I know that this game is many moons old but I wanted to wait until season 1 of the DLC content (and its associated patches) were completed before commenting on the game itself.
Waiting it out for so long also allowed me to play the game extensively and get a good idea of how it stacks up after hours of playing online and offline. Before I continue I will state that I am a casual player of fighting games.
I like to pick up the game, go a few rounds with the computer and/or get my ass handed to me online and then call it a day. I’m not necessarily serious about “getting good” and just want an outlet to blow off some steam with simulated violence for a little while.
Anyway, I have been on board with this game since the beta and when the gold final version was first released I was disappointed with its incompleteness. No arcade mode, “Story Mode” was a joke, Survival Mode felt more like a grind (especially given that the prize for completing was just alternate colors) than an actual useful challenge and early online match making was incredibly unfair matching up lower tiered players with people who could destroy them with a flick of their finger.
At least training mode and the challenges allowed for some practical learning so one would not get beat down so easily if one invested time in practicing instead of immediately jumping in online for some fights.
Once I felt comfortable (or bored enough) to go online I found that the early builds of the game rewarded aggressive gameplay and that it leaned heavily towards characters who had a move set that fell into the high risk/high reward category. Suffice it to say I got beat down by a shit ton of Ken players early in the life of this game.
As one who plays a more defensive and counter attack style of game (I believe it’s called “zoning”) the early Street Fighter V experience was very frustrating. Also my main character (Sagat) was not included in the game so I also had go through the growing pains of learning new character(s).
Thankfully there were plenty of options available to me so I went with the Shoto characters since they were close enough to what I was accustomed to for me to pick up quickly. I also had to learn how to play a controlled HAM style to survive the early online sessions.
As the DLC content and patches progressed Guile was introduced. That brought a bit of the defensive element into the game that was missing. Granted, since then many players have developed ways to make him more offensively minded. But back when he was added it was possible to have a bit of a strategic standoff kind of fight since not many knew what shenanigans they could pull off with him.
Given that the majority of the game play in Street Figheter V is online combat with others around the globe some major complaints have popped up, mostly to do with the net code. Connections with less than desirable players with slow pings and rage quitters seem to be the top two. I have been rage quit on (which is really rare) and have rage quit myself.
Yes, I do admit to committing the heinous act. Most times I just take my beating like a man and move on but sometimes you kind of get fed up and have to go “fuck it!” before you cause damage to your controller and your TV or computer.
There is still the odd matchup problem but that has been mostly corrected and you do get to play with people who are close to your level instead of becoming a practice dummy for someone light years beyond you in skill. Most players are going to be online battling it out so it is probably best to give those who are new to the game some advice to prepare themselves to be sacrificial lambs.
At this point in the game league points don’t mean anything much other than being bragging rights online. If you play ranked prepare to be out for blood since people tend to take LP seriously and will try to take yours and relegate you down to the lower ranks. This is much like survival mode where you have to grind it out through many matches until you learn to switch strategies on the fly and find a play style that will squeak out some wins online.
If that doesn’t matter as much to you then casual or battle lounge might be better modes to play in. You might still get your ass whipped but it won’t really mean much since all you lose is some pride and possibly dignity depending on the severity of your loss.
And when you start playing online you will lose a lot. A LOT. Playing against living, breathing, thinking humans is much different than fighting some pre-programmed CPU. It will take some time to adapt if you are one who is exclusively in the offline realm of fighting games.
Personally I prefer casual and battle lounge since you have more leeway in experimenting with characters with nothing on the line. The fights also tend to be more enjoyable and you do end up learning a lot about how you can tighten up your gameplay.
The best matches I have had were against higher ranked players where I escape by the skin of my teeth. Those types of battles were the most satisfying by far win or lose.
If there’s anything I think people who pick up this game should learn right away it is to learn how to block. All those fancy combos and stuff are fun but if you can’t defend effectively you’ve already lost your match.
Since I have been playing this game more frequently I have found that Reddit has been a great resource for picking up tips on how to play more efficiently.
Overall Street Fighter V is still a game in development. Capcom intends to make this a platform that evolves over time instead of issuing out a new game in a couple of years. If that is the case they are still missing the boat in regards to some things.
As of this writing arcade mode (as much as people seem to not want it) is woefully missing. There are those who just want a quickie offline experience that does not suck. (looking at you survival mode) The load times between modes could still use some work and of course the net code could always be improved for better match making and to punish those bastard rage quitters.
Other than that I haven’t had too many issues with this edition of Street Fighter. I mean I still suck and I will not be entering any tournaments in the near future or ever. But I can at least be complacent that I’ve evolved past door mat status in the game for the time being.
I would recommend that if you are a fan of the Street Fighter series that you at least give this a quick try. The basic game mechanics are the same and the new additions to the gameplay are fairly simple to pick up with a bit of practice.
At this stage in the game’s life cycle you’ll be getting a more complete game than the early adopters so you’ll be able to jump in without having to go through the growing pains they did. Now is as good as a time as any to give it a go.