Street Fighter V - A New Generation

With Street Fighter V around the corner, we have newcomers that are excited, and old-timers that are approaching the new game with a certain trepidation.  I think for the professionals they’re worried about change, a big change.  They’re comfortable plinking their jabs, option selecting enemy wakeups, and are worried that a new game where the highest level of execution is too low will keep them from having fun with the game.

This is really a fear of losing. Losing to “bullshit”, or “newb” tactics.  I believe on the other hand, where players have to assess the risk to reward of certain actions on the fly during a match, where they need to really commit, where they can’t hide behind perfectly safe plinked jabs and option selects for every scenario, will weed out the truly good players from the rest.  This will happen all while keeping the game fun for the initiates.  That being said, who knows?  This game may find itself plunged into a new metagame where players have found new ways to exploit the mechanics.

Anyway, as far as what we expect with this major version of Street Fighter I have built my own list.  This list is what I have come to reasonably expect from SFV.  Not just based on the last few games from Capcom, but from the fighting game genre in general.  The past 5+ years have seen some real changes to the formula from ported arcade game with limited modes to a feature rich at-home experience.  I think Street Fighter really needs to take a big jump into the “feature rich at-home experience” end of the spectrum.

Again, this isn’t a wish list. This is what I’m expecting for my money nowadays from a new Street Fighter.

Street Fighter V’s General Features

  • Game as a Platform - Unlike the SFIV, or MVC3, this game should operate as a platform.  An ever-expanding roster, balance updates, stages, and modes should all be able to be delivered digitally through the in-game storefront.  This will minimize splitting of the fan base because some folks have an old version - a problem with the SFIV series.  Another major problem with the SFIV series was the extended time periods between balance updates, meaning we had to play a somewhat broken game for extended periods of time.

    Day 1 Impression: Time will tell on this one. We currently have a release schedule of content and features through the better part of 2016, but a lot of those features should have been in the original release.

  • Stunning Graphics - I know SFIV is getting really long in the tooth, and it had a specific art style going for it, but it is really looking dated compared to newer games.  The PS4 version of SFIV did offer some welcome visual enhancements to give it that extra year or so of life, but it’s time has passed.  The graphics in the SFV beta were very underwhelming, but it is just a beta after all.  Still, those graphics really need to be turned up for the commercial release of the game.  Even though MKX has a different art style, it manages to wow us with the character models, animations, costumes and even the stages.  SFV really needs to bring it’s A game in the graphics department.

    Day 1 Impression ?: I have to admit, at least on the PS4, the graphics are definitely underwhelming. When it comes to stages the characters in the background tend to be animated at a much lower framerate and with very low poly counts. Worse still are the shadows the characters cast on themselves. These shadows are weirdly cross-hatched or dotted and it looks like a bug. On the positive side, the character designs are the most refined we’ve seen to date for Chun Li, Cammy and Zangief. Although Ken looks really weird, I think having Ken and Ryu’s looks and style continue to diverge can only be a good thing. The main menu/UI is also clean and simple for another plus.

  • Enhanced Training Mode - Players should be able to “tag” moves or extended combos for display while in training.  This should behave just like it does in MKX where it flips display when the character is on the other side of the screen.

    Day 1 Impression ?: There are quite a few options for training mode with everything carrying over from SFIV. The problem is, it’s still not easy to tag moves to display while I practice, and it’s several clicks in to find them. Good for pros, not good for making it easy for new players to get acclimated. Additionally the move list doesn’t have any frame data - this is the modern age, come on!

Street Fighter V’s Local Modes and Features

  • Story Mode - At this point, now that we’ve all played MK9, Injustice, and MKX… SFV really needs to raise the bar on its story mode.  An overall storyline where players are given a chance to play as most of the cast, learning about their motivations and learning their fighting styles is imperative for building the next generation of Street Fighter fans.  The little anime still pictures of 1991 just don’t cut it anymore.

    Day 1 Impression ?: The game actually released with extremely short vignettes for the characters. The art is stylized, however, the quality inconsistent. Some limbs are sickeningly narrow and malformed and some faces and expressions are well done.

