Street Fighter V PS4 Review

Street Fighter V PS4 Review

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Capcom’s Proposal to Consumers:

You give us $69.99 and we’ll give you a quality barebones fighting game featuring a selection of your favorite characters plus some new ones. You will be able to fight online against other players powered by the best netcode this series has ever seen.

We know the single player content is lacking but we promise to give you a cinematic story experience in June. We’re also going to expand beyond the basic online multiplayer options with lobbies.

Don’t forget, we’re also rolling out new characters which you can earn for free or pay us for. Check out our season pass, it’s only $29.99.

I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to shell out money for Street Fighter V. There’s a lot of quality in Street Fighter V but at some point, quantity has to show up as well. I wasn’t expecting a story mode akin to Mortal Kombat 9 and X but I expected a barebones arcade mode at the very least. They could have included the same single player arcade mode employed in Street Fighter II and most people wouldn’t have batted an eye. It’s what we’ve come to expect from the series but when they couldn’t even match that and instead offered a tedious survival mode and a paltry story mode consisting of a handful of easy one off matches, they must have known it would have garnered criticism.

At its core though, there’s a fun and engaging fighting game. I love playing it and when the online matchmaking finds a quality opponent, I have a blast and want to keep playing. The problem is that recently (just over a month after the game’s release), I’m spending more time looking for quality matches than I am participating in them. I’ve been told that I should be looking for matches during peak times and not at 10 or 11 at night which is fair but at the same time, this is the first game that I had to make these kinds of concessions for. I didn’t have these kinds of issues in early March.

So I’ve been playing the survival mode and dabbling in the training mode whenever I wanted some guaranteed quality time with Street Fighter V. It’s such a satisfying game to play. I love how easy it is to execute moves and the changes they made to characters like Charlie gave those characters new life. A number of characters received command input changes for their classic moves. For example, Chun Li’s Lightning Kick was changed from mashing kick to quarter circle forward (QCF) and kick. I appreciated those changes but I also wished they just made everything a quarter circle motion at this point — but I’m just not a fan of charge moves so that’s just my own bias.

The words “lovingly crafted” don’t immediately come to mind when I look at the visuals Street Fighter V. It may remind some people of Street Fighter IV but if they actually looked at Street Fighter IV today and not in their mind’s eye, Capcom’s latest looks markedly superior in both style and technical quality.

The game makes a great first impression. The characters look amazing and move with fluidity that remind me of the shift to Street Fighter III. After staring at the game for a few hours, I started to notice the ugly dithered shadow work and wonky clipping of hair, belts and other loose clothing. As for the backgrounds? The less I speak about those hideous assets the better. They’re fun and feature nice touches here and there but it’s clear that they had to make sacrifices in order to keep the game running at 60 FPS.

I wouldn’t recommend Street Fighter V to many people. People dreaming of robust Mortal Kombat length single player campaigns or any significant single player offering will be left disappointed. But if you’re a fan of the competitive aspect of Street Fighter — playing against other players online or offline — Street Fighter V has a very basic representation of what you’re seeking. The core fighting feels fantastic and if you can find players to do battle with, you’re going to have a blast. I want both and thus it’s been a disappointment. I have faith that Capcom will deliver the product I want. I just wish they didn’t charge full price for it yet.

Verdict:
It’s okay

Ratings Guide

Checkpoint: Tax Filing 2015 Edition

Checkpoint: Tax Filing 2015 Edition

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I’ve been using TurboTax for years. I buy the standard edition and file claims for my immediate family for less than $30 per year. I tried H&R Block’s free online offering last year but it couldn’t even handle my simple scenario properly. For the 2015 tax year, Intuit decided to step into the free game and offer TurboTax online free as well. I was going to check it out but then I heard of SimpleTax and the huge amount of praise that it received.

