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Things Street Fighter IV Could’ve Done Better

January 27th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve never been a believer in the legitimacy of launch week video game reviews, but i think it’s fair to take a critical look at SF4 now that we’ve all played it for a year. There’s no question about it, SF4 is a great game. That said, there are a few minor areas that i’d try to improve if given the chance.

    Ultras Take Too Long
Don’t get me wrong, they look absolutely awesome. If i had to pick my five favorite attacks in Street Fighter history as of right now, at least three of them would be SF4 ultra moves. However, there’s nothing worse than getting hit by an ultra when you’ve only got 5% life remaining and still having to sit through the entire animation. It would be nice if the game could calculate that the ultra was going to kill me and give me the option to skip to the next round. The KO screen needs to go away faster too.

    Challenge Trials Don’t Teach Strategy
I’m all for anything that helps new players appreciate the finer points of the Street Fighter combo system. Yet it is somewhat of a waste building such an amazing learning tool, then missing the opportunity to teach practical tactics. Why isn’t there a “DP through five fireballs” trial, or a “Find three moves that beat Blanka’s Electricity” trial, or a “Sweep Sagat four times without getting hit” trial?

    The Combo Counter Stays Hidden until the End
Obviously Capcom decided to revert the combo counter to SSF2 style for aesthetic purposes, because they didn’t want numbers and words obstructing their cinematic ultras. However, providing a running total would’ve been far more helpful and convenient for players. Many supers and ultras hit multiple times in quick succession, making it quite difficult to figure out what went wrong when the counter finally appears displaying one less hit than expected. Seeing the numbers increment in real time makes it much easier to pinpoint exactly where something failed to connect.

    Unlocking Bonuses Takes Forever
To be fair, SF4’s Time Attack and Survival runs are surprisingly well designed. Each presents a fun and interesting challenge, with the right number of handpicked CPU opponents to match the stipulations. If you inspect them on an individual basis, you’ll agree with that assessment. The problem is there’s too damn many and they all unlock something important. Nothing’s more tedious than having a console break down and needing to unlock everything from scratch. Capcom should’ve provided a way around this headache. For instance, scoring gold medals in all ten Hard runs should unlock everything earned through Normal difficulty and unveil the entire roster instead of forcing us through Arcade Mode thirty times.

ComboVid.com - Fighting Game Combos, Tutorials, Matches, Screenshots, and Strategy

    Trading Hits at KO
A tiny complaint, but when two characters trade hits and one of them dies, the screen freezes to show both of them reeling in hit stun. It would be far more useful and look way cooler to freeze slightly earlier, showing both characters attacking. The SF3 series got this one right.

    Jumping Over Opponents in the Corner
Nothing is more annoying than accidentally jumping over training dummy Dan when trying those Hard Trial combos for the 50th time. SF4 has unusual jump properties in general, but the ability to jump over cornered opponents just seems outright weird.

    Why Do All the New Characters Have To Be Good Guys?
Abel and C.Viper both have mysterious origins and seem to change allegiances multiple times throughout the story. Yet at the end, they both side with the heroes. Why? C.Viper would have worked much better as a villain. Kind of a cop-out, really. Otherwise, i actually enjoyed the animated feature DVD included with the Collector’s Edition.

Well, that’s it for now. So what do you guys think of SF4 so far?

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  1. Smileymike101
    January 28th, 2010 at 00:11 | #1

    I personally thing it’s good that you can croosup cornered opponents.I mean when i played sf2 and jumped over cornered opponents i was like:Why does my character almost go past the other guy but misteriously teleports in front of him right before landing?

  2. error1
    January 28th, 2010 at 00:24 | #2

    my biggest sf4 complaint is that even tho I wanted anther street fighter game I wanted sf4 and not yet another version of street fighter 2. My god how many times does Capcom expect me to buy that game. There’s no reason sf4 wasn’t a sequel instead of another damn prequel.
    I’m I the only one who wants a sf2010 hd remix for it’s 20th anniversary

  3. January 28th, 2010 at 00:48 | #3

    Was Street Fighter 2010 secretly a good game? It comes up in the most random conversations and sometimes not even because of the cheesy nostalgia factor. I get the feeling some people actually liked that game, but i never played it so i can’t judge.

