10 Main Reasons Why Street Fighter 5 Was Disappointing
To anyone looking for a comparison to what Street Fighter V feels like right now, just imagine if Konami released Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and then patched in all of Phantom Pain a few months later. Because barring the size and scope differences, in terms of general consumer mentality, the consensus on Capcom’s latest is very much that of thousands screaming, “Where the hell is my game?!
10. No Standard Vs. CPU Mode
There are some things that certain genres simply must do. Platformers need a jump button, first-person shooters need weapons, and fighting games need a basic vs. CPU mode. It’s that simple.
This omission has been the biggest go-to for fans and critics since the game’s release, as it’s positively baffling why you wouldn’t just have the standard three-round versus setup; one that’s been a genre staple for 30 years now. Some fans have posited that you can head into the Training mode and set the dummy up to represent an A.I. fight, swapping characters and various regimens until you’re satisfied, but you literally shouldn’t have to. You shouldn’t have to find a workaround for a mode that’s been in this series for almost 30 years.
Fighting games need vs. CPU options with tweakable options for everything from difficulty to round time and arena-selection – anything less and we’re only walking backwards.
9. Losing Online Character Select Is Just… Weird
If you’ve been playing Street Fighter for any length of time, chances are you’ll already identify yourself in fan circles by the character you play. You’re either ‘a Ryu or Ken guy’, a ‘Dhalsim guy’ or even an ‘Akuma guy’ if you’re feeling fancy. To that end, SF V’s online mode attempts to expedite getting in and out of matches by losing character selection before every fight, instead seeing you choose a preferred fighter as part of your profile and having them appear by default as you boot into a match.
Such a thing was always going to be a divisive idea – so why not have it be an option to toggle on and off? The very nature of changing decades-worth of how we play could be a step in the right direction, but you can’t force everybody down the same path right away, if ever.
Plus, nobody other than seasoned SF-veterans are even going to approach the game with a specific character in mind anyway, so to put it on the shoulders of those who have no idea what the differences between characters are just feels off-putting.
8. No Arcade Ladder, And ‘Story’ Takes Minutes To Complete
For years we’ve watched fighting games dance two jigs at once; starting out with universally-included Arcade ladders (the mode being named after its physical existence, no less) and advancing to the sorts of landmark story portrayals seen in 2011’s Mortal Kombat.
For SFV, it seems that multi-decade long tradition of providing the consumer with an arcade mode and Story is being changed – by removing both almost altogether. The story mode on offer right now (a paltry stand-in for a ‘cinematic’ version apparently coming in June, yes, June) will literally take you minutes to get through. Comprised of a handful of one-round battles with no difficulty modifiers and only a few slides of static artwork to bridge them, you can rattle through all 16 fighters’ ‘narratives’ in an afternoon, if that.
Back to the arcade mode, and there just isn’t one. The nearest thing you can get to fighting multiple opponents in quick-succession is Survival, and even that is a mode that’s always existed alongside these other requirements. Because for some genres, especially the freakin’ KING of certain genres, these additions aren’t luxuries or tacked-on extras – they are 100% required for the sake of the series’ reputation.
7. Crippling Server Issues (Obviously)
Yes yes, “In other news, grass is still green and we need oxygen to survive” – such has become the state of any online game in the current age, that ‘launch day woes’ are not only expected, but delivered upon with a level of certainty that’s become truly worrying.
Street Fighter V even tested – multiple times – a newly-named ‘Kagemusha netcode’ that was supposed to revolutionise the way we’d get and stay connected. If it had gone well, to some degree you might, might be able to brush off the other negatives here, in favour of watching Capcom hang their hat on such a defining lag-free feature.
6. No In-Depth Tutorials Or Challenge Mode
Although the game boots you into a laughably basic tutorial mode as soon as you fire it up, following that there’s no way to find a character and really take the time to learn them inside out, as was the case through SF IV’s Challenge Mode.
Basically, although standard Street Fighter play is relatively easy to get to grips with but incredibly hard to master – and the fact that this newest entry will get thousands of new players in – we really needed a mode that showcased special attacks and combos, Ultras and the new V-Mechanics in abundance.
No Challenge mode means there’s no way to tell the game you’d like to run through a number of attacks or specials before being celebrated for pulling them off, and it’s an attitude of “Oh… you’ll figure it out” that’ll extends across the many hours you’ll first invest. There’s just nothing weirder for newcomers than buying the next entry in a landmark fighting franchise, only to find there’s no way of learning the ropes other than being beaten up against them
5. Some MAJOR Roster Omissions
It’s always good to trim the fat and make a point of forcing your fanbase to check out the new additions to any fighting game’s roster – but the problem with Street Fighter V’s, is that it’s just too small.
