I’ve been playing Street Fighter V for about a day now. Not long at all, granted, but I’ve formed some opinions about it, which I wanted to share. A quick disclosure; this is a belief that has been formed over the past few years of playing part four online also.
As I explained in my last post, I have always been a fan of fighting games. There has always been a draw for me. They’ve always been fun; the rush of battle, the flamboyant moves and the skill needed to pull them off.
Due to my enjoyment of this genre, I obviously had to partake in Street Fighter V, which is a great Street Fighter game by the way. Very balanced, fluid, strategic…and dare I say it, enjoyable. The last adjective there is the most important however, as this factor slowly drains away after playing a few online matches.
Now, I understand that the main purpose of playing a fighting game is winning, and as I explained in my previous post about small-pond-syndrome, I was humbled by some really good players on Street Fighter IV, but there’s winning, and there’s winning by any means!
I’ve always been someone who enjoys the win, but the thrill of the battle has been the most enjoyable aspect. To win a match where the two fighters are both exhibiting skill is fun. Even losing a match when you can fairly say the opponent was your superior is quite thrilling…as long as you’ve had a fun match.
My findings, in my time playing part 4 and 5 of this series, is that people will do any and everything to win. The age old imagery of spamming fireballs comes to mind, or someone sat in a corner, continuously bashing the punch button to activate Blanka’s electric ability (which is almost impossible to beat if you’re a character with no projectiles). Although these things are HIGHLY frustrating, they’re not what is bothering me.
My annoyance is purely to do with the way people tend to play these games online. I’m willing to believe that maybe I have lived in a bubble with Street Fighter, where skill mattered. Technique was always championed above all else. If you could show an ability to read movements, pull off some crazy combinations or just make the match fun, you were highly regarded. These players at the moment seem to be willing to do the same combo, over and over and over again, until you are finally defeated.
An example, and not an extreme one at that, I played someone who chose M. Bison, and the entire match consisted of a kick, followed by his spin kick move. If I jumped, he used a low uppercut. He did this consecutively until I eventually died. That can’t have been fun for either party, surely. That’s only one side of it though. I’ve played people who are hyper defensive. They stay crouch blocking, until they get an opening, then release a three to four hit combo; rinse and repeat. I get that it’s a tactic that works, but it’s not fun.
I’ve also seen a procedure arise in SFV where people have learned a combo, which cannot be escaped if begun. I’ve seen things like this in championship matches, and always thought that it looks unfair. There should be an escape procedure put in place, as there is in Dead or Alive (you can counter any of the attacks if you use the correct counter move. This keeps the game flowing, as you don’t just have to sit there and watch your character getting pummeled, but that’s a conversation for another time.) This, I’m still on the fence about slightly. I guess if this structure has been put in place, and you’re capable of doing it, then fine. I wouldn’t personally play like this, as it’s not what i consider to be enjoyable.
The last of the things I’ve seen, that makes me laugh and swear at the same time, is rage quitting. I know this is a thing that plagues the online gaming community all round, but it’s still ridiculously irritating. Capcom should really penalise players for doing this, as I see this as cheating.
Looking at all of these factors, I can only devise that it’s arisen due to the ranking system. Everyone wants to rank up, everyone wants to be the best, so they have lost the purpose of the game; to have fun. If you win or lose is inconsequential. It’s the process, the fight itself, that matters. You shouldn’t have to play in this fashion to have a good match, but unfortunately, it’s the approach everyone seems to be adopting. It’s annoying because you have to assume the same play style if you want a chance of winning. I find myself just standing in the corner, waiting for the opponent to make the first move, as i’m tired of losing.
This is making it sound like ‘m just no good at the game, which is not the case. I reached rank 8188 last night (which has probably fallen after losing a few matches today). This doesn’t mean I’m amazing or anything, just that I know how to play the game.
To be clear, I can’t say that this has ruined the game for me, as there is always casual matches, which I find people tend to be a bit more risky with, as there is no effect on stats, which means they mix it up, use a new character, try something different. I have just felt that this fight to be top dog has tainted the way people play.
To conclude, competition is always healthy, as they say, but sometimes it just kills the fun. Fun is the reason we all play videogames…right?