Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Season 2

Street Fighter V hasn't really grabbed me yet, although as it's been picking up more steam, I've become more interested.  The first of the "Season 2" content just came out, it appears, although there is considerably more to come.  By 2020, it's supposed to have the largest roster of any Street Fighter title... but for now, it's still a little on the skimpy side.

I kind of really want SFV to have something like a simple "normal" arcade mode as opposed to those incredibly abbreviated and scripted story modes.  I also really have enjoyed SFIV's ability to have vs CPU for when I just want to play around with the game (by far this is the mode I play most.)  Although it's seen by its developers as a competitive head to head game, I've rarely played much Street Fighter of any series that way; back in the arcades in the old days, we'd usually play through against the CPU and somewhat rarely challenge each other.  Then, of course, I had tons of console games, usually by myself, on older consoles with no internet connection.  Because of that, I've rarely gotten involved in competitive battles, even though SFIV offers them.  Nor am I particularly good at them, for that matter.  I play Street Fighter to unwind, not to challenge myself with a really difficult challenge.

SFV, on the other hand, offers relatively little to the player like me who mostly avoids 2 player games and requires a good single player mode that actually offers some good replayability.  Sigh.  So, eventually I'll pick it up.  It could be years yet before I bother, though.  That said, I still check in every few months to see what's going on with it, and try and get caught up on the SF world, and although I'm not nearly as good at this as I should like to be, I did manage to catch a whiff of season 2 and what's coming down the pike in 2017.

First, let's set the groundwork.  Although this wasn't obvious to me at first when I rented this title a few months ago, SFV is a sequel to IV (obviously) but a prequel to III—which remains the chronologically most advanced game of the series still.  In other words; this is the order in which the series came out—and I've left off the EX series as a spin-off unrelated directly to the others:
  1. Street Fighter
  2. Street Fighter 2
  3. Street Fighter Alpha
  4. Street Fighter 3
  5. Street Fighter 4
  6. Street Fighter 5
But this is the order that they take place in chronologically:
  1. Street Fighter
  2. Street Fighter Alpha
  3. Street Fighter 2
  4. Street Fighter 4
  5. Street Fighter 5
  6. Street Fighter 3
Street Fighter V is the game that starts to (meaningfully) introduce characters and concepts from Street Fighter 3 into the game.  IV was, on the other hand, most definitely a direct sequel to II.  Of course, IV and even V had plenty of Alpha characters making appearances too.

We'll see how it shakes out when all is said and done, but what I'm surprised by is the character selection. The original Street Fighter obviously had only one (two, if you're being generous) selectable characters: Ryu (and Ken as 2-player alternate.)  Part of the secret of Street Fighter II's massive success was the selection of the original 8 World Warriors: none of whom (except Ryu and Ken) came from the first game.  Even later, when the bosses were added as playable characters, that only gave us Sagat from the first game.  The fact that the roster of characters (both playable and not) had so little overlap between the first and second games has always kind of fascinated me.  Since then, of course, Capcom has not really had the same degree of success, and they've never done a Street Fighter game that didn't dip fairly deeply into existing characters since (except for the ill-fated Street Fighter III series, which did actually eventually get a couple more classic characters, but which was also no doubt seen as a commercial disappointment in many ways.

The Alpha series deliberately brought back a fair number of the otherwise neglected original Street Fighter characters, as well as characters from Final Fight; a side-scrolling game that was originally developed to be a sequel to Street Fighter, but following the success of Double Dragon (by Technos/Taito) it changed it's focus.  That said, the two were clearly occurring in the same "continuity" given the large number of Final Fight characters that eventually made their way into Street Fighter titles.  

By the time the series reached their "final" chapter, both Street Fighter Alpha and IV had added every single one of the characters who ever appeared in any Street Fighter II game, and Alpha had four Street Fighter I characters (IV had two) and five Final Fight characters (IV had four.)  Alpha also added a pretty fair number of characters that made their first appearance in this series: ten in all.  III had sixteen characters that were new to it.  IV and so far V have made generous use of many of these characters, although I wonder how many of the III characters that haven't already made an appearance in IV we're likely to see in V, given that they're often just too weird to really have picked up a fan following.  IV had four of the Alpha characters while so far V has three; but there's no overlap on which ones are in each.  IV ended up picking up seven of the III characters; probably almost all of them that are worth preserving, although V has rounded that out just a bit with three (again; so far) only one of which was in IV.  V also has very few of the ten IV unique characters (only one so far).