  4. Smileymike101
    January 28th, 2010 at 01:00 | #4

    wasnt sf2010 that game that had nothing to to with a fighting game?

  5. January 28th, 2010 at 02:20 | #5
  6. Doctor J.
    January 28th, 2010 at 08:38 | #6

    I’m surprised that you left out some of the balance issues (*cough* Sagat *cough*). I guess that balance will generally be an issue on the first iteration of any Street Fighter.

  7. UrkAngiJordi
    January 28th, 2010 at 09:10 | #7

    The ability to cross up in the corner is a device to prevent corner turtling. Also it does allow difficult cross up moves (like Ken’s jump in fierce) to be a little easier to use.

    Ultra Animation should freeze the timer.

    I dislike the fact I can’t turn off shortcut motions (like the Dragon Punch short cut). I kind of hate auto correction to some degree, and does deep and high jump in hits matter anymore? Seems less precise.

    Doctor J – Balance issues exist in every fighting game. Surprisingly SF4 is well balance considering it is the first (maybe version 2 if you consider the coin-op version 1) version of a new series.

  8. crowbait
    January 28th, 2010 at 09:14 | #8

    Wow, I just realized that it’s finally 2010. The future is here. First, I partied like it was 1999 _in_ 1999 and now this. Where’s my scientist cyboplasm laser-wielding ken?

  9. zal
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:08 | #9

    @Doctor J.
    balance issues? are you kidding me? sure sagat is better all around than the other characters, but he gets used so much that there are so many counter strategies for his bullshit. this is probably the most balanced fighting game in history.

  10. Bob Sagat
    January 28th, 2010 at 12:50 | #10

    I’m surprised you didn’t talk about Guile being one of the worst characters in the game Maj. ;)

  11. jamheald
    January 28th, 2010 at 12:52 | #11

    Maj what’s your opinion on Seth (as a boss and character) he’s always one of the hot topics? Personally I love his design and style of play and can’t get enough of him. I would presume as a combo lover you would like him but just wondering what your opinion is on him in the game.

    While I’m talking about Seth but off topic I noticed the hit freeze you talked about a while back today with Seth. I jumped and was going to land on a fireball clearly but I did j.hp and the hit freeze meant the fireball missed. I’ve been exploiting this since.

  12. January 28th, 2010 at 14:27 | #12

    SlimX: Thanks, that explains a lot. Though i gotta say, some of his anger seemed artificial.

    Doctor J.: Apart from Sagat, the rest of the game is pretty well balanced. If he was a little bit closer to the rest of top tier, i think the game would be perfect from a balance standpoint. You can’t ask for more than a four-character top tier and SF4 is basically there. The other important factor is middle tier being close to top tier which SF4 accomplishes as well.

    UrkAngiJordi: What’s wrong with corner turtling? Being in the corner already has a hundred disadvantages. Now it’s not even safe from crossups? I admit the main reason i don’t like it is because it’s simply hard to get used to, but i don’t think it’s a strategic improvement either. Thanks for mentioning the timer issue with ultras. Knew i was forgetting something. And high vs deep is still important, but SF4 jump attacks produce a lot of hit stun so now the emphasis is on hitting as high as possible to land closer to the opponent.

    crowbait: Yeah, seriously. What’s that slacker Ken been up to? I haven’t seen him in a lab coat once.

    Bob Sagat: Haha can’t win ’em all. It’s more important for the game to be balanced overall than for my favorite characters to end up on top.

    jamheald: Actually i haven’t had time to test combos with Seth, but i do like him as a combo dummy. As far as his design goes, i think they did a good job. I’m curious to see where his story leads. Honestly i think people just think he looks plain. If they give him that tuxedo suit from the intro/ending animes as an alternate costume, i think everyone will be satisfied. Glad you’re getting some use out of that impact freeze article.