SimpleTax doesn’t offer the questionnaire that I’ve grown accustom to with TurboTax and that’s both a blessing and a point of worry. It’s a blessing for those who are familiar with their tax situation, have a handful of forms and receipts and just want to input them. TurboTax’s interview/questionnaire served as a checklist . I had forgotten about my public transit pass and if it wasn’t for the fact that I was owing money instead of getting a refund, I may have omitted it entirely. TurboTax would have “saved” me because it would have asked if that situation applied to me from the onset.

SimpleTax does have an optimization and suggestions function that made useful suggestions though. It suggested I take a look at medical expenses and I found out that I could claim my laser eye surgery. I would have likely explored that possibility with TurboTax’s suggestions phase as well but it was nice to see SimpleTax have that security blanket.

The process of inputting forms and receipts in SimpleTax was enough to win me over for subsequent years. It was easy to find what I was looking for with a few keystrokes in their search field. The boxes were laid out logically and I was able to tab through them with ease. I also found tooltips found throughout each form very useful.

I submitted my return for 2015 and if the tax man comes back with no complaints, I see myself using SimpleTax next year as well. I’m impressed with SimpleTax so far but I don’t think it’s as beginner friendly as TurboTax’s interview/questionnaire.

After 40 hours, I’m ready to close the book on Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. I’m also nearing the end of the Division’s campaign but unlike Fire Emblem, I don’t feel like I’m done with the Division just yet.

Then there’s Street Fighter V which I’m trying to play more but any time I try playing online, I get fed up with the long wait times and end up chipping away at Survival Normal. There’s a new patch and character coming out next week that will hopefully give me the opportunity to find some quick matches. It’s incredibly silly to spend more time waiting on matchmaking and loading than fighting.

Checkpoint: 16GB of DDR4 Edition

Checkpoint: 16GB of DDR4 Edition

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The first piece of my new PC arrived last week. I pulled the trigger on it because it reached the lowest recorded price point ever on Amazon.ca and across all retailers according to PCPartPicker’s price tracker.

I chose the Crucial Ballistix Sport because it met some very simple criteria:

  • It was cheap.
  • I chose 2 x 8GB because two sticks of 16GB memory was far too costly
  • I chose DDR4-2400 because I wanted to do some light overclocking

So why did I just buy the memory? What about all the other parts? I’m in no rush to build this PC because I’m waiting for NVIDIA’s next generation GPUs to arrive. However, I do have a cut off date: July 29, 2016. That’s when Microsoft stops offering free upgrades to Windows 10.

This will be my smallest PC yet. It will be a mini-itx based PC but I’m moving down to cases that can accommodate full sized GPUs and SFX power supplies. I’m trying to build a powerful and quiet console sized gaming PC.

The Division comes out next week so in the meantime it’s been a lot of Street Fighter V and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. I’m enjoying both but they’re not without their issues. Street Fighter V makes a gorgeous first impression but after spending some time looking at the the characters and stages, the flaws become increasingly irksome and disappointing. I don’t ever recall a mainline Street Fighter title debuting with such disregard for detail.

As for Fire Emblem gripes? The awkward anime tropes and awkward handling of offspring. I didn’t meddle with this stuff in Fire Emblem: Awakening and while it’s nice to see new characters on my roster, it’s offset by the peculiar handling of raising children.

Checkpoint: Beta Weekend 2016 Edition

Checkpoint: Beta Weekend 2016 Edition

It’s a weekend of betas so I thought I would chime in with some impressions.

Street Fighter V

The last Street Fighter V beta featured more characters, stages and a menu that teased what’s to come. It also reminded me that Street Fighter V won’t have a story mode at launch and that it will likely be filled with cutscenes like these and in-engine shots like this. I prefer the latter for consistency’s sake. I’m not holding my breath for Mortal Kombat 9 calibre story but I am expecting some genuine effort beyond the arcade mode. I would really enjoy a Street Fighter Alpha 3 style RPG-lite system though.