I expect that we'll eventually see all of the rest of the original Street Fighter II characters make their way into V.  I expect that a few stand-out Alpha and IV characters (especially Sakura, Crimson Viper maybe) are also inevitable, and it's curious that the III characters that have been added so far don't include many of the more obviously popular ones (like Yun, Yang and maybe Dudley.)  They'll almost certainly make it eventually, but the rumors for five new characters through 2017 are all new V characters that if they've shown up at all, it's never been as a playable character before.  And there seems to be a lot of the Dolls of various types in the game, although they're not playable as yet.

I also expect—or maybe this is just wishful thinking and I hope for it—that some more game modes are forthcoming before all is said and done.

By the way, the first of the Season 2 characters is Akuma, now with a bizarre lion-flower hair style (although there's a skin that recreates his classic appearance, more or less.)


Monday, December 5, 2016

Today

It's been a long time since I've posted a new post on this blog.  I haven't picked up Street Fighter V, and I'm not likely to until it's been more thoroughly updated.  I did rent it and play it a bit, but it didn't grab me the way SFIV did when it was new.  Part of that was certainly the fact that there isn't tons of content on it yet, but the format and modes actually seemed to make it even harder to access the content that was there.  Once updated versions of SFV are out, I may wade in then.

In the meantime, although I've been pretty happy with the Ultra Street Fighter IV version on Steam, I'm seriously considering buying the PS4 downloadable port, just because I'd rather play it on the big TV on the Playstation, honestly.  I have never really taken to King of Fighters XIII although I have that on Steam too.  I'd like to rent XIV in the relatively short term, though, even though it's got some very, very odd entries in it (that guy in a dinosaur costume.  And what's with SNK always trying to stick Nakoruru in every title?  Augh! Blech!)  And Alice is now a playable character!  I guess I was ahead of the curve there, although she's been slightly redesigned (is now wearing a big over-sized t-shirt over her—admittedly rather immodest—traditional outfit.  They may have changed her last name on me too, and decided to make her "half Japanese."  Considering that she's still blond and blue-eyed, that's pretty absurd, but not unexpected, I suppose.

I haven't actually been playing all that much lately, although I've gotten back into SFIV just a bit as I've freed up enough time to be able to play just a bit here and there.  I've also broken out my PS2 on occasion and played some Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 and a few other titles here and there.  I don't know that any of this means that I'm resuscitating this particular hobby or just dabbling with some nostalgia.

Am I ever going to write the fan fiction that I started?  I dunno.  Probably not.  I'm not very motivated, and I don't actually know where I'm going with it; I just got caught up in excitement about the characters, as I have done before.  But you never know.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

More new characters

Dhalsim is added (since my last post) to the starting roster, but the other interesting thing is that apparently, there are going to be at least six new characters added to the game after launch but before the calendar year in which it launches ends.  Here's some discussion about who some of them might be.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Roster discussions: Street Fighter V

So, Street Fighter V is supposedly going to launch with 16 characters, 4 of whom will be new to the game.  As of right now, 14 characters are known to be in the game, 3 of which are new, so two more are set to be announced, including one who is a completely unknown character.  The characters so far announced are as follows, with new characters in bold italics:

  • Ryu
  • Chun-Li
  • Nash
  • M. Bison
  • Cammy
  • Birdie
  • Ken
  • Necalli
  • Vega
  • R. Mika
  • Rashid
  • Karin
  • Zangief
  • Laura
It's interesting to see that beyond some of the characters that you can't really not have, like Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and arguably Zangief and Bison, they're really focusing on characters that are not from Street Fighter IV to a great degree.  Nash (otherwise known as Charlie—we'll see how he's labeled when the US version actually comes out in March), Birdie, R. Mika and Karin were from the Alpha series; in fact, all but Nash were very late adds to the series, in fact.

