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Some Positives About Street Fighter 4

Yeah there's a lot of problems in SF4, but there are some good things too.

I don't know how effective Gouken is, but his design is interesting. No dragon punch, but a super and ultra dragon punch. A high counter and low counter that act somewhat like a dragon punch, but worse because he has to guess high or low and it loses to the "breaking glass" moves, like Cammy's cannon spike. The ex counter doesn't require you to guess high or low though. I beat Cammy's ultra once with an ex counter, but got hit the second time I tried. Not sure what's up with that. Also, using the counter drains your life and slowly refills it, like using a focus attack. This is an advantage for the most part, because it means your ultra guage is even more full than usual. Because his ultra is guaranteed off a normal throw (and easy), it's basically a throw super...that doubles as the occasional dragon punch super if you really need it. Ironic that landing it is so easy that it's a better "throw super" than Zangief's, at least for me.

It's painful dealing with Zangief's bad-feeling jump, as if he is a flea of some sort, and not having his hop move. And not having his low fierce from Alpha 2 and 3. But his SPD is good, with jab having ridiculously long range (great!) but low damage. SPD startup time is 2 frames, which is bad for any other Street Fighter but buff in SF4 because other throws are so slow. Opponent trying link combos on you? Mash out a jab SPD and force them to have perfect timing. Lariat is also amazing, as it always is in just about every version of Street Fighter. I could be completely wrong about this, but Zangief seems strong against Rufus and Crimson Viper (see below), but against most characters, I feel like I only win when they make mistakes. I hear he is considered very strong, but I'm not sure how you'd beat a good Ryu or Sagat. There must be a million videos on that though.

My friend plays Crimson Viper, who seems like Crimson Eddie from Guilty Gear. Eddie can invite hell (the ground spike thing), frc (cancel), instant air dash slash. The effect is you get hit from below, then a split second later, hit from above. C.Viper can do the same thing with that ground punch thing that makes dust fly up from across the screen, cancelled into a super jump then into her air flame kick thing. If you do it right, this stuff hits very fast, indeed. She can also do a bunch of bullshit crossups with that air flame kick that beat out even dragon punches if she does it right (goes behind the dragon punch and hits it usually). Not to mention her slidey punch, short, slidey punch frame trap. If you do almost anything, you get hit by short into slidey punch. I think that's how it goes, I don't know exactly. I found that picking Zangief and doing lariat negates her entire bullshit crossup game, which is fine with me.

After the initial shock of how amazingly terrible Vega is, I kind of like him in a Dan sort of way. Winning with him seems like some kind of joke to humiliate the opponent. His roll is absurdly slow ("hey guys, I'm going to duck down and start rolling, what do you think of that?"). His wall dive is also an april fools joke, moving so slow and being so vulnerable as to as to inspire actual laughter from my opponents. A terrible flip kick and seemingly bad ultra round out his moves. That said, at least he has a decent slide, good pokes, and his good jump fierce and jump strong. On the one hand, it's sad to see him in this pathetic state, but on the other, I have to admit I had fun trying to scrape out wins with him against an onslaught of focus cancel combos and links and so forth. I don't even know a combo with Vega.

Bison's safe scissor kick seems dirty somehow. I'm always up for abusing a safe attack though so doing it all day is great. You do have to low jab, low jab, low jab, low short, scissor kick to play him though (or stick a low forward in there). I can do it somewhat ok. His slide is good, his scissor kick is good, his headstomp is pretty good. Too bad his psycho crusher is worse than even the greatly toned down version in Super Turbo. Also too bad that I can't seem to do his ultra without accidentally teleporting half the time. What's up with that? His ex scissor kick going through fireballs seems like overkill. It's not like fireballs are as powerful as in SF2 series, and he didn't need it there. His stand medium kick is a decent poke and his stand roundhouse is a great poke even though it's angled up (boo). Luckily, it has a totally wonky hitbox that allows hit to hit as if the graphics for it were straight out, instead of angled up.

I don't know what's up with Rose's links. Either I can't do them or her combos from Alpha 2 don't work anymore, I don't know. She seems ok. Her low strong is no longer the terror it used to be in Alpha 2, but her new semi-broken abuse is her Ultra. It slices, it dices, it makes toast. It hits jumping opponents, attacking opponents, throwing opponents, ultraing opponents. It's everything you could ever ask for in a move. Too bad I get qcf x 2 + PP instead of PPP half the time, which wastes my super meter and gets me killed because the super doesn't have a practically half screen hitbox like the Ultra. Remember kids, you always have an ultra in Street Fighter 4, so you might as well have one that hits anything on the screen, cleanly.

Some characters I'm pretty unhappy with, but at least some are fun. I really wish I could play a version without wonky jumps, way too floaty air recoveries, way too long knock downs, and the general "stuck in jello" feel that runs through the game. That would let the good parts shine more...

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Reader Comments (102)

Good things? It's almost like you were being ironic in there.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolygriever

Coming from a largely non-Street Fighter background, the jumps feel much more natural to me in SF4. I'm used to seeing enemies drift slowly downward into the waiting arms of my juggles, or to having jump attacks with 8 frames of startup. Even the 3-frame throws felt "right" because Virtua Fighter uses 4-frame throws. All a matter of perspective, I guess.

