SFV Roundup

So how’s Street Fighter 5 gameplay wise? Is it better than USF4?

I really enjoy it. There’s a clear design template for all the characters that I picked up on, then Novril covered in this video:

They seem really determined to not allow any of the jank or degeneracy from SFIV. They’re handling the whole thing in house this time. They have a large number of high level players on the development team. They got their shit solidly together across the board. Every character can at maximum link only 2 normals together without using V-trigger or a command normal. The most moves you can feasibly blockstring with, without going to an unsafe move, is 3 (unless you’re like, bison).

There’s no more invincibility on backdash, no more focus attacks, no more plinking, no more 1 frame link windows, no more stupid ultra comebacks. Kara-Cancels are still in (maybe even more lenient than before), but you cannot gain distance off them. More stuff like that.

The characters are all really unique, despite the game overall being pared down to a lot of bare fundamentals, and having things like quickrise and back roll to prevent vortex play.

Every normal seems to have some type of application somewhere which is really cool, except for some of the air attacks, but that’s pretty standard for most fighting games.

Here’s my Cammy notes: http://pastebin.com/vkgmbWYi
The amount of information I think goes to show some of the complexity of the system, even though Cammy is one of the more simple characters.

Like, SFV is the perfect beginner fighting game that I’ve been searching for, it perfectly embodies the essence of what the SF series has tried to emphasize over other fighting games, while still having significant character differentiation and being an interesting game in its own right.

What do you think of the lack of arcade mode in SFV?

I don’t personally care. I’ve spent 71 hours ingame or so, not counting out at tournaments (I came in 2nd in a small round robin tournament yesterday!).

However it seems to be an issue that a lot of people care about, so I care a little. I don’t really know why people want arcade mode, because honestly arcade mode in fighting games has been one of the worst gameplay experiences I’ve ever had in fighting games, I much preferred Guilty Gear’s survival mode, or mission mode, or Xrd’s new Medal of Millenium mode. Melee’s event mode was also great, practically a campaign unto itself. Adventure mode was pretty nice too, with classic mode at least mixing up team arrangements and having some gimmick stages here and there. All-Star worked out cool too. Though I might think differently replayng the game now, because honestly the AI is garbage to a player of my level. However even as a casual player I never liked traditional fighting game arcade modes. You play a bunch of stages with totally random characters, then a boss at the end, maybe a bonus stage to break a car or some barrels. It’s a very unstructured, unpolished, experience in my opinion, and fighting CPUs is awful generally.

However Survival mode fucking sucks. Not even pros like it because the computers either just get hit by the same combo ad infinitum, or they sometimes block it or anti-air you then you eat a frametrap and just plain die almost totally randomly.

So the real issue is, Capcom dropped the ball. This is the easiest Street Fighter game to learn, and the tutorial is garbage. You’re not going to really learn anything other than the basic buttons in a tutorial like that. There’s no combo trials, no more extensive tutorial, and no good singleplayer modes. No extensive story mode like MK9, just some shitty stuff commissioned from probably Udon. Broken online, largely because they didn’t test the very first thing every player went to try when they started the game up, the battle lounge. Reports from Capcom say the game broke over the battle lounge. And why wouldn’t it? Who the fuck would rather fight random ranked than with their friends? I wanted this game to be the big breakout success it deserved. This game brought everything full circle back to what SF was about originally, and avoided all the stupid jank of SF4.

The trouble is, they went too far in on the hardcore audience. All their marketing is aimed at that userbase, and that’s cool for me, I was going to buy it anyway, but that’s not a mass market hit. We’re getting record breaking signups for Evo, but we bombed on store shelves here. On that note, the game probably released in its partially finished state because of Evo. Capcom knows that to be included, and to put on a good show, they need to be ready in time for Evo. Which is why the patches adding essential content will only be coming out this month and weren’t there on release, which is their biggest chance to sell the game. Day 1 sales are almost always the biggest sales for any game, with a sharp dropoff after that. There have been cases of games getting a second wind, but it’s rare, and SFV probably blew its one big chance. Having a steady drip of content might maintain steady interest until they get their shit together, but they’re fighting from behind from here on out.

I mean, more than anything with SFV, I’m disappointed that they screwed up because it’s going to limit the growth of a game that was otherwise primed to hit it really big. You can’t exclusively target a hardcore audience, you can’t exclusively target a casual audience. SFV is in a way, half a game. And that’s fine for anyone who has friends they actively play with regularly. And in the end, their failure to court the single player people results in a smaller audience for the multiplayer people.

I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of this game already, and it is everything I want in a Street Fighter game, but they fucked up on accomodating everyone else, which limits who I’ll be able to play with in the future.

6 thoughts on “SFV Roundup

  1. treeghettox May 25, 2016 / 4:23 am

    What do you think about Challenge Mode? This is the first traditional 2D fighter I’ve ever gotten serious about (although I’m familiar with fighting games through Smash Bros. and Soul Calibur) and I thought Challenge Mode gave me basically everything I needed to learn the game. They did a decent job of choosing combos that aren’t the best but you can learn from. After going through Challenge Mode with a character, you should be able to infer better combos from what you’ve learned. It teaches you how to fish but trusts you to learn what the right baits are if you catch my meaning. It also has a decent balance of “hey, that’s easy!” combos and “maybe if I practice this every day for a month I can execute it with 50% accuracy.”

    Also, could you describe in laymen’s terms what’s so bad about SFIV? I never got a chance to get into it so all the examples you mentioned above go way over my head.

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    • Chris Wagar May 25, 2016 / 5:19 am

      All of the above commentary was written before the combo trial mode was added to the game. Combo trials generally do not prepare you for the actual game. More often than not the combos you learn in them are completely different from the combos you should actually use in matches. They generally exist as independent execution challenges, and can be useful for building execution skill, and occasionally for learning how different moves connect (or that they connect at all).