  13. zafo999
    January 28th, 2010 at 15:01 | #13

    I have some issues with the stun system. Only because of FADC. I find myself starting an FADC combo, just to have the first hit of it stun the opponent and reset him, meanwhile I just wasted 2 bars on an FADC that I can’t follow up with because the stun instantly resets. I think this would be a fine system if there were 3S-style stun meters so we KNOW we’re about to stun someone. Either that or just don’t have the stun instantly reset the opponent. Right now it seems like this system just punishes the attacker for managing to stun the opponent by interrupting their combo and often (for me anyway, w/Cammy’s Spike FADC Spike) costing them meter. Are we supposed to be able to hitconfirm stun before we FADC? Are we supposed to be calculating our enemies stun levels at all times? That seems kind of crazy to me. Any thoughts?

  14. Doctor J.
    January 28th, 2010 at 16:06 | #14

    I totally agree that the game is generally balanced. I basically meant that Sagat probably shouldn’t be in a tier of his own.

    Also, I know she gets no love, but I hope they bump Rose up a bit in SSF4.

  15. onreload
    January 28th, 2010 at 16:36 | #15

    Few things

    1. a lot of the trials are VERY redundant. sure, i use zangief with about 4 different moves to get through them in one try, but when a gold medal means 40 wins (which means playing MORE THAN THE WHOLE GIANT SF4 ROSTER) it’s a little ridiculous to expect that of me 5 times (hard survival). It also doesn’t cut you off at the gold medal line the way normal survival does, so one time I just kept playing and racked up 101 wins with zangief ’cause i didn’t know I already had the gold.

    2. I agree on learning about attack properties for trials, that would help some players immensely – even I’m still surprised by new properties attacks get from reversals – stuff they should tell us about besides armor break or EX possible. i like the normal combo trials showing us some basic combo options (hey kids, try jumping in with a heavy attack), but that’s where the helpful feeling ends. the hard trials are just for trophies/achievements whatever, which is cool in its own right, even if i can’t fucking do half of them.

    3. Another thing about ultras is that they also build meter past their K.O. point. If you Fulltra with Akuma (wrath of the raging demon) on someone with 1%, they get as much super meter as though they had however much damage it actually does in full. i’m not sure if this is a possible reason for forcing us to watch the whole animation or if it’s just another silly oversight.

    I agree on the corner crossups. Being in the corner is enough of a disadvantage and as a grappler player, I’m used to (and somewhat comfortable) with my back to the wall…but that sort of thing doesn’t exist in sf4. (the damn sakura popularity bloom is so irritating on this matter)

    i will also probably agree on anything relating to ‘sf3 did this right’ because i feel as though sf3 did MANY things correctly. every time the sf4 staff condemns sf3 for being too hard, they either a) made something hard in sf4, like keeping stupid old inputs or b) use something from sf3. i’m not a fan of “yeah let’s take away dizzy/combo awareness to be simple like sf2” and then never explain what a damn ex move is.

  16. jamheald
    January 28th, 2010 at 22:44 | #16

    Yeh rose needs love.

  17. Tarnish
    January 29th, 2010 at 04:23 | #17

    I already know your stance on “online”, but Street Fighter IV could have done online much better. Player lobbies and netcode, basically. I know that Super IV is making is more sociable, but the netcode probably won’t change much.

  18. January 29th, 2010 at 13:26 | #18

    zafo999: Yeah, it does suck when that happens but that particular pitfall has been around forever. At least you’re not throwing away an entire lvl3 meter like you would in CvS2. If you waste 2 bars on an FADC, you can get a big portion of it back by whiffing a Cannon Drill or two then landing a much bigger combo than the second Cannon Spike you were going for. To be honest, the whole notion of a stun bar always seemed kind of superfluous to me – almost like they wanted another gauge to make the GUI look more advanced but couldn’t think of another feature to add.

    onreload: Actually i was talking about the Normal runs being well-designed. The Hard runs are definitely redundant but that’s necessary for leaderboards and such. They weren’t trying to make those interesting; just difficult. Though obviously they should have given the CPU AI better tactics for dealing with Lariat instead of blocking, then focusing, then getting hit for 50% damage.

