Street Fighter V Update
EVO Tournament Preview
Getting Up To Speed
The buildup to the release of Street Fighter V was full of hype. There were several beta phases and tournaments to boot, all while Mad Catz was pushing their upcoming line of fight sticks and fight pads. But not all went well with its launch. In January, Capcom announced that the game’s cinematic story mode would have to be delayed until June, with the assumption being that the game had to be released in February to coincide with the Capcom Pro Tour that started that month.
To the casual fan not privy to this information, the Street Fighter V release was nothing short of unacceptable. With nothing but a training mode, individual story modes, survival modes, and a few combo challenges per character, offline content was lacking at best. For those of us who didn’t really care about any of that, the online servers were clunky, if not downright broken. On top of that, matchmaking left a lot to be desired as it wasn’t uncommon to be matched against people a couple thousand League Points above or below you. It didn’t take long for all but the most dedicated to find other titles to play in February.
But here we are in July, and much has changed. We have four new characters in Alex, Guile, Ibuki and Balrog. There are a handful of new stages including Guile’s and Balrog’s classic stages, as well as the visually impressive Kanzuki Beach. Rage quitters have to think twice about abandoning a match, lest they endure a two hour wait time before finding their next match. Online stability seems to have been figured out, and matchmaking feels much more appropriate (I am a Silver League player around 2200 points right now, and have only faced an Ultra Silver player at most, Ultra Bronze at least in the course of three hours of play time the other night). Competitively, the game has nowhere to go but up. Even with the 8 frames of input lag that the PS4 version suffers, pros and amateurs alike have been loving the competitiveness from both online and offline play. Capcom is in the driver’s seat right now, and while the game’s future seems to be very bright, they have to continue the precarious dance of keeping the game fun for casual fans as well as deep and balanced for the more dedicated fans.
Street Fighter has never really had a deep, meaningful story. Apart from Ryu’s inner struggles and perhaps Charlie’s drama, there really isn’t too much meat on this story’s bones. Staying true to form, “A Shadow Falls”, the first, and so far only, cinematic installment is deliciously cheesy and full of humor and awkward moments. Without giving away too many spoilers, the basic premise of the story is that Shadaloo has these weird “Black Moons” in orbit that are threatening to shut down the world. When they’re activated, they apparently release an EMP wave as well as amplifying Bison’s Psycho Power somehow. Needless to say, our heroes need to act fast and assault the Shadaloo base before all of the Black Moons are activated.
Of course, there are some other unresolved issues that are dealt with as well. We kind of find out what happened to Charlie Nash, and why he has a gem like Urien. Rashid’s motives and personality are unraveled a little bit more. We’re introduced to Zangief’s hilarious “Muscle Power” philosophy and are treated to a great scene where he blocks a sword attack with his pecs and laughs. The Matsuda family is anecdotally utilized in the story, but it was cool seeing Sean get mad at Laura for promoting Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu when her style is hardly reflective of it. There are a couple more nods and interesting revelations, but I think you should go see for yourself (might want to stay past the credits, wink wink).
Gamers Pantheon Score – 80%
- It’s not Uncharted, but it’s still great fun seeing your favorite fighters living up to their reputations. You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. You’ll speculate wildly at what the future holds. Did I mention that completing it is worth 30,000 Fight Points? No? Well, it is.
While professional gaming is still somewhat of a fringe interest to the gaming community at large, high-level competition has always been integral to Street Fighter’s success. I’m not just talking about legendary rivalries like with Daigo Umehara and Alex Valle, but even at the local level. If you’re a fan of fighting games, you probably remember going to the arcade and watching those two or three players constantly destroy all of the opposition. It gave you something to work toward, and even just watching them gave you a sense of what you need to work on. In today’s world, we have online ladders and tournaments along with YouTube channels full of valuable information for the aspiring fighter. That’s where the heart of the fighting game community (FGC) lies – competition, repetition, friendships, and emulation.
Now that summer is upon us, we’re well into the tournament season. CEO just recently came to an end with Tokido defeating Infiltration to win it all , and EVO is just on the horizon with an unbelievable 5,000 contestants lined up to duke it out in Las Vegas. While many of us are eagerly waiting to watch the tournament on streams or ESPN2, most of the well-known names in Street Fighter V have been training for weeks now. Eduardo Perez (PR Balrog) is one of the best Balrog players in the world and also Marvel vs. Capcom 3 royalty. He tweets:
Mad Catz V Cup winner Long Nguyen (LPN) is a fighter who I’m looking forward to seeing at Evo. While some may have negative things to say, I think he will perform well. Plus his style is fun to watch. He had this to say on the 4th of July:
EVO isn’t the only major tournament people are looking forward to. Team Razer’s Xian (RZR Xian) is currently competing at the Capcom Pro Tour Premier G-League, and has brought his top tier FANG play to cut through the ranks.
Love it or hate it, Street Fighter is one of the best-known fighting franchises in the world and has given us some of the most recognizable characters in all of gaming. Over the last decade, as marketing and social media play a bigger and bigger part of the FGC, we’re able to enjoy Street Fighter tournaments from around the world and interact with some of our favorite fighters. Now that we’re seeing the FGC gradually adopting a more E-Sports friendly framework, I believe the future is bright for not only Street Fighter, but all fighting games. In closing, I’d like to share an inspirational video from Razer’s Xian on what it was like to choose to go pro in fighting games and winning EVO 2013 in Street Fighter IV.