Street Fighter V: 1st Contact Analysis
A title that is rooted into videogames history, the colossal series from Capcom has spanned more generations of gaming than nearly all others. Across platform from its Arcade roots but the series as we know it and love it came to be with the second entry in the series.
The true version for all home players outside of the arcade had to be the SNES release timed exclusive to the machine (on the console platform at least) as the Amiga and other releases where all handled outside and are best forgotten..shudder.
This was all before the Megadrive/Genesis Championship edition launched later anyway that restored the balance and blood missing from the SNES version, a Nintendo known Quality issue across it’s Family Friendly brand at the time. Many have imitated the fighter that brought in combos, special moves and real variety in characters both physically and practically meaning we all picked are own favourites, with Fan favourites from Ryo, Chun Li, Ken, Delsin among others.
Its impact on the fighting genre was immense and it returns in a new shiny dressing and yet again limited to certain platforms with this time Microsoft being the shunned party in this reunion of Biceps, Blood, tears, tights, Hair and Hadoken’s… all being presented on the PS4 and PC from Capcom. But not all things are the same as the game is no longer running under one of Capcom’s own engines and instead highlighting the cost, production and power of modern off the shelf engines is all been created using Epic’s latest Unreal 4 engine as it adds another large scale game to its ever growing bow. First impressions are good with the games Native 1080 display on this PS4 version and all running at 60fps that really helps you control such a fast paced fighter that relies heavily on timing, constructing button combinations into seamless flurries of arms, legs and powers. The game has had a large shift from its far more complicated previous instalments and tricks like plinking have now been removed and the game has been targeted from its designer Yoshinori Ono's main intentions to simplify it and take it back to a core aspect with less reliance on streaming together un-defendable attacks and allow as much skill but far more balanced Yin and Yang approach to proceedings.With the game and it’s launching 16 deep roster of fighters with many favourites returning but even though Blanka has attended nearly all public outings of the game and its creator he is at present not among the early cast list, with 4 new ones making the early grade. With characters being added throughout 2016 and beyond, 6 are planned to hit this year. These as other DLC content can be either bought with good old fashioned Digital number transfers from one large banking organisation to the other or earned through the in-game fighting currency.
Animation and design is a vital part of a fighter with pre-game trash talk giving the engine a chance to show off the artistic talent from Capcom that manages to feel instantly familiar but pleasingly new all at the same time. Keyframe count is high with natural motion as they line up ready to fight, or recover from a well-executed kick on both sides the blending of animation sets well with that distinct Japanese bright anime style, but slightly more western in its more herculean muscle tone…that Epic influence must be rubbing off as Marcus Fenix could pop up..well if it was on the Microsoft machine anyway. But the picture is not all rosy on the visual front and how Capcom have used the UE4 engine in some big boy and girl battles.
Although the main characters are very well realised and much attention has gone into the design, costumes and fluidity of movement they have not paid as much attention to the arenas. Backgrounds lack detail as much as vertices and shadows, with areas ranging from OK to poor with very simple shading, poor contact shadows or none at all. In fact shadows in the game are low quality for the main characters and regularly suspicious by their absence which does not impress and even though the game is more about the action that the art quality in such a small space and only 2 characters more attention would have been welcome, it comes across more like a Work In Progress build than a final game and this is present in the games content at this point.
For a fighter to only have 16 combatants would be fine but the game only has an arcade mode with no REAL story mode. Online is where many will spend the time and I will cover that in detail in my next video along with its cross platform play so PC gamers can now tackle Console games in some far reaching fisticuffs, which is a benefit from its linked and exclusive development process.
But the single biggest factor in a fighting game above all else is consistency on input latency and performance overall and happily here the game delivers a more polished and complete level. From all tested section and Offline fights the performance is a flat 16.67ms frametime in all combat action. Some dips can occur in pre-fight trash talk or at the end KO section but these are usually only a single frame or a few and would not be noticed or effect the action. It also fits into the Japanese delay style of impact as combat and heavy hits land so these are of little to no concern.
As it stands at launch the content within the game and it short and almost "tacked on" story mode does offer very light content for the full price asking price. And even as a hardcore StreetFighter fan myself I cannot recommend it at that price and hopefully the released free updates from now on wards will add to that but throughout the game the feeling of an incomplete package with much more to come cannot be shaken. Be it in content, characters, performance and even its Online infrastructure it is a great start to hopefully the full game the series and fans want.