    Tarnish: To be honest, i’m not that up-to-date with the state of online play these days so i wouldn’t know what to ask for. From what i’ve heard, the netcode was pretty damn good for SF4 compared to every other true next-gen game on the market but i’m definitely not qualified to have an opinion on the matter. I have no clue how netcode even works.

  19. Tarnish
    January 29th, 2010 at 18:54 | #19


    As far as Next Gen games go, I think HD Remix ended up doing the best. Street Fighter IV I have nothing but horror stories regarding how it evaluates a connection. It can’t discern certain things about a connection, so a 4 bar connection can be playable, or you might just be fighting some person from the midwest on 1.5 megabyte DSL. And I’m not even just talking about the netcode, the experience is very lonely and lacks the social power of lobbies with the ability to spectate.

    The experience is very hollow compared to other games on the market, so in spite of Street Fighter IV’s… strengths, using that term begrudgingly fuck it as a competitive exercise, there’s not a lot to love about its online play.

  20. January 29th, 2010 at 21:15 | #20

    In fairness though, ST is a fifteen year old game. I don’t know the right way to categorize them but i meant the SF4/T6/KoFXII/MKvDC generation.

    Although SF4 is rather impersonal now that you mention it. I hope SSF4 addresses that stuff, but like i said, i wouldn’t even know what to ask for. I’m still used to that distance being the nature of online play, versus the thoroughly social aspect of local competition.

  21. Tarnish
    January 29th, 2010 at 21:43 | #21


    I agree with that regarding netcode, ST definitely has to be a lot easier to piece together and design around good online… but still, I think the lack of lobbies out the gate really gives the wrong impression about the finer aspects of competition.

    The celebration of rage quitting and rage mail, all that stems from a distinct lack of player interaction. I think that it’s vital that fighting games online at least try to relate that player social contact as best they can, because otherwise you have a very claustrophobic experience of paranoid accusations and trolls. I mean, you’ll still have that online, but I think HDR did a lot for me reaching out than Street Fighter IV did in the long run. There are players I met via lobbies/friends made through those lobbies that I met up with when I found out they were in my area… with Street Fighter IV, I can’t say that impact was as great save for when the Gamestop tourney was going on.

    Funny story! There was a guy I played constantly on Street Fighter IV when it was first released, he played Rufus and Bison. I would constantly go back and forth until I started winning. I remembered his gamertag those fights were so prolific. This dude ended up being a roommate of mine by some strange twist of fate. Was the oddest experience I’ve had with online.

    Also, I noticed you’re kind of reusing some of the same old ST tunes. Have you considered trying the remixes from that “The Starting Over” DVD?


    Maybe these will strike your fancy, I think they’re kinda cool.

  22. January 30th, 2010 at 01:15 | #22

    That’s an interesting perspective on rage quitting. Damn, you might be right. Someone ought to write a psych paper about that.

    As for the music, normally i use the SF4 version of each character’s theme for their TACV, then the oldest game version of their theme for their challenge video. It’s just one less thing to worry about, you know? Plus if i used anything non-standard, someone would ask for its name every time the answer scrolled off the front page of u2b comments. But you’re right, these are dope. The Guile one gets pretty weird though, haha.

  23. Kareeem
    January 30th, 2010 at 13:49 | #23

    I miss a critique on the way the game discourages offense.

  24. Tarnish
    January 30th, 2010 at 14:01 | #24


    Would probably be best to offer up an intelligent talking point than a backhanded comment like that, Kareeem. Cause I don’t even like IV, but you gotta do your argument justice instead of shooting it in the kneecaps the way you just did.

  25. Ryukenden
    January 31st, 2010 at 02:47 | #25

    I agree with “Ultras take too long” part. It’s fun to be the one dealing Ultra damage but not fun being the victim of Ultra.
    I will add one more flaw: Ultras/Supers aren’t very creative. There is only 1 type of Ultra/Super in SFIV – the one you use to attack opponent directly, nothing new there. Take a look at SF3 supers: Ryu’s Denjin, Urien’s Aegis Reflector, Makoto’s Tanden-Renki, etc. When you use those supers you need to be really creative, they have unlimited potential.

