Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Street Fighter V, Initial Impressions

I picked up my Street Fighter V preorder for my Playstation 4 on Tuesday to little fanfare from my local Gamestop. It's not like they opened early, or did a midnight release - it's not like it's Call of Duty or Madden. The employee on duty had to try to work me real hard on the protection program and SFV's season pass to no avail. Thankfully, my kids know better than to use game discs as drink coasters thanks to other people's bad example. Also, why do I need a season pass for a game that swears you can earn enough in-game points to unlock all future characters? Do I look like a guy that cares about costumes? The employee didn't even notice that I was wearing my15th Anniversary Edtion Street Fighter T-shirt from 2004. (Or, maybe he did notice, and that's why he asked me about the season pass.)

What do you get for preordering the non-premium version of the game? You get an alternate costume for Ryu, the game's main character. On reddit, in the /r/streetfighter subreddit, they've been referring to this costume as "Sexy Ryu".

Unfortunately, the Gamestop employee had to ruin this for me by referring to this as the Chuck Norris version of Ryu.

Once you load up the game, you can start right away in offline mode, but you can't earn any of the game's in-game points. Meanwhile, you have a 6 Gigabyte download in the background for the 1.01 patch. I don't care who you are, that's going to take a while. After that installs, you can connect the the online mode. If you don't have Playstation Plus, you can't fight against other people online, but even if you don't have plus you still need to be logged in and connected to earn the in-game currency that you can spend on the characters as they release.

It's still Street Fighter, but it might feel unfamiliar. The animation is nice, although sometimes the characters have odd crosshatched textures to them like they're trying to crawl out of the pages of a comic book. The dynamic camera moves smoothly from showing the character entrances to the match. With the subtle changes made to input buffering, combo execution is much more consistent. However, all of the characters have had significant changes to their combos and some have had changes made to their specials. Chun-Li had the input for her Hyakuretsukyaku changed to a quarter circle motion plus a kick. (You used to just mash the kick button repeatedly until it started, but Capcom has been trying to remove special move inputs that could be adversely affected by network latency.) Personally, I like how they changed it because that move can also now be performed mid-air when it couldn't be before. Vega had all of his special move inputs changed. You can check all of the moves here. There's no Arcade mode right now. There's no Story Mode until after you download the patch. (Well, Street Fighter never had Story Mode at all before, so maybe that's something in and of itself.) The Survival Mode seems to have inconsistent computer AI difficulty. PC users are upset about a lack of controller compatibility and no button mapping utility. The one thing that's supposed to be working really well right now is online multiplayer, but since that's not a concern for me just yet, I haven't tried it.

Here's my list of suggestions:

  • If you're going to play Street Fighter V against other people, don't wait. Hit the books now, learn the new moves and mechanics. If you need anything in the way of controllers I would suggest looking at what Hori has to offer. This goes double if you play with a pad instead of a stick - the Hori FC4 is fantastic compared to the MadCatz SFIV pads and works with PS3 and PS4. If you're playing on PC and have controllers that worked on XBox 360, those probably still work now.
  • If you're not going to play Street Fighter V against other people but you do really want to play it, give it a month. Alex, the first of the DLC characters, is supposed to be released in March, along with more single player content.
  • If you're going to play Street Fighter V against other people for money, go get in a time machine and go back to June 2015 and play the beta version more.
  • If you listen to a lot of Carly Simon, you might think that this bullet list is about you. Don't you? Don't you?
My older son and I have played it quite a bit both yesterday evening and this evening, and while he used to main T. Hawk, he is now in the process of picking someone else since T. Hawk isn't currently in the lineup. I thought he was going to go to another grappler, but flashy (fleshy?) female wrestler R. Mika didn't really work for him at first. He did have some success with Necali (sort of a grappler?) and Rashid (totally not a grappler), though. If those guys don't work for him he might just wait for Namco to release Pokken next month. My younger son played it a little bit yesterday, and he didn't last long because Vega didn't work the way he expected but he may be switching to Zangief. I am getting the hang of Ken, who didn't really change that much, and I'm really digging Karin Kanzuki but I am probably going to rotate through all of the characters for a while so I can learn what each character's capabilities are.

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