“A fighting game only truly dies when you run out of rivals.” – Sikaran
I’m still not impressed enough with Street Fighter V to actually commit to it, even though I’ve already bought a copy. It requires too much from me: a powerful new laptop (it lacks the flexibility to fully adapt to mid-spec machines, unlike Ultra Street Fighter 4 and Street Fighter x Tekken before it), a high-quality, always-on internet connection (no option to fight strangers in person because there was no arcade release), and renewed back-to-basics study (the characters I’ve been using in USF4 have either been totally revamped, are still unavailable, or might never see reinclusion).
Also, given how the game leaves out so much content that should, by default, be included in every high-profile fighting game on launch day (Arcade Mode, VS CPU mode, full-fledged tutorials, Trials, Challenges, and decent unlockables), I’m starting to wonder why I even supported it on release.
Meanwhile, Ultra Street Fighter 4 just keeps on giving. If you’ll remember, right after it rolled out, Yoshinori Ono said that he hoped “that SF fans would keep on playing it happily until 2018,” – the original projected release date for SFV, before Sony got involved.
And it’s clear that it was designed with longevity in mind – even with its giant 44-character roster, the game is beautifully balanced, allowing veterans to add new characters to their regular lineup without the risk of them being hopelessly low-tier. Double Ultra is an incredible game-changer, specially with characters that have very situational Ultras (e.g. Cammy, Dhalsim, Juri, Sagat, Zangief). I haven’t even gotten to fully utilizing Delayed Wakeup and Red Focus in my matches yet. The AI, on Hardest difficulty, is actually decent enough to practice footsies with (as long as you don’t exploit their weakness to post-knockdown Level 3 Focus Attacks or wakeup Ultras). And with all the high-level tech for the game that’s been developed and shared by stalwarts like ComboFiend, Momochi, VesperArcade and Xian – there’s never been a better time to master the game.
Here in Tekken-obsessed Philippines, there’s a real dearth of USF4 cabinets. But there’s still a couple I get to play at, at least twice a month – the ones in Timezone SM Megamall. And I get a lot of enjoyment from the duels I engage in there – whether it’s a match versus someone who’s still learning the fundamentals, someone equal to me in skill, or the rare ones that have broken the ceiling: tournament-quality competitors.
Just recently, I finally beat an intermediate-level Adon, using Ken. I was forced to utilize everything in my arsenal. For defense: crouch techs and anti-airing with neutral jump HK and crouching HP. For poking: Inazuma Kick, Thunder Kick, crouching MP, crouching MK, and standing HK. For combo-starting, kara EX Hurricane Kick, crouching LK, crouching MK, and my trusty crossup MK. And last but not the least, kara throwing for surprise hard knockdowns.
I lost the first three sets but finally won the last one in straight rounds, even finishing with Shoryu Reppa. I couldn’t stop myself from shouting out and pumping my fist – it was so uplifting! Suddenly my ever-present self-doubt evaporated – I was aware of the mistakes I was making and learning to adjust my strategy on the fly!
My current lineup. Ken and Chun-Li for midrange neutral, Sakura for rushdown, Sagat for long-range oppression, and Abel as wild card.
As long as there’s people playing on these cabinets, I’ll keep on trying to better my game. My USF4 Musha Shugyou (Warrior’s Journey) continues!