    Other flaws don’t affect gameplay but you’re right about them.

  26. jamheald
    January 31st, 2010 at 04:19 | #26

    I’ll give you most are like that but there are some innovative things like Dhalsim’s also as they all had only one I think Capcom wanted to make them less specific. The new ultras in ssfiv all look more situational and innovative than the originals, especially Rose’s.

  27. Kareeem
    January 31st, 2010 at 10:17 | #27

    I didn’t mean to disrespect Maj or his post. Dude is smarter than 99% of people playing games. All I meant to say was that I feel that SF4s defensive nature is a huge part of why people talk shit about the game and Maj didn’t really touch on it in this post.

  28. January 31st, 2010 at 13:25 | #28

    The reason i didn’t get into the defensive issue is because it’s hard to put a finger on it and it’s harder to figure out who to blame. Defense has always been easier than offense, and always more reliable in tournaments. You have to practice much harder to win with offense.

    Imagine you’ve got two evenly experienced players. The offensive-minded player’s job is to create openings and capitalize on them. The defensive player’s job is to minimize damage at every opportunity while gradually chipping away at the opponent’s lifebar. If they’ve both been swamped at work for the past month, the defensive player comes out way ahead because the offensive player will fail to capitalize on an opening – drop a combo, mistime a crossup, get too close on a throw attempt, whatever. Generally speaking, you have to be more on-point to win with offense.

    So it turns out the top player in the country is Justin Wong and for much of the past 18 months, that dude has been trying to win at all costs. What’s funny is, he says he picked Rufus to be more aggressive but he spends 90% of his time sitting in a corner. I mean, you have to give the kid a break – he’s been holding down/back for so long, he doesn’t even know what offense looks like.

    And that’s another point. I’d say about 1/3 of the players out there are turtles and about 5% of the players out there think they’re turtles. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard someone call someone else a turtle and thought to myself, “Wait a minute, you jumped back five times and spent the whole second round blocking.”

    Getting back to JWo, that guy actually figured out how to play offense a couple of months back. Maybe if he had done it earlier, less people would think of SF4 as a defensive game. Believe it or not, one person at the top can make a huge difference in how a game is perceived. Ed Ma could have easily won Evo2k9 or at least ended up in finals instead of Justin. I guarantee you that slight shift would have made SF4 look a lot more offensive.

    So i’m sorry, but i’m not quite to ready to declare SF4 a “defensive game,” because declarations like that are self-fulfilling. Yeah okay, you need to have a strong defense and patience is important, but that’s nothing new to tournament play. I definitely don’t think SF4 is the most defensive Capcom game we’ve seen.

  29. Kareeem
    January 31st, 2010 at 14:07 | #29

    Hmmm, good points. And Justin playing offensively like that is mad weird to watch knowing his usual playstyle.

    The reason I feel it favors defense too much is because it’s too damn scary to press buttons up close. It’s a tired argument but the lack of significant blockstun and the easy reversals make the mindgames a lot less scary, and sometimes even favor player who is supposed to be under pressure.
    I used to play Abel, and while everyone raves about his mixups I always felt this unnatural fear of my opponent when I was trying to apply pressure because whatever the situation, it was just as easy for him to do dmg to me, as it would be for me to do to him. And many times the risk reward would actually be skewed in the defenders favor. That just felt wrong coming from a game where if you played a close range character you could really make zoning characters sweat if you catch em.

    But, to be fair I stopped playing SF4 a while ago and recents posts from people who matter (like James Chen) convinced me to maybe give the game a shot again.

  30. January 31st, 2010 at 15:22 | #30

    Dude you don’t have to play it if you don’t want to. I’m not trying to sell you a used copy of the game. I’ll say it without a hint of hesitation: ST is a better game than SF4. If you’d rather play ST, by all means don’t let SF4 stop you.

    But it’s easy to see why SF4 is popular right now and it’s unreasonable to expect a 15-year-old game to compete with that. When SSF4 comes out, there’s a good chance ST will become more popular than SF4. Until then, forget it, not gonna happen.