Street Fighter IV, the original iteration, featured 19 total characters, three of which were initially "hidden" in terms of being playable, for a total of 16 regularly selectable characters.  This is probably congruent with what Street Fighter V is shooting for.  However, IV launched with all 12 of the original World Warriors and Bosses available immediately, as well as four new IV characters.  Of the hidden characters, two were new to IV and one was Akuma.  Clearly V is going in a slightly less "classic" direction with its roster, but let's be honest; I'd be very, very shocked if all of the original 12 World Warriors and Bosses, as well as the 4 New Challengers and Akuma aren't eventually playable.  I suspect that there will be a few hidden characters in addition to the 16 announced ones, and I wouldn't be surprised if Akuma isn't one of them.

Which Alpha and Final Fight characters eventually make the roster, as well as which III and IV characters eventually make the roster are perhaps a little less certain.  Who else do I personally see as likely to eventually make the roster, and who would I like to see get a bye?  Let's break it down by game or game series of origin:
  • Street Fighter 2
    • I expect every character from SF2 to eventually make it into the roster.  This includes the original 8 World Warriors, the original 4 bosses, the original 4 New Challengers, and Akuma.
  • Street Fighter 1
    • Not counting Ken, Ryu or Sagat who feature prominently in SF2, a few SF1 characters have made the transition into other game on occasion.  Adon and Gen are the most notable, who were in the Alpha series as well as SF4.  Birdie, who also made the jump to Alpha but not to 4, is already confirmed for V.  I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two other SF1 characters get revisited for a change of pace.  Eagle has been animated in the past, for hand-held versions of SFA3 and for CvS2, so he's a possibility.  Some of the other characters, honestly, are kinda boring.  I can't imagine what in the world they'd do with Mike or Joe, or even Lee.  Geki is a great possibility, in my opinion, an untapped potential.
  • Final Fight
    • A lot of characters from Final Fight have already made it into the SF series over the years, most especially in the Alpha games, although many of those Alpha Final Fight characters also were in SF4, including Guy, Cody, and Rolento.  Hugo and Poison also have their origin in Final Fight, although they don't come to SF via the Alpha series.  I've said it many times before and I'll say it at least once more: I'd really love to see Mike Haggar show up.  He was in MvC3 already.  He's a no-brainer.  Plus, he's the only one of the three original Final Fight protagonists who's never been an a SF game, whereas Guy and Cody have each been in two.
  • Street Fighter Alpha
    • A number of Alpha characters have already been announced for the roster, and a number of them are not the Alpha characters that were already in 4.  I'd be surprised to not eventually see Rose, Dan, Sakura and Evil Ryu in V.  Of those, Rose is perhaps the most iffy.  The rest are, I've given to understand, extremely popular characters.
  • Street Fighter 3
    • I personally didn't really care that much about the 3 characters and wouldn't care if any of them showed up again or not, but clearly I'm not in the majority since at least some of them have advanced.  I think the 3 characters that ended up in 4 are the only ones likely to end up in 5, though.  I simply can't see really weird characters like Necro or Oro or Twelve, Q, etc. make their way in.  Of the Street Fighter 3 characters who haven't been updated to 4 that I see as possibly coming to 5, I think Remy and Sean lead the pack.  Other than that, many of the 3 characters who were in 4—Dudley, Yun, Yang, Ibuki, Makoto, Elena and Hugo—I wouldn't be necessarily surprised to see any of them eventually make their way in.  Yun and Yang in particular seem to be very popular and have made numerous appearances in various games, even outside of the SF series, on occasion.
  • Street Fighter 4
    • While many Alpha characters ended up being popular, and many 3 characters eventually clawed their way into some degree of popularity, the IV characters seem more like the Alpha characters; a bag of hit and miss.  Some are great characters with lots of... well, character... and interesting moves, whereas others were interesting experiments that maybe should have not been tried, or at least not repeated.  Who would I like to see make it in, or do I think is likely to?  Crimson Viper, Juri, Oni and Gouken are the most likely in.  The most likely to not advance is Seth.  I'm on the fence about guys like El Fuerte, Rufus, Abel, Hakan and Decapre.  I personally don't care if they advance or not, and I'm unlikely to play them so I suppose I'd side weakly on preferring that they don't.  They're either kinda boring and not very memorable: like Abel or Decapre, or too silly and weird and therefore never really captured, in my opinion, the fanbase's heart, like El Fuerte, Hakan and Rufus.
    • Keep in mind that there are some major changes to some characters too.  Reportedly, unless this changes, neither Charlie nor Vega are charge characters anymore, which makes them totally different from what they used to be.  Honestly, I'm certainly one of those guys to whom charge characters weren't very accessible, especially once the game migrated out of being a cabinet game to a home game with a control pad.  I didn't mind the charge characters as much on the cabinets—I played plenty of Guile, Honda, Blanka and Bison on the old SF2 cabs—but they're terrible on a control pad, especially doing the bizarre double-charge super combo moves.  I think Capcom finally figured out how inaccessible this was in the format in which most people played the game, and are taking some steps to try and help make these characters different.  Given this; adding characters doesn't necessarily mean what it used to mean, if they play totally differently than they did before.
  • Street Fighter 5
    • What do I think of the three new characters so far?  Obviously, I don't know too much about them, but here's what I've got:
      • Necalli is a very dark, savage looking character.  With stomp type moves (I've never liked them much, but a lot of SNK characters in particular have used them in the past and Viper kinda is like that too) and an aggressive approach, he might be interesting to fight against, but I doubt I'll be terribly interested in actually using him myself.
      • Rashid is an interesting one, because he kinda looks like a riff off of Shiek Maherl from the Breakers game in many ways.  Of course, Maherl was obviously a riff on E. Honda, just Arabic.  Not suggesting that I think Rashid looks or plays anything like Honda, but there are certainly some similarities between the Breakers character and the new SF character, including the little tornados
      • Laura looks like a Rule #63 Eddie Gordo, but in actuality, her moves seem much more Blanka like than capoeira.  Although Blanka's a real classic, as one of the original World Warriors, if Laura ends up being a much better looking replacement Blanka, in spite of my prediction above, I wouldn't complain too much.
      • When I bought SF4, I bought it as the Ultra Street Fighter IV version, and it was already quite old.  I managed to get it bundled with all the DLCs and alternate costumes that were out already at that point.  We've had a teaser of a few alternate costumes already for the game; here's the so-called "hot Ryu" which launched a ton of really stupid articles online about male sex appeal, personification, identity and other SJW-related nonsense which has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that as the flagship character of the series—and arguably of Capcom as a whole—a significantly different, yet cool look for Ryu is simply kinda fun.  Leave it to SJWs like the entirety of the useless (and in fact actively anti-useful) staff at Kotaku to screw something like this up, though.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What's next for SFIV? If anything?

