Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Street Fighter IV - "A New Warrior Has Entered The Ring!"

"A New Warrior Has Entered The Ring!"

This feature for online play in Street Fighter IV...it's genius. Just genius. Capcom was just brilliant for putting in this feature.

If you haven't heard yet, SF4 lets you set up Arcade mode in such a way that you can be interrupted by other online players and thus be challenged to online matches. You get prompted that 'A New Warrior Has Entered The Ring!' and then you're brought to the setup screen, where you can prepare your match.

I'm surprised no other developers have thought of implementing online matchmaking for fighting games this way. This is just absolutely perfect. You can practice your combos on the A.I. while waiting for a match, and the game does all the work for you! I'm not really sure if SF4 actively 'finds' other SF4 games on Xbox Live and just matches you in the background, or if getting in a match is the result of someone else finding 'you' online via the Xbox Live option on the menu....however which way it works, it's fantastic because you're always playing, there's never a point where you're just sitting there in the lobby waiting for a challenger, you're never perusing a long, long list of custom games, trying to find an ideal match. With SF4's method of finding matches, you're always busy and always entertained.

Now, it really helps that Street Fighter IV right now has so many players online. This is bound to be the case for the next two to four weeks, at best. That's usually the peak of most games, where most online activity happens....there will be a lot of players to play against when a game is just newly released. I just hope that SF4's system will encourage a lot of players to stay on and keep the network filled with competition. I hope it doesn't degenerate to something like for Virtua Fighter 5 where there are just so few players to play against. Then again, that's the natural way of things with games. They're hot only for a moment, so it's best to enjoy them while they're hot!

I really hope Street Fighter IV changes the tide for fighting games; which have clearly been on a downward spiral lately. It's just that it's much easier for people to play in teams rather than solo in a fighting game; I think no one likes the experience/feeling of losing, and team games certainly compensate for that. With Street Fighter IV and other fighting games, when you lose, you can only blame yourself.

If you're playing Street Fighter IV right now, and you're on a losing streak, don't fret....that's the only way to learn the game. Check out shoryuken.com for tips on how to play better and just keep practicing. Winning in Street Fighter IV's online mode is quite a satisfying experience that's well worth the effort. If you want to have less stress in your game, go for player matches instead of ranked matches. The good news is, your games and wins are still recorded even if you just played player matches, so any wins you get will count for something. I think the only thing that doesn't add up to your stats in player matches are those battle points. I'm not sure what they're for, yet. Bragging rights? I guess if you're into that, why not? Any which way you go about it, Street Fighter IV is a very satisfying game, enhanced even more by online play.

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