If you haven’t played Super Street Fighter IV for the PS3, I would highly recommend it. It has excellent graphics, several different challenging modes of play, and excellent replay value. However, in one area the game could definitely use some improvement. I’m referring to the online component. While still very fun, the setup of the online system could use some tweaking. Here are my suggestions on how to improve it.
Allow the option to choose a particular fighter (or at least group of fighters) to battle with. The game allows you to do this in replay mode, where you can select from various groups of fighters including originals, bosses, newest characters, etc. This would be such a welcome choice it would bring tears to the eyes of many players. I can’t recount how many times I have had to fight Ryu or Ken in battle online. I understand that they are popular characters, but I have fought over 100 battles and have never had the opportunity to face many of the other characters. Even the ability to select certain characters NOT to fight would be a boon. It would give the player the chance to face off against characters that he/she is actually interested in fighting.
Revamp the “same skill” feature. The same skill feature in Super Street Fighter IV allows players, supposedly, to fight against other players in approximately their same level of prowess. In actuality, however, this is very hit or miss. The reason is that the game uses a kind of twofold ranking system. One barometer of skill is a point value that rises whenever a player wins a battle (battle points), while the one used for determining equivalent skill rises with a win or drops with a loss. This seems reasonable at first glance, but what I have noticed happening is sandbagging in order to collect trophies. This occurs because the game awards trophies for collecting wins of 3, 5, and 10 in a row, respectively. If a player is struggling against those of equal skill, he can intentionally lose several battles in a row to drop his player points to zero, thus allowing himself to fight the least skilled opponents in a rather unsportsmanlike method to nab the trophies.
Allow players to quit team battle. This seems like a rather simple feature to implement and would save a lot of boredom. In team battle, if you lose your first match and your teammate wins, you are finished. You would think that the game would let you drop out of the battle and go do something else, but it doesn’t. You are forced to sit and watch any remaining fights that occur with no way to opt out other than quitting the game entirely. There simply must be a better way than this.
Allow players to quit due to lag. I don’t have a problem with the fact that sometimes you get into an online battle and the game lags. It happens. What is very annoying, however, is the inability to do anything about it other than get demolished. The game seems able to sense when a connection is lagging (based on the little cell phone bars used to indicate connection strength). If it senses that a connection is horrible, it should offer the player the option to end the battle and look for a better one.
Finally, there should be separate rooms for those with the standard PS3 controllers and those with the more advanced arcade sticks. It is obvious when you watch battles on the replay channel which players have the Sony controllers and which ones have the arcade sticks. The ones with the Sony controllers will punch the air, kick at nothing, and generally struggle as they work to pull off their character’s special moves. Those with arcade sticks designed for the game perform every attack flawlessly and have a serious advantage over their standard controller competitors. If you are serious about finding fighters of equal skill, this should be how you begin.
Those are my ideas. Whether they could be included in a download for those who own the game or simply implemented in future fighting games, they would make for a much more enjoyable online experience.