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Street Fighter 4: Unaccessible? |


Is this game completely unapproachable to newcomers?

First, the controls: while the rest of the industry is trying to make controls more intuitive, natural, and accessible, fighters have gone in the complete opposite direction. The controls are obtuse, hard to learn, frustratingly difficult to execute, and it’s supposed to be that way. This is done to give players a sense of real “skill” and accomplishment, but to most players this is just a pointless chore. These moves require several coordinated button presses and demand absolutely perfect timing and it’s sure to be maddeningly frustrating to all but the most devout players.

Secondly and more importantly, when are you supposed to perform which move and why? Basically, how do I play the game after I’ve learned the controls? The game doesn’t make the slightest attempt to explain this at all. The fundamentals of the game are kept shrouded in mystique. There are some very basic modes to help you learn the controls, but the game doesn’t make even a passing attempt to help you understand the game beyond that.

There is a lot of promise behind the core idea of a reflex-based one-on-one “duel” game. But that core game is hidden behind such an impossible learning curve, that few will experience it.

If single-player shooters have been excessively dumbed down to appeal to the masses, fighters are stubbornly refusing to make any concessions towards new players.

  • Gibb

    People seem to be buying special arcade sticks for this one, and I’m starting to think this is a requirement to enjoy the game. True or false?

  • mikael

    I agree completely with you, Darrin. I tend to feel the same, but to a lesser degree, about sports games; there’s rarely any hints on how to actually play the game once they’ve shown you the passing and shooting button.

  • If that’s the case with SFIV, I am glad they did not dumb down the controls. Each fighter usually has a great deal of moves, how will you translate this to a few buttons? By introducing combos, that’s the natural way. Should it auto-select a move? Where does that leave tactics?

    In fact, the less button mashing and the more tactical a fighter is, the better. If the game was not a fighter game, but fighting was secondary to the game, I’d understand, but the game HAS to offer something to be learned, it HAS to need some deeper understanding to be of any value, you should be able to learn new tricks weeks/months after you start playing.

    Gamers became too lazy, I guess!

  • Darrin

    If someone buys a football game, it’s safe to assume they know the general rules of football. This is totally different.

    Emrah, any kind of game with human competition is hard by nature: A newbie playing a multiplayer game of Killzone or Starcraft or Super Puzzle Fighter will get slaughtered. But the newbie will grasp the fundamentals immediately and have a general understanding of what he/she is supposed to do and why he/she is getting slaughtered. With a game Street Figher, a newbie will get slaughtered and not have a clue as to why. He/she will just keep randomly trying moves or mashing to try to find something that works.

  • mikael

    I think it’s safe to assume that everyone who buys SFIV knows the general rules of a fight as well.

  • Darrin, but that’s the only deep thing a fighter can provide you, wealth of moves executed on different situations, and the bigger the move, the harder it is to execute. There’s a very good balance to that. If that’s left out, the game has not much left to offer you. The newbie has to analyze how he’s getting beaten, and on what occasions he needs to execute which move.

  • mjm_007

    I used to be pretty good at Street Fighter & Mortal Kombat back in the day. But since middle school, I’ve developed my gaming a little bit and have branched out to different kinds of games, leaving the tekkens and other fighters behind. But now, maybe for nostalgia sake, I picked up SFIV and cant even compete in the arcade mode! Let alone online. The controls are slightly familiar, but I completely suck. lol. Its discouraging. I havent even played it since Killzone came out. I was thinking about buying a joystick too, btw. Anybody think that would help?

  • Nash

    I think it’s just like any other game, play it until you get it. If losing doesn’t make you want to get better, than it’s not worth your time. Every game can’t be made for everyone. I agree with the sports game reference. I know more than an average amount about real football, but I never play online because I get destroyed and it’s not fun. I don’t have time to invest in learning every defense for every situation, learning when (or how) to double team, customizing playbooks, etc.

    Fighting games have been around for a long time, and now they actually give you a moves list. When I first heard that you could throw a fireball in the original Street Fighter, I didn’t even believe it. There are enough guides and info out there to learn if you really want to. If they’re not fun enough to learn, don’t play them, lifes to short! If you like them, just get beat up until you figure it out!

    And to those looking at fighting sticks, if you’re not very good with the pad, the stick probably won’t help much. Then again, I’m not willing to spend the money to find out! I’ve been playing on the pad forever so I’m used to it.

  • Darrin

    The player is definitely assumed to know what punches and kicks are and how they work and what field goals and tackles and a first down is. But it’s generally the responsibility of the game to communicate to the player how to make a successful punch or kick and a successful field goal or tackle.

    Emrah, you may be right in which case I’m just missing the strategy of the game.

  • I have to agree with Darrin. I love Street Fighter, and generally have little problem with beat ’em ups (usually Tekken and Soul Calibur), but I’ve struggled with Street Fighter. As Darrin says, the moves are described, but not the situations they should be used in, and it’s extremely difficult to deduce that when you’re getting slaughtered by Seth or a human player. I would have liked to have seen modes where an enemy will attack you in a pre-defined way, the same every time, to allow you to figure out which move to use for that particular situation. Instead, step (i) is move learning, swiftly followed by step (ii) which is being exposed to a huge variety of situations with no clue which tool to use where.

    On a slight side note, Street Fighter is also yet another example of a game released with pre-prepared extra content, added at considerable extra content on the store within weeks of release. The Thursday store update has been quite unpleasant reading for some time.

  • doshin

    I actually have the same complaints about SF4.

    You may want to give Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe a try for some accessible fighting goodness. It’s the critically panned ugly stepchild of fighters, but you don’t need an arcade stick to pull off the moves and it’s just plain fun.


    I had never played a SF game before I picked up SFIV. It was very difficult at first but now I love it. I get dominated whenever I go online but it’s perfect for parties.

  • Having a better training mode would be nice, I agree.. but I do not agree with dumbing down the controls. You’re talking about dumbing down the controls when chances are most of the people who want this arent the ones the game is made for to begin with. It’s like playing StarCraft and saying there are too many units or you have to click too fast becuase you’re getting rushed. These games that require “skill” that you speak of are the same games that are still going strong today even 10-15 years later.

    Have people lost the appreciation for challenge? Maybe games are just too easy now and that’s the real problem.


  • Trev

    if you need some help you should listen to leo stahl here;

  • epinky2295

    o wait it has online play but u cant find a match and whoever u go against they didnt install it so it takes 30 seconds to even begin the fight

  • epinky2295

    SFIV would be great if you can ****ing play online.

  • Cebren

    Does anyone remember playing a game day in and day out for weeks and even months before beating it…games lost that in the last 5 – 10 years…it seems that an 8 year old kid can go to gamestop buy a game and then beat it in a day or so and then return it ready to move no to another. The controls are frustrating and they are difficult, but I find myself trying harder to accomplish them ass apposed to acting like a 5 year old and just giving up. This game is a throw back to what we remember, and the moves are quite the same, but the combos are definately hard…I love it though…It gives me something to strive for.

  • Billy Bob

    I learned the old Street Fighter Controls Down to a Tee and the good thing used to be that every Street Fighter game released after 2 i could pick up and play and the controls would work. Now though in SF4, the have changed the timing, reaction and speed of which you can do it. Every time an opponent jumps in the air i know when i can take them out in the old ones with SF4, i end up on my ass.