I’m not going to mince words here: Street Fighter V was a huge letdown. More importantly, the iconic fighter is no longer the top dog of the fighting scene, either, with many hardcore fighting fans moving over to Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters, and Killer Instinct for their fill.
Luckily, Capcom is aware of the hot mess they have on their hands with the series’ fifth entry, and they’re staying on top of the damage control efforts with a new Beta version of the Capcom Fighting Network, which that facilitates the operation of SFV.
The effort may be too little too late, though, as Capcom is only now addressing the issues that have been plaguing the fighting game sequel for more than a year. Adding more salt to the wound, the developer is limiting Beta access to PC players only. PS4 owners are still stiffed with the junky build that Capcom sold them — and that’s without any news of an update to the console version in sight.
Now that’s not to say that the game as it is now is unplayable, but it’s definitely a bit rough — and arguably still incomplete. A lot of the brawler’s flaws stem from the lackluster infrastructure of its network, which did nothing to monitor netcode stability (or player conduct for that matter) if you were even lucky enough to score a connection. That’s not to mention the small degree of utility available for the few online competitive modes that Street Fighter V offered.
In my brief time playing around with the CFN Beta, I was able to appreciate the flexibility that Capcom presented as I was given full access to the all of the available characters and stages in SFV while customizing my profile preferences. The good vibes didn’t last, though, as the few matches I did get to play came with the baggage of excessive wait times for matchmaking during peak network hours on a Friday night.
Even after I optimized the game settings to run properly on my hardware, there were still some hints of hitbox clipping and lag that affected the overall quality of the bout, with the connection suddenly dying in between rounds.
With the climate of the Street Fighter V as it is now, Capcom is going to have to go all in with their CFN Beta — and release it on the PlayStation Store as well. The fact that the Japanese brand has overlooked half of the player base is astonishing when you factor in just how many players are on the PS4.
What baffles me more is that one of the biggest selling points that Street Fighter V had going for it was the cross-platform play that it promised between PlayStation 4 and Windows, which would have significantly expanded the field test that Capcom’s attempting to conduct with the beta. On top of that, it would have also greatly increased the data they hope to collect out of the release.
The CFN Beta is supposed to go on until April 3, which honestly just isn’t enough time to mend any of the fences that the game needs to fix. I’m hedging bets, however, that Capcom will figure this out themselves much sooner than later, especially when they notice the gradually growing wave of negative steam reviews that keep stacking up on the Beta’s store page.
Personally, I hope the Beta sticks around longer and gets the maintenance it needs, then if Capcom can move it over to Sony’s marketplace, the goodwill of the series may have a chance to be fostered again for those who still care.
But only time will tell.