Street Fighter IV dropped the ball with multiplayer.
Let me start by saying that (boss battle difficulty aside) Street Fighter IV is one of the best fighting games to come along in a while, and is certainly a great addition to the Street Fighter legacy. The feel is great, it has the right amount of characters and depth. The artistic direction, backgrounds, and graphics are all amazing.
There isn't any real need to discuss if this is a good fighting game, it's Street Fighter, and it's good. Period. But herein lies the problem. It is a great fighting game. What do people do when they come across a great fighting game? They play the living crap out of it with their friends, that's what they do - and this is where Street Fighter IV starts to suck.
No, it isn't due to lag, or anything else you'd expect to plague the online aspects of a fighting game - they did a good job with those elements. Street Fighter IV's shortcomings can best be laid out in a list of failures that no modern fighting game should have:
- No online tournament mode
Want to play in a party with a few friends, and determine who is the best fighter out of your group? Howabout playing in an online tournament with, say, 100 other Xbox Live members in a giant slug-fest to see who has the best skill? Well, in Street Fighter IV, you can't. Not unelss you have that paper and pen handy, and are good at sending out invites quickly. But who wants to make their own tournament with winners and losers brackets by hand, and then coordinate all of that information online? It's 2009, and we have the Xbox 360, with Xbox Live - "Live" being the operative word. Too bad we are stuck with Street Fighter IV.
- No winner stays on top - aka, the "Quarter Match" mode
When an Xbox Live Arcade re-hash of a 10 year old game gets this right, and yet your new and fancy ultimate latest greatest version doesn't, something is wrong. Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting (an Xbox Live Arcade game) features a spectator mode as an homage to the days when you'd put your quarter down on the machine to signify that "you got next". What a great feature! Better yet, how would you like to have your entire party of 8 friends watching 2 of you slug it out, with the winner staying on to fight the next challenger in your group? Even better right? A natural progression in this fast-paced world of progress! Only one snag: Street Fighter IV DOESN'T INCLUDE ANY FORM OF SPECTATOR OR QUEUE MODE. Not even the damn quarter match!
No, the only thing you can do in Street Fighter IV is play mano-a-mano. One on one. Then, return to the lobby, and start all over again. Talk about bland, boring, and essentially a waste of time. What replay value does this title really have without easy-to-setup tournaments amongst your friends online? What if you like watching truly great players play, or just want to see your friends duke it out online? YOU SIMPLY CAN'T. And this is why Street Fighter IV can already be found in the bargain bin at your local game shop. What a shame.
What was Capcom thinking??? Hopefully they hear our begging and pleading for a proper online mode. Knowing Capcom, it will show up in Street Fighter IV Hyper Fighting Super Turbo MegaMix Alpha 3 Edition vs. SNK vs. Marvel vs. A Pile Of ASS in 2010. Look it up, I'm sure it's in development.