      The challenge mode for SFV doesn’t really feel much different from that. The combos in it are not the combos I have in my notes (and they’re significantly easier than SFIV’s, which I still cannot do all of).

      If you want to learn good combos, you’ll have better luck looking them up online and working out a flowchart for yourself based on the risk and reward of the blockstrings leading into the combo. Most characters have a 2 hit confirm that they can cancel into a special, but end safely if they see their opponent is blocking. Learn which normals can be canceled into specials (and get down basic normal to special cancel combos), learn which normals link into other normals. Learn a crush counter combo, learn a combo from jump-in.

      As for what’s wrong with SF4, there’s a lot of tiny things that add up to a slow low-commitment game. http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/what-is-exactly-wrong-with-sf4s-design-time-to-explain.5084/
      http://forums.shoryuken.com/discussion/153970/what-makes-sf4-a-bad-series

      The layman’s explanation is complicated, but probably boils down to the fact that there are a ton of option selects that allow you to cover tons of options. The game as a whole was moved really far into impossibly tight execution and game knowledge and really far from reads and neutral game interactions. A lot of winning the game was knowing more setplays than your opponent and successfully capitalizing on them more. SFV evens this out and corrects a lot of the smaller design flaws.

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  2. treeghettox May 25, 2016 / 5:43 am

    What’s the “right” way to do this? Should there be a tutorial for each character that straight-up says “here’s a safe combo you should rely on, here’s your highest-damaging punish combo, etc.”? Is there any merit to NOT telling the player the exact right answer and forcing them to think for themselves? I personally like figuring shit out for myself (honestly the most enjoyable part of games for me) but I acknowledge that most people prefer to just be trained on the best way to play.

    I want to be taught about unique properties of moves, such as armored frames. But I don’t want to be told “here’s when and how you use this move.”

    I was really happy when I figured out I could link Chun Li’s crouching MK into Spinning Bird Kick. Obviously this is dumb low-level shit, but I play SFV to get a sense of progression and I feel if you don’t have the opportunity to make your own mistakes the progression feels more like work then fun.

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    • Chris Wagar May 26, 2016 / 3:08 am

      Hrng. I think it’s tough to point out a “right” way, because there are conflicting approaches. I think Guilty Gear Xrd got it the closest to correct by having actually useful combos in its combo trials. They’re sub-optimal, but they’re almost all reasonable execution and cover a variety of common scenarios. If you want better combos you can look online, but GG Xrd gets you started in the right direction.

      I think games could definitely stand to have a built in frame-data library, like Injustice did. A good hitbox display in training mode would also be nice (like skullgirls).

      What I think needs to be taught in a tutorial setting is how to find combos for yourself. I have a large unpublished article on basically everything that goes into finding and making combos, but I’m still polishing it and want to make it a video. I think there needs to be a tutorial that shows charge meters visibly on the screen so that players can see them.

      I’ve mentioned this before, but what I’d really like to see in the future is a robust “tutorial creation” engine for future fighting games that allows players to make their own combo trials or general tutorials, much like say Skullgirls tutorials. These could be used to teach more advanced concepts directly from skilled players to beginners, or just for better personal training. If they had a distribution network like the steam workshop that would be spectacular.

      By the time I got to SFV, I knew enough about combos to find which normals linked and build basic combos on my own. I was able to work out which moves had more and less startup and frame advantage than others by testing which moves would link into which. When I did get a framedata table, obviously I didn’t have the right numbers (I didn’t write down numbers in the first place), but all my guesses about which had more or less than others were correct.

      The problem with most fighting game combo trial modes is they teach you combos you should literally never use. Unless you’re Lianghubbb’s opponents I guess. (though Guile has more practical combos than other characters) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdaejjnR5l8

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      • treeghettox May 27, 2016 / 3:43 am

        I agree the denial of information can be annoying. Soul Calibur seems better in this regard — there are little icons denoting special properties such as unblockable. It’s dumb SFV doesn’t have icons for moves with armor frames. And hey, why not have icons for linkers? This is something Capcom could knock out over the course of a weekend.

        Here’s something I really want to know but can’t quite figure out:

        When an opponent is getting back up, either with an attack or just standing, is it possible to beat them 100% of the time with a perfectly-timed command grab? I know they’re inescapable once they connect. I sometimes try to punish wakeup with Birdie’s head-butt command grab, and it always seems to get beaten by normal attacks or even basic throws. Is my timing bullshit or is there something going on under the hood (like a rock-paper-scissors system) that I don’t understand? It seems like Guile is invincible if he gets up with EX Somersault Kick but I could have sworn once I beat the non-EX version with a command grab once.

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        • Chris Wagar May 27, 2016 / 4:10 am

          There’s no such thing as a linker in Street Fighter, that’s really only a concept in Killer Instinct. Moves only link if they have enough frame advantage.

          Almost no moves in SFV have armor in the first place. Try downloading the vframes app or looking up frame data, or downloading a program that shows hitboxes if you’re on PC.

          No, it is not possible to beat them 100% of the time with a command grab because they can reversal, quickrise, or backroll. In past street fighter games (3rd strike), characters gained a few frames of throw invincibility on wakeup, but I am pretty sure that is not the case in SFV. Likely your timing is just off. There is a priority system, but it only counts if the moves hit on the same frame.

          The non-EX flash kick on Guile actually has 3 frames of vulnerability on startup before it becomes invincible. Seemed they did not want people using it as a reversal option this time around. Every character has at least one invincible option on wakeup if I’m not mistaken, though many need to spend meter in order to use it.

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