Got a problem with Street Fighter 4? Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix designer David Sirlin has even more.
David Sirlin, who helped design the much-beloved HD Remix, has never had a problem calling out other much-beloved games. In the case of Street Fighter IV, Sirlin had his own ideas for what it should have been, but since that never panned out and SFIV has now been received with open arms and rapturous praise, he’s ready to give his two cents about the game. Though he admits there’s “fun to be had” in the game, he’s got some issues.
Sirlin’s issue the first: online play. In Ranked Matches, you can see who you’re fighting first, so you can go ahead and kick them if you think they might be a threat to your standing. Furthermore, you can see who the other person is picking before you pick, so it’s easy to just choose a counter character (though half the people on XBL choose Ryu/Ken anyway). Finally, the occasional input lag highlights Capcom’s foolishness in not using the proven GGPO netcode that HD Remix utilized.
Sirlin’s issue the second: the game’s really not that accessible. Sirlin highlights SFIV‘s emphasis on link combos (a series of attacks that have to be timed perfectly to connect together) as the main problem here. “The effect of all these links is to hide the actual game behind an impenetrable wall of execution,” he said. “If you practice (ie, develop 1p skills unrelated to strategy and unrelated to interaction with the opponent) then you gain access to the real game, a game of high damage off small hits, but only for the dexterous.”
The real problem for Sirlin is that, for all the brouhaha about how easy it is to get into SFIV, when it comes down to it it’s really just as complicated as any other Street Fighter. “When I read about the 100/100 scores, I see again and again how ‘simple and elegant’ the game is,” Sirlin said. “Two super meters, a 3-tier focus attack system, and all the complications above seem to fly in the face of that…Not every game has to be casual friendly, so it would seem more honest to just explain how casual unfriendly all these things are.”
He also complained about the tedious task of unlocking the games’s hidden characters by playing through the Arcade Mode multiple times. He also had some positive things to say about the game, praising the design of certain characters like Zangief and Vega.
For the most part I agree with what he’s saying, and would argue that SFIV is no more casual than something like its predecessor, Third Strike, which you can also “just play like Street Fighter 2” if you want to. What makes SFIV “casual-friendly” isn’t the gameplay, but the old characters, the old moves that even have the same old commands, the general feel of being a classic game but with a modern twist. The high-level gameplay that casuals won’t have access to without super skills was never meant to be accessible. Sirlin would argue that’s where “the actual game” is, but I think for a lot of gamers, the actual game will never get more complicated than two people throwing fireballs and uppercuts at each other. SFIV makes it easy to have that, and that’s just fine.[Via Game|Life]