The matchmaking was a lot better from a skill perspective; I wasn’t being hammered by skilled players. I wasn’t pleased with the time it took to find my next opponent though. I wouldn’t mind the wait if it ensured a quality match but being paired with someone with a spotty connection after a long wait wasn’t ideal. When it worked, it was very enjoyable. I already have it pre-ordered on disc but I am considering giving up the disc for a digital copy.

The Division

The beta of the weekend was The Division. Back in 2013, I was very skeptical on The Division and believed Destiny was the game for me. Unfortunately Destiny initial outing wasn’t my cup of tea. It was a bad loot game filled with tedious grind and repetition. I fear for the same thing for The Division but that fear also extended to Diablo III.

What makes The Division so appealing for me is the Dark Zone — the lawless areas of New York City — where players can venture out to fight higher level enemies for the promise of better loot. The risky part of this equation are the other players out there who can attack and steal what my bro and I collected. I had two notable experiences in the Dark Zone.

The Positive

My brother and I were pursuing this group of NPCs from one end of a street. We easily flanked them because they were facing the other way and after they were dispatched we discovered they were distracted by another three players. We encountered friendly individuals before but we’ve never encountered a group. We were sub-level 8 so I presumed everyone was friendlier but out of nowhere one of them fired some shots. I rolled back into cover and they did the same. We hunkered there ready to fight. We waited for a long nervous minute before one of them approached the middle and raised his hands and began walking towards us. A misunderstanding? A ploy? We eventually walked passed each other with fingers on the triggers ready to retaliate. As soon as they passed us, they ran off.

Once we filled out backpacks with contaminated Dark Zone loot, we had to move to one of the extraction points and fire a flare out for extraction. This was a beacon for other agents to join in on the extraction or a signal for other predatory agents to come in for easy kills. Watching the clock countdown was tense. We didn’t know if people were going to come and get us or what.

Moments like these were interesting. Can you trust other humans not kill you? The game temporarily flagged people who attacked other players as rogue agents. I accidentally hit another player outside of our group with crossfire and was flagged as rogue for about 10 seconds. I suspect killing someone would mean I was rogue for longer and be seen by all on the map as rogue.

The Negative

Flagging rogue agents in the Dark Zone is smart. In theory, it helps out smaller groups to avoid treachery or indicate to others that there are assholes to take out. Unfortunately there was a bug in the beta where rogue agents were invisible and I would only appear after they’ve killed you. It was like being attacked by ghosts.

It’s also highly recommended to venture out into the Dark Zone with other players. I’m reading too many stories of lone agents being gunned down by packs of rogue agents.

A Solid Foundation?

I like what I’ve seen of The Division thus far. It runs well and is surprisingly customizable for a console game. I can tweak a number of UI elements to my liking. On a technical perspective, I can even tweak graphical effects like how aggressive the anti-aliasing work (sharpening) and whether or not to enable chromatic aberration.

On the gameplay front, there were plenty of appearance and weapon modifications to personalize as well giving players plenty of options to express themselves.

What worries me the most about The Division are the enemy encounters. Damage sponges like those found in Destiny are tedious but mopping the floor with brain dead enemies is not fun either. Playing the “Hospital” mission on Hard and going up agains the higher level enemies in level 8 Dark Zone instances felt like that right mix. I don’t expect the final game to feature smarter enemies but I hope for a better mix. What makes Diablo III’s combat work is the juggling and management of different enemy types. I began to see glimmers of that on the hard difficulty but it’s too early to say.

Cautious Optimism Continues

The Division looks like it’s the next shooter RPG loot hybrid that could grip players all over the world. It may even sink its fangs into me like Diablo III U.E did. I’m still holding onto my pre-order for now but it’s not a firm decision. There’s a lot to like about the Division (I didn’t even mention how I love all the details) but there’s also a lot to dislike (too much running around). I’m unable to make a definitive judgement call on it yet but there is something about it that’s piqued my interest.

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