Newcomers like R. Mika and Rashid certainly play well enough, but at this point in the series’ history, there are some omissions you can’t make, without annoying literally thousands of people who have been playing with the same character for decades.
From SF IV’s 44-character strong rollout, we now only have 16 (a move that was most likely intended to reinforce the idea of the V-System for differentiation, but more on that later), as series veterans are cast to the wayside. Guys like Akuma, Sagat, Blanka etc. are most assuredly returning in the future (and for free, if Capcom keep their word), but for now you’ll have to settle with forcing yourself into liking the new guys instead.
4. V-System/Mechanics Is A Great Idea… Terribly Implemented
Street Fighter is a delicate high-wire balancing act watched by millions – one where both performers must retain full awareness of everything around them, and tweaking but one small part of the routine is immediately noticeable to all in attendance.
As such, SFV introduces some game-changing features as part of the a new ‘V-System’; a trio of mechanics including a ‘Skill’, ‘Trigger’ and a ‘Reversal’, all of which will have different status effects on the character of choice. For the first time in years, Capcom have made more effort than ever to differentiate each character, an example being that only Ryu can parry by burning his V-Skill.
Thing is… the game doesn’t showcase these abilities whatsoever. There’s absolutely no way to bring up a list of them all with a place to try them out. Instead you’ll have them performed on you or trigger them by accident far more than you’ll ever be aware of what you’re doing. Certain V-mechanics increase damage or, in the case of Ken, let you run across the arena faster than your opponent, folding back into the ‘lack of tutorial’ point, as this hugely important addition should’ve been front and centre as the reason for newcomers and seasoned vets alike to get involved.
3. Going Online-Only Reeks Of Targeting The E-Sports Crowd
Maybe there’s a bigger paradigm shift going on than we’re aware of. Maybe e-sports interest and online play positively dominates anything even barely resembling single player to such a degree where Street Fighter can release and still get by on its online multiplayer alone.
I mean… it worked for Rocket League, right? Ain’t nobody playing the offline portion of that game.
However, you need only look to the fact Capcom’s Pro Tour is coming in March, to realise they really needed their grade-A game to front all the marketing materials leading up to it. Yes, the tourny takes place for many months across the year, but being they’re unveiling registration details now – alongside the fact any competitors will need as much time as possible to get in digital shape – lays the blame of SFV’s early release squarely at the feet of Capcom themselves.
What’s the one part of SFV that’s received the most attention in development, regardless of actual server performance at launch? The online capabilities.
From researching new ways to make lag a thing of the past, to searching for match replays through a cool archive system, such a direction would be completely fine, if Capcom weren’t charging full price for something that only takes a major leap forward in one very specific way.
2. Certain Key Features Aren’t Even Live Yet
Having a substantial lack of modes is one thing, but when you’ve got functionality so half-baked that the consumer can see the seams in between two given parts, it really doesn’t paint a very good picture.
As such, the entire store functionality is something that – although tied to the currency you can earn or even purchase with real-world cash (because of course you can) – remains an inclusion to be patched in next month. You’ll literally be told you’ve unlocked ‘new content’… that you have to wait on until it can be bought from a storefront that isn’t live yet.
In addition, everything is tied to a server connection. No connection means no unlocks get registered, which means even if you do want to pursue unlockables from the Story mode or battle through Survival, if the server’s go down at the moment those accolades would get ‘cashed in’, you’ll have to do it all over again. The Survival mode will even boot you back to the main menu, no matter how much progress you’ve made, if it can’t perform a server-side check.
Such an interdependent system has no place in a world without flawless internet, which is most likely impossible worldwide. It’s just baffling, because you can argue that costume colours and optional unlocks are not what people come to Street Fighter for, but the sheer fact you even have to make that defence in the first place, in 2016, for Street Fighter V of all games, speaks volumes.
1. It Should’ve Been Released In March (Or Maybe Even June)
The biggest reason Street Fighter feels disappointing comes from all the of the above, but mainly because Capcom have been very open about everything that’s coming further down the line. We know March will bring another character and a bunch of updates in terms of (hopefully) detailing how to play for newcomers, and we know June will herald in a full Story mode. In between these two things (and there’ll be more specific ‘packs’ of content coming, too) the online mode will get more stable, other bugs and glitches will be smoothed over, and SFV will become a far more ‘full’ game.
The following question then, can be applied to Destiny after-the-fact, MGS: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain and the upcoming Hitman; would we rather wait longer for a complete game, no matter how long it takes, or buy what the developers have put together at a given point in time, seeing them iterate over the coming months?
The very idea of Early Access is built around this mentality; paying top dollar for a given game, and watching it come together in the future – the mentality going in (and that’s key here) being that what you’re buying is only a first step.
In Street Fighter V’s case, and where all of this gets real sour, real fast, comes from selling what should be classified as an Early Access title for full price, off reputation alone.