Thursday, February 19, 2009

Street Fighter IV - Still Enjoying the Online Mode

Street Fighter IV is just too much fun online. So far I've only had a handful of really laggy games (maybe 4 or less) but for the most part, it's playable.

I haven't played that many Ranked Matches, so I don't really have that many Battle Points yet. I've seen some with 1,000BP already (or more). What makes Ranked Match tough is that the game will reduce your BP every time you lose. At some point I was down to 70+ BP so I really had to work my way back up.

I think that the game (for the Xbox 360 version, at least) actively looks for opponents when you play it in Arcade Mode and set match request feature to ON. I had a few hosts that left the lobby or removed me from the game when the network icon onscreen indicated it was too laggy. (sometimes I get removed even before the match starts). I'm surprised by that....why would they join my game to begin with if they can already see that their network connection to me isn't so good? Furthermore, sometimes the HOST icon is set to my account, while at other times it's set to my opponent's account. So if my opponent is the host, how did I join his game if I'm playing on Arcade Mode?

So I have this gut feeling telling me that when one plays arcade mode with match request ON, your console actually finds other consoles playing SF4 online which are also playing with match request ON. And then when your console finds a match that fits the criteria you've set for it (in my case, I prefer STABILITY over the other settings), that's the thing that triggers the 'A NEW WARRIOR HAS ENTERED THE RING!' It's not really that someone joined your's probably your console has found another console with a good enough connection to match you with. I can't prove this, though, and maybe Capcom won't ever say how their matching system could call it their 'secret sauce', at least for now hehehe.

More or less, I 'trust' the system that does this, even if I get a red bar or a blinking network icon. I can't help it...I'm in the Philippines so connections with most foreign hosts won't be so great. But I'm really surprised because my games have mostly felt 'lag-free'. I'm on PLDT MyDSL Plan 999 (which is just about 1MBPS Download Speed. Note, that's Download Speed....the upload speed is FAR worse, maybe half or one fourth of that!) Despite that, I'm able to play some smooth matches. Even if there's slight lag in some matches, the game still feels controllable for some reason, and I'm still able to do special moves with proper timing. Capcom deserves the utmost praise for their efforts with the netcode for this game; they've really outdone themselves! I remember playing Lost Planet online and the netcode was nowhere near as good as Halo or Gears of War. With SF4, they've really figured out how to make it work right. I hope any changes they make to the game in the future doesn't change how well the online play works right now.

I have to mention, I haven't experienced a single disconnection (during an ongoing online match) in Street Fighter IV for the Xbox 360. It's a completely seamless and flawless fighting game experience for me!

Here are some of my other records. It's nice to see that they add up medals and wins to your overall stats, regardless of whether you're playing ranked or player matches. At least, now your player matches actually count for something.

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