Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Street Fighter IV - Online Play and A.I. Impressions

Today I decided to turn on the ability of Street Fighter IV to interrupt my Arcade Mode matches with online challenges. You can choose either PLAYER MATCH or RANKED MATCH for this mode, which is good, because I just wanted to try it, and didn't really want my account smeared with losses on my very first try.

I will say, originally I wasn't too confident about the netcode for Street Fighter IV. Virtua Fighter 5 had great netcode but occasionally it would give me bad connections. It's just something you get accustomed to when playing online.

That said, around 7 wins and 2 losses later, using different characters (not just my favorite ones) I came to the conclusion that Street Fighter IV has the best netcode there is for a fighting game. Period.

It's really cool to get that 'A NEW CHALLENGER HAS ENTERED THE RING!' prompt for the game. It's that same feeling you get at the arcade when all of the sudden some stranger decides to put in a token and press START on your arcade machine without your permission.

Perhaps it helps that I've been playing Street Fighter games since the 1990s (since high school! Imagine that...) so I fared pretty ok. The opposition wasn't that bad either; one thing that surprised me about my opponents was how well they could combo into a super or ultra move. I couldn't do that for the life of me. Not yet, anyway. I just relied on basics for Street Fighter and got my wins :) I didn't even use focus attacks so much....well, maybe once :)

Online mode for STREET FIGHTER IV is really well done. Kudos to Capcom!


On that note, here's an interesting experience I had with the game's Artificial Intelligence. It is my opinion that the A.I. in SF4 seems to learn based on how you play; the difficulty level is not determined by that option you set at the start of the game, but by how you play as you go along. Here's what I posted on Teamxbox:

The other day my wife was helping me unlock characters for this game because of a review we were writing for a TV show. So I let her play on a different gamertag. She was able to unlock every character with no problems. Note that my wife is just learning the game...she set the game to EASIEST and set the round count to 1.

Today I hopped online with my own account (with no unlocked characters) and thoroughly enjoyed the online mode. SF4 is surprisingly good at handling lag (tip: play in Arcade mode and set the game to 'stability' to find the most ideal players to play with).

Now, I thought to myself, why not just rush the unlocking of characters, too? So I set the game to EASIEST and the round count to 1.

I unleashed combo after combo on the first seven enemies. It was really easy....

And then, there was Seth.

17 continues later, I asked my wife, how did you unlock characters so easily? She said she had no idea....so I decided to start the game over, and this time, I just used the leg sweep on every opponent up to Seth.

When I got to Seth, he just stood there. I unleashed several combos on him. At some point I think the A.I. smartened up but it was too late; it had only 1/4th health bar, and I took him down....

Dan unlocked! :) Only a few more to go....

The point of the story is...it seems the A.I. in Street Fighter IV learns based on how you play. If you set the game to EASIEST the game will be easy, but it seems it automatically adjusts the difficulty depending on how skilled you show yourself to be.

So if you want to unlock all the characters, try not to show your best moves until the last possible moment.

Crazy, eh?

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