  • Unlockables - I believe this is consistent with the history of fighting games.  There should be sound modes, concept art, costumes, whatever that are unlockable.  MKX went above and beyond when they made the Krypt - but I don’t think SF fans are expecting something that sophisticated.  Nonetheless there should be an extended set of collectibles and unlockables to add a layer to the game.  Thankfully, I believe SFV is already on that path with Fight Money.

    Day 1 Impression ?: The game launched with unlockable story costumes and colors for completing the single player content. However the shop is totally offline at this time.

  • Trials and Challenges - The offline experience should offer not just trials like we got in SFIV, but challenges as well.  These were an interesting and fun part of the original SFIV game, where there were fights where you couldn’t jump, or you had to win within a certain amount of time, etc.  Soul Caliber also had game modes where you climb towers facing various unique challenges along the way.

    Day 1 Impression ?: This feature was totally unavailable shortly after unlocking and installing the game.

  • Stages - There should be plenty of stages, ideally a stage for each character.  12 stages at minimum.

    Day 1 Impression ?: Of course it launches with just 11 stages - one of them being the training stage. Also, when showing us the game for the first time they showed us an interactive stage that extends or changes if a character is beaten in the corner. However, this was basically an empty promise since of the 11 stages it is still the only one to feature that functionality.

Street Fighter V’s Online Modes and Features

Day 1 Impression ?:

Online modes were not available following the midnight launch with error 2100d appearing over and over. There appear to be several glitched trophies so far, with trophy syncing failing at times. Two glitched trophies popped for me when I manually synced them.

  • General Netcode - Online matches should be able to run at least as well as SFIV on the 360.  There’s really no excuse after having several betas on PS4 for a PS4-to-PS4 match to be laggy because of the netcode.  There are of course knuckleheads on wifi or high ping players living far from you, good netcode can’t resolve those issues.  By and large though, players should be able to easily find online matches with minimal latency.
  • Matchmaking - SFV needs to retain a good sense of a player’s ability, so that players can be matched up with other players that constantly push them to new heights without just throwing them in the deep end.  MKX got this particular one extremely wrong.
  • Matchmaking Filters - When searching for either ranked or player matches we need to be able to filter by latency, country of origin, language spoken, custom rulesets, etc.  These searches should run relatively quickly as well.
  • Instant Rematch - We’ve been asking for this one forever. MKX already has it. If this option is not available in player matches, then somebody should jump into traffic.

    Day 1 Impression ?: You can actually configure rooms for “sets” so that kind of acts as a quick rematch. We’ll have to see if a real “quick rematch” is part of the enhanced online mode.

  • Online Training - Getting in the lab and practicing is a big part of getting better at SF.  Being able to practice in real online lag, not simulated, with a real person instead of an AI is really important - especially since the majority of folks will be playing online.

    Day 1 Impression ?: Online Training was not available Day 1, and has not been announced.

  • Spectating - When MVC3 launched, Super SFIV had already been out for almost a year with its various online modes and spectator options. This made MVC3’s omission of spectating while waiting in the lobby a slap in the face to fans.

    Day 1 Impression ?: Spectating was not available Day 1. In fact, lobbies couldn’t have more than 2 players.

  • Custom Lobbies - Player matches should be able to be set up using whatever rulesets players want: number of rounds, health options, no stun, etc. Whatever options are available in practice mode should be available when setting up lobbies.  This allows fans to extend their use of the game for whatever purpose they need - which adds a lot of replay value.
  • Fight Request - They must continue the arcade/practice mode with fight request feature.  This is an easy way for players to keep warm and to always be fighting, allowing the system to find the best match on their behalf.

    Day 1 Impression ?: SFV actually managed to set this feature up in a way that makes sense. You can go to your battle settings, pick the platforms and latency settings you want to filter fights for. The problem with day one, and this applies to all online features, I couldn’t get a single fight online today.

Hopefully they will deliver all of this and more.  Capcom should have a few Aces up their sleeve to drop on us as the game comes out. On the flip side, I really don’t want to hear any excuses about why SFV couldn’t hit these marks - especially the “this is a new game” or “wait for the next version, they might release that feature”.

Day 1

So day one was really rough. Online basically doesn’t work, along with several offline features like the shop and trials/challenges. It looks like just a few days before the launch, Capcom released a schedule outlining how they were going to string out the release of features which amounts to a bait and switch.

Ongoing Bugs