Just like I’ve done every previous year, I’m going to give my round-up of my thoughts on the state of Street Fighter V as the new season begins, and in this case, a new edition too, sort-of. I’m also going to make a few more predictions along the way – and my track record on SFV predicitions has been very good, from predicting the shaky launch years ago to predicting the season 2.5 rebalancing last year. Anyway, onwards and Rise Up!
The new UI… It’s very GOLDEN, however the overall UI looks actually worse to me. I find the super bars and V gauge harder to notice & “read”, although I’m sure I’ll get used to that eventually. All the fonts are harder to read for no good reason. The round indicators and KO and new sound effects etc are extra distracting at the moment to me too. Loading times are actually WORSE for me now on a very fast PC – partly because of all the added pointless screens of bling, and also because the previous ‘faster loading times mod’ currently doesn’t work. I’m glad they finally got rid of most of the painful white glaring screens though… although I’m not quite sure why the game is SO keen on telling me what today’s date is. I mean, it’s quite handy so that I realise when I’ve gamed passed midnight I guess.
Sakura’s story being “put baby in me pls” .. just wow. Really Capcom? I like the idea of moving Sakura’s story somewhere, but I wish they’d focused on her working at the arcade etc, and the Blanka and Dan stuff instead of this.
Buffs for Abigail, Ryu, Laura and Rashid seem insane to me. Ok so out of these four Ryu needed something, but the way he’s been buffed to get silly 50/50 mixup loops just doesn’t sit well with me. And buffing already strong/annoying characters seems like a very bad idea to me. It’s the same bizarre Capcom balancing as season 2 really.
I predict a balance patch in the next two months, just like with “season 2.5” as there’s a lot of new iffy and janky stuff turning up, some of which just cannot be intentional. Like with the start of season 2, I really think we’re playing a bit of a public test phase for the rest of this season right now.
I think Dictator is in a decent spot regardless though. Whilst he isn’t anywhere close to the top tier still, with some nerfs and some buffs in season 3, he seems stable and fair – a strong but not-too-strong character. Honestly other characters should be balanced to Be Like Mike (Bison) at this point (and I don’t mean Boxer of course, he still seems pretty dumb sadly).
“Feel it within your body” and “SCURRY” are such amazing voice lines I had to change Bipson to his English voice for a time… Of course, once I realised his VT2 is far worse than VT1 (which only took a few minutes to see why) this was “Meaningless” anyway, so I changed back to Norio.
… which brings up yet another balancing issue… It didn’t appear from all the trailers and previews and things that Capcom was really attempting to make different V-Triggers on characters particularly balanced at all, and after playing some of AE, it appears that my initial impression was 100% correct. Just like whenever they’ve done these kind of “move options” before, for example Critical Arts in SF3 series or ISMs in Zero3 & Capcom Vs SNK series, there ends up being an illusion of choice only, but only one real clearly better option emerges that you should always select in competitive matches. I predict almost every character will settle into their “best” VT option quite quickly, and the other one will only see use in oddball scenarios or maybe specific matchups etc – and even that’s quite wishful thinking on my part I feel.
I predict Blanka won’t be a charge character… or even if he is, it won’t be a big part of his game to maintain a down/back at all. I expect he’ll be more like in SF4 with silly hop-through mixups and such. 😦
I can actually FINALLY watch the original SFV opening movie again! 10/10 amazing best game ever.
One thing that still hasn’t changed is the small advantages given to those who quit out of matches a small amount of the time, which is still stupid… and of course, those delicious genuine rage quits haven’t gone away …
The single player stuff is all totally meh to me. The only value of this Arcade mode will be slowly grinding it while waiting for matches rather than Training room some of the time I feel. The fact it offers no real reward for playing it (no EXP or FM) means it does even less for me than the other single player modes do. In fact it’s still so limited I’m kind of expecting another backlash from casual players again…
Especially because the Fight Money system for most players seems remarkably to be even worse! The weekly Missions are still currently the same rubbish joke things they have been for the last year+ and the new Extra Battle mode is just yet another way to drain your FM further for costumes & titles which you may not even get if you’re not good enough to do the challenge. With the removal of all of the single player FM rewards for modes I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to actually EARN enough Fight Money now, but that sadly seems to be the point. The balance of the FM economy seems to be firmly along the line that if you play the game a huge amount, you CAN get all the gameplay content (ie: characters) for free, but you will barely have enough for any cosmetics at all (colours, costumes, stages, titles, etc etc), and Capcom has doubled down on that position for the Arcade Edition changes.
One odd effect of all of this is that as you can only currently earn FM from EXP points and leveling up characters (outside of the random weekly missions, which are irrelevant for this, and the miniscule amounts you get for winning online matchmade mathces), everything to do with EXP is simple a pace-of-earning & method-of-earning thing. For example with Sakura now, if I want to earn FM with her, it doesn’t really matter HOW I choose to earn that EXP – either fight online, Survival mode, extra battle that award EXP, whatever, I will still only end up with the same amount of EXP and EXP-related Fight Money earnings anyway.
Probably my favourite new feature in Arcade Edition is when The KLF play a few riffs from “America – What Time is Love” during the results page after online battles…
Despite all this (mostly) negativity, in terms of the actual core gameplay, I still really like Street Fighter V! It’s still my 2nd favourite mainline Street Fighter game for competitive play behind Street Fighter 2. Just like in the original “Rise Up” trailer, I’ve been working so hard to improve against my ceiling and consistently broken through it.. so much so that I’m ranked at Super Platinum currently, when at one point I struggled for ages to even get into Gold league. I’m definitely a slow but consistent improver when it comes to fighting games. I’m rarely that good at them to start with it seems like, but I can go on to continually improve when I try. A lot of it is the fact that SFV brings me right up against the very limits of my execution skills, so it takes a LOT of muscle memory development for me to get used to doing combos and executing the correct move in the correct situation in a game this hard for me to play. But I’m gradually getting there and RISING UP and I reckon I can still go further….