mindset isn't really that accurate because June contained several of 2022's best games.
From beat 'em ups to simple mobiles games to grand Musou adventures, there were a lot of games to enjoy alongside all of the announcements this month. If you haven't played anything new this month because you thought 2022 gaming couldn't get any better than Elden Ring, we recommend the following six games.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge - Gameplay overview
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge isn’t a super complex game; it’s just almost perfectly executed for what it is. This beat ’em up calls back to classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time while paying respect to the popular franchise with a variety of Easter eggs and beautiful pixel art. Anyone can pick up and enjoy its beat-’em-up combat, and it’s filled with every hero or enemy you’d expect to see in a TMNT game.
We even gave Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge our first five-star review of 2022. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a must-play for both TMNT and beat-’em-up fans alike,” Digital Trends contributor De’Angelo Epps wrote in his review. “It’s a game that takes what worked in the past, but still finds space to innovate beyond its fan service and nostalgia play.”
Surprisingly, the game features six-player co-op, so all of your friends who are TMNT fans can get in on the fun. It’s a near-perfect beat ’em up that succeeds at precisely what it was out to achieve and shouldn’t be overlooked because of that. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It’s even on Xbox Game Pass, so it’s easy to try out if you’re curious.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and Persona 5 Strikers, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes incorporates enough elements from the game it’s based on and tells a compelling enough story to stand on its own. Fire Emblem mechanics such as permadeath, distinct character classes and abilities, and support conversations combined with the high-octane Musou action players have come to expect from Koei Tecmo’s Musou games to make something special.
“This is a high-effort hack-and-slash that convincingly functions as a full-fledged sequel to Fire Emblem: Three Houses,” gaming editor Giovanni Colantonio wrote in its four-star Digital Trends review. “While its core action gets repetitive due to a lack of overall variety, there are plenty of familiar RPG hooks around it that keep the adventure engaging. For those who want a good reason to revisit the land of Fódlan, Three Hopes is much deeper than a reunion special.”
The game’s narrative, in particular, stands out as Three Houses’ protagonist Byleth is now the villain. Like Three Houses, You can also play Three Hopes multiple times over if you want to see the story from each house’s perspective. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is available now for Nintendo Switch. If you want to try it, a free demo with several hours’ worth of content is available on the eShop.
Poinpy
Poinpy | Official Game Trailer | Netflix
Poinpy is much more obscure than the other games on this list because it’s tucked away as a Netflix exclusive for iOS and Android. If you search for it in the Games tab of your Netflix app on mobile, you’ll be able to jump to the App Store and Google Play Store and download it. If you go through the effort to do all that, you’ll find a simple but enthralling mobile game about collecting fruit to keep a monster at bay as you continuously climb to escape it.
It’s from the creator of the challenging but equally satisfying Downwell. Instead of descending into a dark and dreary well, Poinpy is a much more cute and colorful experience where your focus is on launching your character up to collect fruit and escape. A monster is always chasing you, so you’ll have to collect certain combinations of fruit to feed it and keep it at bay. Once you get the hang of swiping to jump and tapping your phone to stomp into the ground, you won’t want to put Poinpy down.
Netflix’s video game initiative hasn’t quite caught on yet, which is why Poinpy is relatively obscure. If Netflix can keep delivering games of this quality, people will start to notice. Poinpy is available now for iOS and Android via Netflix. Simply get a Netflix subscription, and you’ll be able to access the game without any ads or microtransactions.
Neon White
NEON WHITE | Launch Trailer
Neon White presents itself as a first-person shooter with an edgy story and intense platforming, but it really just wants you to have a good time. This game is about a bunch of criminals trying to earn their place in heaven by competing in a contest to kill the most demons. As you do this, you’ll be platforming around heavenly levels and taking out demons with guns that come from cards strewn about the level. It’s an odd mix of genres, but it works.
“Neon White takes some big swings with its card-shooter/platformer premise and fortunately doesn’t miss,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in his four-star Neon White review. “Its execution-heavy action is wildly fast and fun, pushing players to complete complex demon-slaying gauntlets that pepper in exciting twists through the game’s last moments.”
Neon White will be up your alley if you love games like Mirror’s Edge and Clustertruck that challenge your first-person platforming skills. Visual novel fans will get a kick out of the game, too, thanks to its compelling story about who deserves forgiveness and gift system that lets the player unlock extra conversations and memories with Neon White’s supporting cast. Neon White is available now for PC and Nintendo Switch.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative
AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES - nirvanA Initiative Gameplay Trailer
A follow-up to a 2019 cult classic mystery adventure game, AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative has been a low-key critical darling this month. Sitting at an 85 on Metacritic, fans of the Danganronpa series or other similar anime-inspired games should check AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative out. In it, you’re trying to track down a serial killer who is literally tearing people in half.
To find out who did this, you must investigate the crime scene to look for evidence and delve into people’s minds to extract more information that could help with the case. Its intense anime stylings and frequent innuendo-filled jokes aren’t for everyone, but if AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative, it could scratch that detective gaming itch and be one of your favorites of the year.
AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative is available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Card Shark
Card Shark - Release Date Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Like Neon White, Card Shark puts a spin on the card game formula. Instead of blending shooting and platforming mechanics, Card Shark is all about cheating at traditional card games with different tactics. It’s also a beautiful game, as Card Shark is styled after the paintings from 18th century France, where the game is set.
“Card Shark is one of the most inventive video games I’ve played this year, completely spinning the concept of genre on its head,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote about the game earlier this month. “Despite having cards, I can’t really call it a 'card game.' It’s an unclassifiable title that’s more about finding a compelling way to turn real-world sleight of hand into engaging gameplay. Whenever I could successfully pull off a trick without arousing too much suspicion, I felt like an overconfident mastermind.”
If you enjoy card games (or maybe want to pick up a few cheating tricks of your own), Card Shark is worth checking out on PC or Nintendo Switch. While it’s been somewhat forgotten as it came out early in the month ahead of Summer Game Fest, it helps show that times of the year that are considered quiet by many gamers can contain some of its best games.

