Street Fighter IV could have been a complete masterpiece.
The animation was arguably the best ever seen in a 3-D fighting
game, the graphics and design were unmatched, and the audio
was an unholy matrimony between good game music and idiotic
glam-garbage. Surprisingly, they even added Guy and Adon (two
of the best Capcom designs, ever)! It delivered for the most
part, except in the one crucial area of gameplay. Balance
is one thing, but mostly input to be exact, and the sad thing
is that even after several entries, Capcom still hasn't
gotten it right. Super Street Fighter IV is marred
by the same input issues that plagued previous (arcade and
consumer) versions of Street Fighter IV. Just because
it's widely ignored doesn't mean it's not a problem.
In an interview
with Producer Ono, GameSpot translated him as saying
that they skipped over a Champion Edition and/or Turbo
straight to Super, but did they? Does the Champion
(aka "Power Up Pack") update and playable bosses
not count? Would it not theoretically make it a Champion
Edition of the original arcade version? Looking to the
past, we can see how this is ultimately an example of how
history repeats itself.
Aside For Nothing"
If we look at the original (arcade) version, and
then look at the Champion (home) version, then playable boss
characters and stage hue changes alone echo SFII to SFIICE.
Then, you got a slightly-altered VS screen, reworked network play,
match replays, and (the much-debated) infinite-combo removal. Anyone
who has played the original SFIV would know exactly what
I am talking about when I say that the SFIV consumer release
is essentially a Champion Edition with its Championship
Mode update. But, as always history repeats itself, and just
like with SFA3 on the PlayStation back in the day, Capcom failed
to reflect the updates with a changed title. So, what does this
have to do with control and input?
they had chances to fix the abysmal combo system in the Champion
and Super upgrades, but didn't. They kept anomalies like
C. Viper repeat Special Move combos and Ryu/Sagat anti-air into
Ultra juggles; all stuff that just shouldn't be in the game, but
the "just" combo system was the worst. I don't care what
anyone says, if it's because they have "just" frames or
"just" anything; their existence in the game is just ridiculous
and makes no sense. There are no benefits to the "just"
timing for combos in SFIV. What, so that in the heat of battle
landing a great combo is based more on luck than skill? That's ridiculous,
and those who try to defend this nonsense input method will say
that it's not based on luck, but anyone who's tried them over and
over knows how lucky you feel when they actually come out.
And before any asshole's advocate can come in and say anything,
I can and have pulled-off a number of "just" input combos
with different characters. "So, then what's the problem?"
The problem is that in no way, shape, or form, does it have a thing
to do with "ease of use." More than anything, it's a real
pain in the ass. They're too risky and unpredictable to use on skilled
opponents, so you're limited to using them on opponents that you
can afford to take a gamble on. In the first Street Fighter Alpha,
it wasn't like this; combos came out like clockwork (when they were
supposed to). Now that was truly "ease of use"
(not hoping and/or praying that a combo you've done a million times
actually comes out when it's supposed to).
Capcom hit gold
with Street Fighter Alpha because they made the combo system
consistent. That is, timing was consistent across the board
SP, FP combos came out just as easily as JP, SP, FP combos, and
so on, and so forth. Capcom tried to fix something that wasn't broken,
however, and reverted Street Fighter Alpha 2 back to Street
Fighter II's dated "two-in-one/just-input" system.
Guy and Gen still had normal "chain" combos, but the others
were limited to doing them during the short Custom Combo time-frame
(which instantly ate the Super Bar). SFIV unfortunately inherited
the same inconsistencies; Ken's MP, FP combo is reliable, but the
extended LP, MP, HP version is unreliable. Others are Makoto's LK,
MK and forward + MK, forward + HK; both of which come-out much
easier when compared to her finicky LP, MP combo.
input would even make combos better in online play. The "just"
system isn't completely new to the series, but it was implemented
to such an extent in SFIV that it ruined otherwise useful and dependable
combos familiar to fans. Was it so that only "pros" and
"experts" (who play only the same game day in and day
out) could use them? Why? Weren't EX Focus Cancels enough? If SFIV
was supposed to be marketed toward a casual, broad audience,
then what are such complicated things doing in a game that was supposed
to stress "ease of use?" This all does little to help
beginners get into the game as Capcom had aimed for. Loosening input
would draw casual players and/or those who like titles like BlazBlue
for their ease of use. Consistency is key, which is a critical
aspect that the SFIV entries lack.
Not Fix It?
Their head was in the right place, though. Choosing to go with the
logical combo path established in DarkStalkers, X-MEN:
Children of the Atom, and Street Fighter Alpha (respectively)
was a great decision (Ken's LP, MP, HP combo and M. Bison's low
LK, low LP, low MK combo are great examples). The problem was the
execution. It's like they didn't care about longtime fans who
used these combos long before SFIV. Even with obvious
balance issues, SFIV and SSFIV both could have been
closer to perfection if it weren't for the pointless, inconsistent
"just" combo system. There are so many reasons why the
"just" system should have never been put in SSFIV.
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