I would like to report a crime. The offender? Capcom. I am referring to the launch of the highly anticipated Sony exclusive, Super Street Fighter 5 (SSF5). All that is missing from this heist is a copy of SSF5 sitting in the back seat of a white Bronco on a nationally televised highway police chase. Unfortunately, this is not a first impressions review as I intended when I picked up my midnight copy to share with our Pop Critica community. My copy will stay on my bookshelf for the time being. The reason? Simple. No arcade mode. For the casual offline fighters like myself, this is unacceptable. Spending $60 to only play online to be ripped to pieces by little Timmy who plays nothing but fighting games around the clock is not fun–at all.
I remember a time before the internet. A time when there was no after launch patches, updates, and DLC asking for more money. When you brought home a new game, it was a finished and polished product, ready to be enjoyed. Every single Super Street Fighter game since its original SNES release, has included arcade mode. The very corner-stone D.N.A of any fighting game. Arcade mode was the “story” of your journey as your fighter hopped in their 16 bit plane and traveled across the world to your next bout in the tournament. Many gamers consider the SSF franchise to be “king” in the land of gaming in the fighting genre, and rightfully so. I fondly remember going to my local arcade with a pocket full of shiny tokens with one goal only. To dominate and hold my spot with the arcade joystick as victim after victim moved on to play Galaga or watch my next challenger. At least that is how I envisioned it. Truthfully, I would lose rather quickly and just be that kid sucking down a strawberry ICEE watching in the background as the real professionals went at it.
Even when I was 16, I headed to my local game shop and bought my first ever console with my very own money from my first job. After throwing that glorious Super Nintendo in my shopping cart, I had just enough money to buy one game and one game only. My choice? Super Street Fighter 2. I must have spent countless hours playing arcade mode with Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li. Ah, the good old days.
I remember like it was just yesterday, bringing home Super Street Fighter 4 in 2010 for my PlayStation 3. Was a dream come true to see those fantastic 16-bit arenas oozing off my HD TV in modern gaming graphics. What was even cooler, is that for the first time, we got to enjoy real story cut-scenes between matches. I was sure that if we got a Super Street Fighter 5, that Capcom would even take it a step further and give us a real story campaign similar to NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat and DC Injustice series. Hell, even a nod to the solid Super Street Fighter anime films would have been welcomed. Instead everyone with a fresh copy of SSF5 gets to enjoy a fast 2-hour “story mode” that has generic cut scenes to pace an even more generic story. I think the worst part would be just how amazing the graphics are and how smooth the gameplay is. Too bad there is no meat in this sandwich.
Keep in mind, this is a Sony exclusive. Which means Sony pulled out their wallet to secure this title to sell PlayStation 4 consoles. That is why we have exclusives. I imagine that Sony surely is not thrilled that Capcom released such a bare bones game. This isn’t the same as the recent Titanfall or Star Wars Battlefront games that were released with no campaign. To include a campaign, that requires more of a budget–even though that should still be included in a $60 retail game. To not include arcade mode is just lazy and cruel. What if a gamer doesn’t have the internet or doesn’t care to play online? Stripping away arcade only leaves the offline gamer a couple of choices. Either play in practice mode or the lame 2-hour story mode that only has one-round bouts. One..round…bouts.
That is it. No CPU battles keeping fingers glued to controller till the sun rises. To add even more blood to this crime scene, is the news that the online servers aren’t even working for many players. One would actually have a faster time waiting for your dog, Perseus, to do his business on his walk during a cold and snowy winter night than waiting for the server to start a fight. Sounds like a fun weekend. Granted, Capcom has stated that we will be getting free story expansion and challenge packs down the road heading in March and into the summer. Almost four months after launch and still no confirmation of an arcade mode. Perhaps come this fall, I will be able to play Super Street Fighter 5. A good six months after I waited in line for an hour on its midnight launch release. In the meantime, as my new copy of SSF5 collects dust, my old copy of Mortal Kombat X just had new life breathed into it and that my friends is what I call a true gaming crime fatality!