Even though this isn’t a Takes the Mic segment, there will be some real stuff said. You might be wondering if this gonna be another disgruntled Street Fighter fan ranting and raving? Yup. So pop a squat, get comfortable and get ready for what the scouter says.
So first off, I’m pretty sure no matter when I have this piece posted, it will beat out the April update & character. Now down to brass tax; it’s been roughly two months since the release date of the duke of all fighting games has graced this current console generation. (There may have been some sarcasm in that last line.) To both summarize & state the obvious, SF5 is a game solely geared towards competitive play with next to nothing to offer casual players. Launch was (and still is) the BAREST of bones in terms of content & it bundled with issues. No arcade mode or any timetable on if and when there will be one. No trails, no tutorials, no versus CPU option -- outside of training mode -- and no story mode for 3 months. This isn’t even including modes and features that would be perks, like time attack, world tour, palette edits and the like. You’re left with a shallow ‘story mode’ and a monotonous survival mode to entertain anyone that doesn’t want to veer into online play. However, the connectivity needed to be worked on in the first week, with only 2 player lobbies and, of course, a whole nation of rage quitters had gone unchecked. I’m not even including the head scratchers like player 2 doesn’t have control on the menus, no option to choose your character online each match, run through survival PER COSTUME to unlock colors, etc, etc.
Even though the sky is falling for us players; there are some saving graces for this game. The mechanics are recognized and praised for being both intuitive & deep; I’ve experienced a collective sigh of relief in the FGC acknowledging that this installment is different & more approachable than Ultra. The overall roster is diverse & strong; I honestly don’t see anyone below B tier in this game. The soundtrack is amazing (you already know what comes to mind first). The option of unlocking game content for free is given to us via the fight money (although, it really should’ve been Bison dollars). Capcom is working as hard as they can (even though it may not look it) to bring this game up to snuff. Unfortunately, the reality is that this was a game that released 2-3 months earlier than it should have been because Capcom wanted to kick off their Pro Tour. That’s all well & dandy, up until the casual fans -- those players that you break bank on in your first month -- learn that your game is this content deprived. It looks even worse when you remember that Sony helped get them to this point. Even though I’m sympathetic towards Capcom’s Crapcom state of affairs, it’s still no excuse. These are just the problems of the world today.
Before I address the March updates, let me circle back to the Bison dollars since I started figuring out it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on during this time. The brunt of fight money opportunity is leveling up the cast of characters with small bonuses from clearing things like story, trails, survival, in addition to winning ranked matches which exacerbates the issue with rage quitting. Grinding isn’t a problem, but there are far too few ways to earn this in-game currency right now. It’s a 1,000 earned per level up and 100,000 cost for a character, 40,000 for a costume, 70,000 for a stage and so on… you guys can do the math.
Onto Mr. 3rd Strike himself and the March patch. Cracked down on some glitch bugs and option selects, cool. Alex shakes out to be what the fans would expect, awesome. Getting trials, demonstrations, the store, 8 player lobbies, 2/3 ranked match, nice. Still no answer to rage quits and no zenny system… wait, what? To compensate for this monkey wrench, we get a couple of free costumes & all DLC characters are free until they get the real money currency running... which means that Capcom doesn’t even know when they’ll have it up. All of this came during the last days of March. So if the next monthly updates are sooner, say the 19th, it appears like progress and convenience. If it’s on the 30th again, then you say "well, it’s exactly a month apart, so it’s technically on time." Then, hardly a week later, Alex has a game breaking glitch…
The only thing going for this game right now is a competent, top-notch meta fit for arguably the strongest tournament fighter. Now you got your first DLC character snapbacking patches on the entire roster. What’s left currently? It certainly isn’t challenging combo trails. The glitch will get patched, forgotten and something else will pop up that will make us smack our foreheads, but these missteps are happening too often & the timing couldn't be worse for it to happen. The casual audience has already diminished. This is a really bad sign with the current affairs and state of Capcom; it’s not even greed because they can’t even figure out how to take in real money with this game yet… it’s just them screwing up. Remember back when I said the ball’s in Capcom’s court? Well, they just got rejected BY the rim. All this takes me back to the days of Street Fighter X Tekken amidst all the headaches with DLC and gems. You’re trashing the game right? Stop and ask yourself this, where else are you going to play an active Street Fighter? You want to migrate back to SF4, 3rd Strike, Super Turbo... fine, but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone to play with, let alone active competition. Game companies, in this case Capcom, hold all the cards for a franchise. Otherwise, go take your chances on something fan made or pray for a robust spiritual successor. So if you really want to pair up Chun-li and Hwoarang against Jin and Poison, suck it up because this is the hand we’ve been dealt.
After reading all that, you might be curious as to what makes this post different from the thousands of crying SF players? I’ll offer some insight and a heading… in the form of April’s update. It’s my first time with this game that I embraced my inner fanboy when I saw the classic USA stage and the veteran getting down to business. Rage quitting is finally being addressed with a timeout punishment (of sorts). If you ask me, counting a quit as a loss and awarding the spoils to the other player is all you need to suffice, but there just needs to be some sort of reprimand at this point. We are entering into the target area when SF5 was supposed to be released, so we might start seeing what the game should be. There are still so many glaring holes that need to be filled, though, and I don’t see it happening until late in the year. SF5 could very well be heading down the path of KI rather than SFxT. Because it’s the latest Street Fighter installment, the FGC will bear with the growing pains, not abandon it.
So with all that said… who’s ready for Guile?