    All i’m saying is, there’s no reason to be bitter about the situation. Apart from being inevitable, it’s also mostly deserved. Could SF4 have been better? Yeah. Is SF4 a bad game? Fuuuck no. So why hate on it? There are more constructive uses of your time/nerves.

  31. Kareeem
    January 31st, 2010 at 16:31 | #31

    Lol nah man I really just wanted to give the game another shot. With a different character this time. I don’t feel forced by the community or anyone with so-called status. But some of the things people were saying made me reconsider the way I viewed the game and I figured lets see for myself.

  32. February 2nd, 2010 at 03:38 | #32

    -Ultras taking too long, kinda agree… kinda not. I mean it sorta adds a cool aspect to the game… but then again who is going to “wow” after seeing the same ultra so many times. Sometimes I am sure my ultra is going to land after my combo, but it misses. So adding a skipping mechanism is probably not worth the effort and takes that “Is it going to hit?” feeling away. About the KO screen, hmm… maybe just keep it on the final round. :0

    -Challenge Trials, definately agree.

    -A Running combo counter sounds pretty sweet, would be sweet if it was super flashy also. :D (Well not too flashy)

    -Unlocking bonuses does take forever, I was one of those people who lost their data on SF4. Everything got wiped, my unlocked characters, challenges reset, trials reset. So I had to start over, which I didn’t do, and I’m not going to. It took me way to long to get those achievements and I am not about to repeat that process.

    -Hmm, don’t know about this one. I’ve never played SF3.

    -Not much to say about corner jumps, this would probably seem like a way for Capcom to give players another chance to get out of the corner situation. Before the only way to get out of a corner was to apply pressure back on your opponent, and that is not easy when cornered. Now if your opponent decides to cross you over and you block succesfully you are not in the corner anymore.

    -Seth isn’t a good guy! :O
    I main Seth. I agree with you that C. Viper would’ve fit better as a villain. Abel, hmm… kinda strange, feels like they just wanted that character(style) in the game but didn’t bother to work on his story to hard.

    SF4 is GREAT! Cept for Ryu, Ryu is broken in my opinion.

  33. February 2nd, 2010 at 08:54 | #33

    You’re right, the ultra skipping mechanism would be kinda tricky to implement. Of course, there’s no need to skip the projectile ultras because Ryu’s ends quickly enough and Dhalsim’s is a combo setup where half the damage comes from followups. Then you have certain ultras which may miss hits or even miss the ender, like Chun Li and Guile.

    But i mean, once you get hit by Abel, or grabbed by El Fuerte, or caught by Fei Long, there’s no way out. Anyway it’s not a mandatory skip. Whenever an ultra connects with enough damage potential to kill the opponent, i would just put a little icon on that player’s screen telling them that they can skip to the next round by pushing all 6 buttons or something. You could still wait to see the entire thing if you wanted, or wait until you see whether Fei Long’s second punch connects, or wait until your air fireball passes through them to make sure it’s not gonna save you.

  34. February 2nd, 2010 at 21:59 | #34

    Oh yes those ultras, I see what you mean. Those ultras definitely need some skipping, it is quite annoying when I catch someone with Seth’s ultra, which is rather long, and have to sit through all the spinning and shooting, over and over.

  35. Infil
    February 5th, 2010 at 08:15 | #35

    I disagree about the long ultras. They’re a little annoying to sit through over and over, but there are really only a few offenders (Seth, Abel). Also, one of the most exciting moments in any SF match is watching a super or combo and wondering if the guy has enough health to survive. “Is he dead? I think he’s dead.” “No way, he’s not dead yet.” It’s particularly epic for Abel’s ultra because the last hit does so much damage, and you’re never really sure just how much the damage scaling is going to affect it. You can try to “guess” based on how much damage the second-to-last hit did, and that’s a lot of fun for me. Plus, if he ISN’T dead, you basically have about 2 seconds to regroup yourself before the battle continues.

    This would all be ruined if, immediately after the ultra connects, you get a “skip” message in the bottom right.

    If every ultra in the game took 10 seconds, I can see your complaint (and I would probably have it too). But considering that most ultras are 5-6 seconds, this is totally manageable and the one or two that are nearly 10 seconds long are forgivable.