It feels like the QA testers played a lot of Bison, because many of his moves have very generous hitboxes. Standing roundhouse, ultra, even headstomp all seem to connect as long as you are pointing vaguely in the right direction. (Contrast with Vega, whose attacks will whiff if you sneeze.)

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobyrt

I'm glad I'm not the only one that gets random Bison Warps when I try to Ultra.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStaples

Something I noticed about Zangief's lariat... at the Gamestop tourney I was playing against random scrubs who couldn't time their jumpin kicks with Ryu. They would usually do them too early, which happens to be the timing you actually want in order to hit Zangief out of the lariat.

So that's fine, it's typical SF... just block and SPD, or try the lariat, take the hit if you fail, then SPD. Except there's one big problem... this super early jumpin can still be followed up by low jabs or a low forward on the ground. So shotos (if not everyone) gets to jump in against the lariat and attack early without any drawback to it. I could be wrong about how this works, I haven't played that much, but it looked like a problem.

Overall though I think it's a pretty good game. There are some drawbacks such as the unnecessary difficulty of certain things, but people will learn them and it'll become second nature after a while. Many of the negatives are not a huge deal. So while it's no ST... or A2 or 3S... it's still a new SF game, and it's one that isn't centered around broken gameplay.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChocobo

I still have to wonder though...Why did Capcom keep the awful inputs for Cammy and Feilong's moves? They should've done what you did with SF2HDR. Those controls keep this from being a simple game.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFidyyuan

When I read the title of the blog, I was hoping the content would be a bit more positive than that man. I find it a real shame you have an overall negative view of the game so far.

Did you ever consider that maybe all jumping in 2d-2.5d based fighters is going to be unnatural - I mean in real life a guy would just take one step to the left to avoid a projectile coming towards him or her! I think another factor is they look odd as the graphics are so heavilly updated and in 3d, whereas these jumps are regimented on a fixed plane.

Response by Sirlin: What? There's plenty of 2D fighting games with reasonable feeling jumps. There's no reason this game couldn't set velocity and acceleration values similar to some of those. It has nothing to do with whether the characters are rendered in 2D or 3D.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfullspectrum

C. Viper vs. Gief is in Vipers favor imo. Vertical Jump RH will beat lariats as long as you arent directly above him, and you can easily follow up with a low forward into Thunder Knuckle. Of course they will start blocking and you can start to fake thunder knuckle and follow up with over head or throw or just pause and try for another low forward etc etc.. Hell, jump forward RH will beat or at the very least trade with lariat as well and leads to even more damage..

Seismic Hammer shuts down his game on the ground as a lot of giefs pace back and forth looking to get in with green hand or if he lariats to build meter, a well timed and placed Seismic hammer will take care of him.Fierce Thunder Kunckle and back and roundhouse hits him out oft the air fairly easily as well..

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhaunts

check out the damage on bison's ex-headstomp.. and it even sometimes beats SRKs cleanly!

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrealize

"Also too bad that I can't seem to do his ultra without accidentally teleporting half the time. What's up with that?"

DAMN that annoys me.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersnerrdd

this was a positive article? could have fooled me.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterasdf

Look Sirlin, I always respect your opinion and enjoy reading what you have to say; plus, I love the work you put in for HDRemix...However, I don't agree with all your negative criticism about SF4...You should approach this game with the mentality that it's new and not SS2T...It might feel "sluggish" comparatively but on its own, it still plays like a 2D game and it's one fine game...For the first iteration of a new SF, I believe this is the best work Capcom has done.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKacey

the game engine feels floaty and slow...I agree. I wish this played more like ST or 3S :-/. My question is though..why is Daigo playing this so much if it's not as good as ST and 3S?

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDMAmul

completely agree on vega his jump strong - crouch strong - sliding kick is unpredictable and does marvels against comboplayers especially that many thinks he's not serious.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfiremyst


February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmp

the title of this post is quite misleading, considering the actual post content...

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrogueyoshi

I always liked Vega (claw) since the first time he was playable back in CE. It's a shame he seems to be such a mess in SF4.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterforty

All your points have been pretty on target so far. I was playing Bison yesterday and kept teleporting instead of Ultra'ing (luckily the computer doesn't bother countering the teleport), seemingly more often than missing PPP for a PP ex move. Rose's Ultra is comical how well it comes out. Maybe the designers pro-telepath bias snuck its way into the game? Perhaps they were being mind controlled by psychics?

However, after thinking about it, I think your criticizes of Focus Canceling are off. The simplicity of combining Focus Attacks with cancels into one mechanic leads to a more elegant system then if they were two separate moves. The more complicated motion is a shame, but well worth the trade-off.

Response by Sirlin: I see no tradeoff at all, it would be better in every way to simplify that focus cancel stuff. One command to cancel, leaving you in neutral state. If you want to dash, then dash. If you want to focus attack, then focus attack. If you want to do a move, then do it. Having to cancel then cancel again immediately afterwords is strange and inelegant.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDustin Long

I sense no positive vibe from this article. I do however, appreciate the resulting analysis. Keep 'em coming.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternoky


Did you actually try him out in SFIV or just agreeing with the author?


February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRandoms

I really gotta agree with Sirlin about everything negative he says about SF4. Particularly the whole "jello feel", I utterly despise this, and it makes me feel nauseated at times. Other little things like the outdated backwards control inputs and names showing in ranked matches only proves to show Capcom has learned nothing from Sirlin and HD Remix.

February 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGabb
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