By Punkgasm 3 Comments
Ya know, I'm being completely honest when I say that I was looking forward to playing the new and improved, yet cheaper version ofStreet Fighter IV. In hindsight, however, its going to take a hell of a lot to get Capcom on my good side again. It was very naive of me to think that "new and improved with ten new characters" and "we brought back the bonus modes and online tournaments" somehow translates into a less shitty experience.
I'll start at the beginning. The first Capcom fighter I ever played wasX-Men vs. Street Fighter, an arcade machine at the local skating rink; and yes, I was very, very young. Like, single digits in age. At the time, I loved the hell out of it, because it was easy for a little kid like me to pick up and start mashing buttons and somehow beat the computer. And being the youngster that I was, I was only drawn to theX-Men characters. Little did I know how far off that first impression was.
Over the years, I continued playing many 2D fighters in the arcades, like Marvel vs. Capcom, Darkstalkers, Capcom vs. SNK and so forth. I never really got to see much of the root of all this Capcom madness. That is, until I downloaded the trial version of Street Fighter II on XBox Live Arcade. At the time I was heavy into Guilty Gear and would always play it whenever I would visit friends' houses, and once I had my own version on my XBox, I was set. But when I downloaded the trial for SFII, I was just in awe of how awful it was. "What the fuck is this?" I asked myself, "Surely this can't be what everyone raves about all the time?" But, when I saw that a bunch of my friends had gotten it and were heckling me to join, I knew the truth: Capcom has somehow brainwashed the majority into thinking it's mediocre, backwards, broken slop was somehow amazing.
I could hardly believe it. Even the gaming press (mostly the mainstream) was falling all over themselves every time somethingStreet Fighter related was announced. I mean, sure guys, it was great during the 90's, but in this day and age, you need to bring a lot more to the table. That's why I remain loyal to the folks over at Arc System Works, as well as SNK (for the most part).
I still firmly believe that Street Fighter IV is the same basic, boring, broken-ass game as Street Fighter II. Sure, it's got flashy 3D graphics now (and by flashy I mean chunky and ugly...seriously, those character models are boring and look like they were molded out of clay by a 12-year-old in fine arts school), and they added cinematic finishing moves, but it still feels like the safe stiffness from over 15 years ago. New graphics ma scream "hip and modern", but that "classic gameplay" needs to go.
I think that is Capcom's biggest problem this generation. They are unable to keep up with the times in America, and assume that that just because it works in Japan, it will work anywhere. This closed-minded mentality can be seen in many of their releases this generation: Monster Hunter (still the exact same game as on PS2, now retro-fitted to the Wii and XBox 360), Mega Man (we're out of ideas so lets go back to the 8-bit days and call it a throwback), Resident Evil 5(aka RE4 but in the daytime with co-op), Lost Planet (aka Monster Hunter with guns), Bionic Commando and Dark Void (don't even get me started), and of course Street Fighter IV (SFII with 3D graphics). All of these games suffer from either outdated gameplay masquerading as modernized, or bad game design in an attempt to shed that problem. Sooner or later, Capcom is going to find itself in a difficult position (probably after they release Lost Planet 2 and Dead Rising 2). They can only rely on their Japanese audience for so long. Square Enix has a similar problem, but if this rant is any indication, I'm sure you can see what I'm getting at.
I guess the bigger picture I'm trying to paint here is this: as the gaming industry continues to grow and change, pushing forward with new technology and ideas, Japan is going to find itself at a loss. Their gaming market is perfectly content with getting the same old stuff, year after year. Some may say that that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I would argue that it defeats the purpose of a competitive market. From the looks of things, Capcom is struggling to maintain its image in the States, and if they don't do something about it soon (they are working with U.S. developers now, at least), it will all come crashing down on them.