Probably nothing, but I'd love to see Capcom throw us who are unlikely to be really early SFV adopters a bone.  One more DLC update.  And it can be a simple one, even.  Here's what I'd like to see:

  • Make the Omega movelist available in all modes of gameplay.  Kind of a no-brainer, really.  I have no idea why they didn't do this already.
  • Add a handful of characters who already have 3D models put out for other games that are compatible with SFIV.  To whit, I'd love to see:
    • Mike Haggar from Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  I mean, c'mon.  He's a Final Fight character, and Final Fight takes place in the SF universe.  He's just about the only Final Fight character who hasn't made an appearance in SF at one point, and we've already got a 3D model and moves in place.  Just a little tweaking and he's good to go.
    • Asura from Asura's Wrath.  He already fights Ryu and Akuma (and Evil Ryu and Oni) in his own game, so porting him over shouldn't be too hard.
  • By the way, the Akuma and Asura fight is exactly what I mean when I say that this genre is like an over-the-top Japanese, mystical superhero genre.  Check it out:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

HOLY CRAP! Charlie is a teleporting Frankenstein monster!

Is this cool, or not?  I honestly don't know.  But holy crap, it's unexpected, I'll give them that!


And I presume you didn't miss the Bison teaser in there?  Bison's appearance in SFIV always seemed more like an afterthought than anything else, given that he probably should have been killed as per the story of SFII and his not appearing in SFIII.