Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Street Fighter 5 - Server Crashes. No CPU Arcade. Why Buy?

Street Fighter V is broken.

When Capcom has to create a Twitter handle specifically for server issues the day of release, you know it's not a good sign. When the game's producer, Yoshinori Ono, apologizes for the problems, that's doubly bad.

Opening day for Street Fighter V was much anticipated after a quiet few years of the gaming giant. But it came with a bang of server errors and lack of content that have left a number of fans disappointed. This is Capcom. For them to release something this riddled with problems is unheard of. On a Street Fighter game no less! They have a strong history of releasing quality products. I'm not talking about the game content, rather they ensure games are released that have little to no bugs, glitches, whatever it may be. You know you are buying a game that works.

Even I'm surprised at this turn of events given that I saw #5 at PAX South and it seemed to be working just fine. But! Those were not global internet matches. And only a few players were accessible. And it was a controlled environment. Other then, it looked nice. I enjoy the update to the watercolor art and some of the new character moves (though others may disagree).

Gamers have been reaming Capcom with bad reviews of #5 over Steam, Metacritic, and everywhere in between.

What's been going on that's causing so much ire?

To start, Capcom pulled a Sim City reboot on us and made most of the game content online only. Even as a number of paid reviewers are praising the game, they too feel slighted that there is no solid Single Player or Arcade mode. You can do character stories, like in prior versions of Street Fighter, but that lasts for 4 fights. Yep. Four. Fights. You don't have the option to play tournament style where you can go against all 16 characters.

Four fights. And then you have to go online if you want to keep playing. That's a huge misstep on Capcom's part.

Some PC users have sent in tech support requests that their Fighter ID would become corrupted after a few online matches. Your Fighter ID is like your PSN or XBox gamer tag. It holds all of your stats. If you are someone who cares about your stats or you're a pro-gamer, that's a big problem where simply remaking a new ID doesn't resolve it.

Even some of the basic features that any PC game should have, such as like language selection/support, are not available. The game detects your language based off your boot system files and there are no options to change it. Awesome.

And then there are the servers themselves. The lack of external beta testing of the servers was icing on the cake of fail. (Note: I'm sure they tested servers internally. But when you have a game of this scale with mostly online content, releasing with potentially hundreds of thousands of people wanting to play at once, you have to break outside your 100-500 man development team to test. It's just common sense at this point. Given the number of server stability problems, it's clear that they didn't do this. In fact, we would have known that they had done this! I would have gotten my butt onto beta testing and posted about it. I have a soft spot for Street Fighter. It's my childhood.)

Because of this forced online mode, gamers have not been unable to log in and play. They paid for a $59.99 game that is virtually unusable at this time. 

On the upside, if you don't finish a match because of server issues booting you from the game, you're not penalized. There is that...not that it resolves the lack of Arcade or Single Player mode to a depth and quality we expect from Street Fighter. But broken servers will not damage your online score.

I was able to play for roughly two hours before I gave up. The servers were just too much of a bear to handle waiting, and waiting, then being disconnected, and then waiting some more.

But I don't want to completely brush this game off. There are a few things that I do like about it, even though I'm heavily encouraging people to not purchase it until 1-Capcom is able to fix the server stability and 2-Releases Arcade mode DLC for free. Street Fighter without single player arcade is beyond silly.

- The V-Skill. It's a replacement to Street Fighter 4's Ultra Meter. It rewards you for mastering new abilities and combos to allow you to charge your V-Trigger for special moves. You'll still get points for the V-Trigger when you take excessive damage and all that, but it's nice to see that you are rewarded when you have learned new tricks.

- Some character moves have been overhauled, for the better. Vega is the one that stands out to me. Him and Cammy are my go-to's. With Vega, you can swap between fists and the claws. In the past, losing your claws put you at a disadvantage. That's no longer the case. Claws give you more long range ability, but you move slower for having that benefit. When you switch to fists, you gain more mobility and dynamic take-downs. It's good to see that he is a more balanced character then he has been in the past. But even with Cammy, Ryu, and Chun-Li, they have done tweaks to make the character abilities stand out more, without making them overpowered.

- I like the visuals. I like the water-colored, painted effect on the hair and clothing. I like the vibrant backgrounds. It may not be everyone's preference, and seems more cartoonish compared to 4, but the look emphasizes the campy quality of Street Fighter.

Okay so that's 3 good things I've said about Street Fighter 5. That's all I could come up with this morning when I sat down to figure out my feelings about the game. I was done with 4 character stories and waited over an hour for online matches to work. This is a product that COULD be good. Very good. But the lack of CPU Arcade and an inefficient online mode have made this a waste of time and money for gamers.

Capcom. You are much better then this. I want to like the game, but I can't. They are working on some fixes for the servers and PC users to curb game crashes, but this was a bad opening day that is unlikely to get better until content issues are given as much attention as the server instability.

Save your money and don't buy this.

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