  36. TongariDan
    February 5th, 2010 at 16:25 | #36

    I’m fine with corner cross-ups, long Ultras, and unlocking stuff but agree with you otherwise. Of course, they’ve added Juri so we have our new character villain already. Of course, I only don’t have a problem with the unlocking because I’ve never experienced console failure (I don’t have a 360 ;p).

  37. IC IO IM IB IO
    February 10th, 2010 at 20:41 | #37

    I’m a bit late on this one but i ran a test of my own: i pinned every fighter against Zangief in SF4, EVO rules best two out of three matches, using the CPU vs CPU feature. A few won a round but Zangief won every set with no need for a third match. I think they need to balance out his vitality bar. As far as i know this is the first game that he has more health than the rest of the fighters.

  38. February 10th, 2010 at 21:54 | #38

    Infil: What about when it’s obvious? What if the first hit of Ken’s ultra does enough damage to kill me. Do i have to watch the rest? What’s funny is ST actually had this right on the first try. If you kill someone with Rog’s super, he stops on whatever punch he’s on. For some reason no other game continued this though.

    IC IO IM IB IO: Well, that just proves the CPU AI isn’t equipped to handle Zangief, which you can already tell by using him in Survival Mode. He’s had more vitality than anyone in basically every game with variable health levels. He’s got the most hitpoints in CvS2 (tied with Honda and Chang) and he’s bottom middle tier.

  39. kirbilot
    February 11th, 2010 at 10:00 | #39

    I was really hoping that in SSF4 they would cut down on the ultra length, but by the looks of it they opted to make them longer. Some peoples new ultras don’t seem as bad (Ryu), but I better keep a book handy if Juri’s ultra connects.

    I don’t like spending more than a few seconds not being able to play. I used to dislike games with really long combos because of the time you spend watching yourself get hit without being able to do anything. After putting some more time into GG and TvC recently, I don’t mind it as much. At least one of the players is actually doing something.

    Watching my 1789th Space Opera Symphony animation for 7-8 seconds (longer on K.O slow motion) isn’t very impressive anymore. Instead of thinking about how good the new ultras looked when I saw them, I was just depressed about how I had a new set of movies to see way too many times.

  40. emag
    February 12th, 2010 at 21:29 | #40

    A year in, I’m thinking that David Sirlin’s was almost entirely correct in his criticisms of SF IV:
    1. Lack of GGPO netcode
    2. Button config being the wrong way around
    3. Floaty jumps/resets/throws
    4. Too large stage sizes (although this really only becomes annoying against runaway Akuma/Dhalsim/Seth players)
    5. Quickstand not being the default
    6. Two button throws
    7. Restrictive timing of links/not being able to combo from chains
    8. Awkward FADC input
    9. Characters need to be unlocked

    The only issue I disagree with him on is with regard to the ultra input (although I’ve had a teleport come out more than once when attempting a Nightmare Booster).

    It’s the two button throws and the link timing that really get to me. As Sirlin points out, people didn’t complain about accidentally throwing opponents in SF2-ST or A1 or A2 or NG or 2i, so why make throws harder to do? Going back to throw softening like ST would also have been better than the option-selectable-teching in SF4.

    And I just hate links in SF IV. James Chen, among others, has proposed adopting a BlazBlue-esque link buffer, wherein pressing (and holding) a button up to five frames in advance will allow the respective link to execute correctly (or rather, that the button input will be repeated for five frames). I can’t see the downside to incorporating such a feature — it just removes an arbitrary execution bar that isn’t necessary in SF IV.

    Don’t get me wrong — I do very much enjoy Street Fighter IV. ST and HDR are still great, but I’m happy that there’s such a large community playing SF IV.

    PS The animation on Zangief’s Ultra II is absurdly over the top. I can tolerate most Ultras, but that one really needs to be cut down.

  41. February 12th, 2010 at 23:37 | #41

    Um, yeah i can’t really say i agree with him. He reiterated most of the obvious stuff but he also included some complaints that are simply reaching, to be honest. It’s not surprising because he was probably the most biased person against the game before it even came out.

