Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Street Fighter V - Impressions (CENSORED VERSION)

The following critique is open for discussion between gamers, and members of the Capcom staff. All I ask in engaging in said conversation is that you keep things clean, and well thought out. Don't throw around expletives, or blame like a wayward child. If you have facts, or opinions based on said facts feel free to share them. Just do so modestly, and earnestly. The truth is what I personally aim to present here, and I hope you all take the time to do the same. Let us begin ...

First off I want to say that I honestly feel as if I just paid sixty dollars for a free-to-play fighter. What I mean by that is that SFV in it's current state is a lot like what Koei Tecmo, and the Killer Instinct developers offer up freely at base level with their core fighting game franchises. The only significant difference between those gaming experiences, and this one is that you get a full roster of currently available fighters. Does a full roster, and only a few modes warrant a sixty dollar price tag? I don't think so. Not only does SFV feel as if it should be a F2P game, it also still looks and feels as if it's in a Beta state. Not all features are functional, and not all listed offerings are readily available. A huge chunk of what should be there is not there. The added fact that online play is worse than last-gen's "Ultra Street Fighter IV" makes the experience even less worth the retail pricing than it already is. The one viable offline mode, as of now is the "Survival" mode. It is the only thing that is even really worth playing at this moment in time, and that's not saying a lot.

Where my main complaints with SFV come in are not with the offline offerings, the censored characters, or even the unfinished state that SFV is in though. Instead the heavily hyped, and eSports marketed portion of the game is where I feel Capcom has failed. What they didn't take into account was the fact that netcode is only a tiny part of the problem when it comes to online competitive play. I've preached about this many times over, and I'm going to do it again. The sad truth is that it's the community that Capcom, Sony, and other online moderators do not govern, and are seeking out who are the ones ruining the genre while turning other gamers away from the experience. What do I mean? Well, this morning I looked up "Free Street Fighter V" on Google's search engine, and found that the game has already been pirated, and that it's being offered up in full as a free download on certain websites. This means that modders, and hackers have already reverse engineered the game, and are now distributing it to the casual players who would do online gaming, and gamers harm. The non-paying gamers which gamers like myself are flipping the bill for.

To add salt to the already gaping wound Capcom has decided to make it even harder to identify these online abusers by adding an extra layer of anonymity. When you first start up SFV, and get past the intro and initial tutorial you'll be prompted to give yourself a name, or an ID. This can be anything. It does not have to be your actual PSN ID. Unfortunately in providing this option players can hide behind said name much like they already do with modded PSN accounts. The only way to see their true PSN ID is after a match in their in-game profile, and even then it's kept so confusing, because Capcom refers to the PSN ID as an "Online ID". Why they would go out of the way to give these abusers another way to hide their identity is beyond me. It clearly states in the EULA (End User License Agreement) that Capcom is taking a pro-active stance against those who would infringe on the game's copyright license, and abuse the online experience. Without a proper reporting option in place though I don't see how they think they are going to achieve this.

One of the biggest problems currently plaguing SFV, and USF4 is lagswitching and the use of mods. I have yet to find a match online in the 5 ping rating that is lag free. The mods are little less obvious, but I assure you there is at least some mappable controller usage going on. Whenever I dashboard, and search the players' PSN ID I often times find modded accounts associated with said player. Sometimes it is innocent lag though, but at a 5 ping perfection that should not be an issue at all. This brings me to yet another point. I cannot understand how a developer who has presented fighters in the past with tolerable netcode can mess up so bad at launch. Even Netherrealm has worked wonders with their new netcode, but like Capcom they too fail to see the bigger picture, and bigger problem. That problem being the FGC (Fighting Game Community) itself.

Capcom, I want to love SFV so bad. I really do. I want to get my money's worth out of it, and enjoy it on a daily basis. When you market it as an eSports title, and offer up a poor online experience at the same time though you are kind of missing the mark. Fighting game developers, and console moderators need to realize that online connectivity isn't the only problem plaguing online gaming. To put things in perspective there are over 300 million people living in the United States as of 2016, millions of which have access to online gaming consoles. Even if the ratio, or percentage of legit gamers, and abusers were split down the middle you are talking about millions of people who are willingly ruining the fun experience you set out to create. This is no minor problem. It is major, and if it is left to grow it could eventually spell disaster for those inside the industry, and those outside of it. In light of this I think it's about time that game developers applied reporting, and banning features as a staple of their online gaming experience for the benefit of themselves, and those who would pay to play the game. Don't focus wholly on one issue such as netcode without addressing the other. It's bad business, and it will only serve to hurt the consumer, and the companies trying to sell products.

Lastly I want to address both Capcom, and Sony directly. Please, for the love of all that's sacred in the gaming industry mind your products. It only took me a minute to go to Google's search engine, and find pirated listings of your game. Invest in quality moderation, and this won't be an issue. If you aim to only take in consumer cash though, and don't intend on keeping your promise to those who would pay for your products you'll likely become a target of ridicule, and social media bias. I'm not saying I'll do it, but take in account the harsh feedback Konami received. Sure you can slap lawsuits on those who would speak against what you do, but that too would hurt your reputation in the industry. All I ask, as a gamer is that you think of your future, and the future of gaming. Don't continue down this road of self-destruction, and greed. We (the legit paying gamers) want to invest in what you are selling, but if you keep abusing our faith in your company, and your product we'll eventually look elsewhere for our gaming entertainment.

The floor is now open to anyone wishing to leave a comment. Feel free to voice your concern, or opinions, but mind what you say ...

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