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Overwatch 2 is going free-to-play. Here’s why
Wrecking ball and his ball mech.

Overwatch 2 is going free-to-play this October. The upcoming competitive shooter from an embattled Activision Blizzard was expected to launch in 2023, but we learned that it was coming a bit earlier than expected and would be free during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12. Still, this is a shocking shift for one of Blizzard's biggest franchises and one that has a lot of implications for the pace of updates and new content. Ahead of a livestream that gives more details about the free-to-play shift, Digital Trends spoke to some members of the development team, including Game Director Aaron Keller and Overwatch VP and Commerical Lead Jon Spector, to learn why exactly the Overwatch 2 team decided to embrace free-to-play.
Overwatch 2: Reveal Event | June 16
The best option
At launch on October 4, Overwatch 2 players can expect three new heroes (including a support character teased in the release date trailer), six new maps, over 30 new skins (including a mythic skin for Genji), the Push game mode, and the game's first battle pass. Barring any issues that cause the team to reschedule, the second season will begin on December 6 and introduce another new tank, a new map, and a battle pass with over 30 new skins. More heroes, maps, modes, and the PvE story campaign will start to roll out throughout 2023.
Blizzard plans to make seasons last nine weeks, with three or four new heroes added yearly. If you play games like Apex Legends or Valorant, this cadence of releases should be familiar to you. Keller and Spector claim that other successful free-to-play games aren't what caused Blizzard to make this shift. Instead, they say factors like lowering the barrier of entry for interested players and not wanting to hold on to finished content played a part in Overwatch 2 going free-to-play.

"We don't want to develop things and try to pool it together into a big box release; we'd rather just put content out when it's ready and do it as quickly as we can," Keller says. "As we kept working on some of the more innovative gameplay for the PvE side of Overwatch 2, it meant that it was going to take longer for any of our PvP features to go public. We want to release stuff as frequently as we can, but it was taking us too long to be able to get it in front of our players."
The original Overwatch has floundered since it stopped getting significant content updates in 2020 so Blizzard could focus on Overwatch 2. By releasing the sequel as a free-to-play game this year, that long wait ends -- and players won't have to worry about it happening again for a long time. The developers also stressed that Overwatch 2 would feel more like a sequel than an update when it launches, thanks to the new content and rework into 5v5 matches. Spector explains that many systems fell in place simultaneously, like cross-play, cross-progression, and the seasonal model, so it made sense to lower the barriers to entry and launch free-to-play this year.
"We are dedicated to putting out content frequently and consistently in perpetuity."

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R improves an already great fighting game
Jotaro Kujo stands before a battle in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R.

While Street Fighter 6 was the talk of the show floor at Summer Game Fest Play Days, another fighting game also managed to impress me at the event. That title was JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R, a fighting game based on the popular and heavily-memed anime and manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The original JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle was first released in Japan in 2013, scoring a rare perfect score from the popular Japanese outlet Famitsu. Anime fighting games vary wildly in quality, but this was considered one of the better ones thanks to its thoughtful and rewarding gameplay.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R continues that game's legacy as an enhanced remaster that does more than visually update the game and turn servers back. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R adds in new characters, voice acting, and gameplay tweaks that almost make it feel like a different game. In the years since the 2013 game this is based on came out, both JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and the fighting game genre got a lot more popular. Thankfully, my demo showed that this fighting game has only gotten better with age.
To be continued 
Although JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R didn't get a remake-level visual overhaul, fans should still appreciate many of the graphical tweaks and just how pretty this game is. Even though I was playing a PS4, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R was one of the best-looking games at Summer Game Fest Play Days. The anime already has an extremely distinct art style and features a cast of overly-muscular characters, so it transitions to a fighting game almost perfectly. Pulling off special moves that you've seen in the manga and anime or calling out a stand yourself is super satisfying, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R will show them in all of their extremely detailed glory.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R - Early Access Demo
Even the voiceovers and character models got updates to match the voice acting and styles fans will remember from the anime. We don't get many video games based on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, so it's nice to see this one put in extra care to respect the source material and improve upon the original release. That said, graphics will only get you so far in a fighting game. It's the gameplay mechanics that really ensure a fighting game lives or dies.
Thankfully, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R is a lot of fun to play.
The 2013 original was a 3D fighting game that plays more like Virtua Fighter than Jump Force. The standard attacks, combo, block, and dodge moves to be expected from fighting games are here, but characters can also summon their stands and basically get a second fighter to attack and zone with. Fights also have some other cute oddities, like having an assist character to strengthen some of your attacks or being able to taunt the other player when they are knocked down to take away some of their special meter gauges. That taunt feature specifically is not only hilarious but feels very JoJo and adds palpable benefits to what's usually just a visual gag in fighting games.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R does add a couple of new gameplay additions that players will definitely notice, including hit stops and jump dashes that give that game more competitive depth, as well as flash cancels that let players quickly cancel their current combo if they don't want to change their approach or the moves they are using

I didn't have enough time to kit out and learn combos and how to string them together, but I can clearly recognize just how these features will positively deepen JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R's meta. With auto combos for new players and revitalized online play too, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R hopefully won't have a problem attracting new JoJo's Bizzare Adventure fans to this fighting game. Whether you enjoyed the original release or want to see what a good JoJo's Bizarre Adventure game looks like, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R should be on your radar. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R launches for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch on September 2. If you want to try it before then, a demo is available on PS4 and PS5 until June 21.

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