    The GGPO netcode issue is moot because Capcom has plainly stated it wouldn’t work for SF4. Button config is a minor gripe outside of tournaments and even then it’s not a problem unless you’re borrowing someone else’s stick which happens to have a crazy layout. Jumps and throws feel fine to me, but throw techs do take a little too long.

    All the input complaints are totally reaching. Half the SF games out there have multi-button throws and it’s not like either solution is perfect. FADC inputs are fine. Quickstand is fine.

    If he thought restrictive links/chains were a problem, why didn’t he remove them from HDR? Anyway SF4 went a lot further for input leniency than HDR did. Plus personally i think extended link windows are a terrible idea.

    The only interesting thing he brought up is stage length and i don’t see how he could’ve possibly been qualified to make that call that early on without even knowing what the tiers would look like. Sirlin is a smart guy but he’s also helluva salty these days.

  42. azarel_7
    April 1st, 2010 at 12:28 | #42


    Did you ever look at Jeff Schaefer’s video on strategy. What you said in the article –

    “The defensive player’s job is to minimize damage at every opportunity while gradually chipping away at the opponent’s lifebar.”

    That resonates exactly with what Jeff said. He called it aggressive turtling and that that was his preferred style of play. He also played a few matches between with Daigo and they were fairly impressive. Jeff pretty much owned him…at least the matches that I saw. No wonder he was number 2 back in the day…

    Here is his first video on strategy.


    Secondly, here are two of the Daigo matches…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9YyLKWbiXk (Ownage)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al_A9Hp-NgY (More Ownage on O.Sagat no less)

    If you have the time, comments on what you think of his strategy, can it be applied now in SF 4, and what you think of those ST matches would be fairly interesting.

  43. April 4th, 2010 at 15:50 | #43

    Yeah those retrospective videos are awesome. Some of his commentary on other players isn’t completely objective, obviously, but i love to hear anyone’s first-hand perspective on what the scene was like back then.

    It’s funny but Jeff Schaeffer is almost as much of a mythical character as Tomo Ohira is. The only difference is there’s some recorded footage of Jeff whereas there’s nothing of Tomo, but even that’s misleading because there’s nothing of Jeff in his prime. That period was way before my time so i’d love to see it too, but what can you do?

    Some people i’ve talked to who played with Jeff think he was super important to the development of the community, whereas others think he was simply a jerk. So there’s a lot of stories, if you ask the right people. But yeah he definitely had a solid style, definitely made a lot of innovations, and definitely helped SoCal get ahead of the game.

    As for those matches, clearly Jeff can hold his own. There’s no disputing that. But HSF2 CE Guile definitely plays a factor. That first round isn’t flattering at all because although Daigo certainly didn’t deserve to win, you can’t really say he deserved to lose either. The second round is played way better. Jeff takes the momentum from the first round and totally pushes it into the second, and doesn’t let Daigo regain his composure. I mean you can’t go as far as saying Daigo was scared or anything that extreme, but you can definitely sense a slight bit of uncertainty. It’s not at all easy capitalizing on “a slight bit of uncertainty” when it’s Daigo we’re talking about.

    That second match is pretty awesome though. He shows that he knows that oldschool Guile vs Sagat matchup way better than Daigo does. You gotta love seeing that OG secret mastery come out, you know? It’s such an impressive performace from beginning to end because he runs into Sagat’s natural advantages the first round, slowly turns the tide in the second round, then dominates the third round. You could say he was winning from the very beginning. It just took a round to get over the hump.

    But it’s pretty hard to point out something specific that he was doing exceptionally well. Especially since CE Guile does so much damage! For me the most impressive thing is that he beat Daigo, and we’re talking more than just a singly lucky win. Not too many people can beat someone of Daigo’s caliber because most people go in there expecting to lose or thinking that they need to do some crazy flashy junk in order to squeak out a win. But Jeff just played solid like he’d play against anyone else. That’s impressive to me.

  44. azarel_7
    April 13th, 2010 at 07:43 | #44

    Yeah..it was rather impressive to see..

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