Video Games

Video Game Review: ‘Street Fighter V’ an incomplete sequel

Official “Street Fighter V” art for Ryu, the series’ most popular character.
Official “Street Fighter V” art for Ryu, the series’ most popular character. Capcom

‘Street Fighter V” is like a bad girlfriend.

I went into the relationship hoping to find love. There’s definitely an attraction – it’s a beautiful game. The series and I have plenty of history. And for brief moments, we were perfect for each other.

But ultimately the latest entry in Capcom’s fighting series broke my heart.

We were only good with other people around, but we could never coordinate our schedules. When we were alone, I realized that she had absolutely no substance. There was potential, but it didn’t work out.

Dating metaphors aside, “Street Fighter V” is simply not complete. A massive chunk of it – basically all of the single-player content – is missing. Capcom has released a detailed schedule for when it plans to make the game whole, but there’s no getting around the fact that the 33-year-old company released an empty shell.

My “Street Fighter” superfan friends tell me this is because the series’ competitive season begins in March. The game had to be released before then so that players could familiarize themselves with the new mechanics, which have been simplified, as well as the four new characters.

However, even diehard fans had to be frustrated when the game launched without a properly functioning online system.

81The Metacritic rating for “Street Fighter V” as of Feb. 18. Most of the critics counted in this average are severely mistaken.

I got “Street Fighter V” on Monday – the day before it launched. Everything was working pretty well. I was able to use the Battle Lounge to find a few other people to fight with. I am not sure if they were Capcom employees or professionals or both, but they totally massacred me. That’s fine. It was a learning experience.

As the public picked up its copies and jumped on Monday night and Tuesday morning, it became impossible to access the online system. I kept getting an error code. And considering the game has about one hour of single-player content at this moment, the outages basically rendered “Street Fighter V” useless.

The error code kept popping up Tuesday and Wednesday, but I was able to get on around 7 p.m. Wednesday. However, all of the matchmaking functions appeared to be broken. I searched for a casual match with all of the filters turned off (meaning it should have matched me with anyone also searching) for two 20-minute spans with no luck. I joined several Battle Lounge rooms, but the connections were tenuous – either I would drop, or the other player would disconnect. And the little queue you can join at the bottom of the screen never worked for me.

It was a pretty disastrous launch, all things considered.

That’s a shame, because it is a decent game when working properly. I feel like each fighter has his or her own unique moves and style. They seem pretty balanced. I think Karin and Rashid are a little strong, but the mean people I played with before the launch still smashed my Rashid to pieces.

The lack of single-player content isn’t that appalling, either. Fighting games have always been multi-player affairs. The stories behind the characters are often pretty boring.

I imagine this will be true for “Street Fighter V,” as the characters and plot are still about 30 years behind the rest of the gaming world. The women still have – how do I put this gently – disproportionate bodies. Rashid, a character who is supposed to be Arabic, looks like Disney’s super Anglicized “Aladdin” characters and sounds like a surfer dude. I’m not expecting an award-winning script once the major single-player updates hit in March and June.

A cinematic story mode will be released as a free update to all “Street Fighter V” players in June.

I have faith that “Street Fighter V” will be a decent game in a few months, but I have to review what came inside the box that was sent to me – what people are spending $60 on. Most of the reviews I’ve seen seem to ignore the train-wreck launch and lack of content in favor of a look to the future. Many critics contend that because Capcom gave us plenty of warning that the game would not be finished, that makes it OK.

I don’t agree.

It’s nice to know that a full “Street Fighter” experience is on the way, but selling incomplete games at full price is a dangerous precedent. Players are now relying on Capcom to keep its word. If June rolls around and we don’t get a story campaign, what can we do? Try and get our money back? Yell and scream?

I will give “Street Fighter V” a star. It appeals to its diehard fan base, and I enjoyed a few of the online matches I got into. But most of my time with the game was spent looking at error screens or beating comatose computer characters to a pulp.

But as of Feb. 20, it is a terrible game. Plan accordingly.

Street Fighter V

Video game review

▪ Rated Teen for mild language, suggestive themes and violence

▪ Developer: Capcom

▪ Publisher: Capcom

▪ Available now for PlayStation 4 and PC. A PlayStation 4 copy was used for this review.

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