I've played SFV and it can be summed up as 'straight-forward'. That's not a bad thing, but depending on how the game is executed, it can alienate the core audience that has been built up since the release of SFIV all those years ago. My biggest issue with Capcom going into the development of SFV was that they have said on a number of occasions that the game is 'back-to-basics'. That's fine, but wasn't SFIV a back-to-basics too? It's a difficult one for the developers because what they're really trying to do is grow the player base beyond those who are already true believers. Making a game 'more accessible' will always prove divisive in the long run and will generally force players out due to the shift in direction.
Anywho, enough about marketing strategies. Here's some drivellings on SFV from a Street Fighter hermit.
I never saw it as an issue, but lots of people have problems with combos in SFIV. Whether this is because learning to plink was too boring, counter intuitive or that the game's (heavy) reliance on being able to hit frame perfect inputs to get a character's BnB out just didn't sit well with what that player enjoys about fighting games, it was obviously a very sore point for a lot of players. So much so that it was the main thing that Capcom took into consideration when designing the game flow in SFV. The result is an additional two frames of automatic input buffer on all button inputs and actions (such as backdashing), essentially removing the need to plink ever again. There are a few reasons this has done, and they all lead back to making the game more accessible to the guy who has just bought the game and doesn't know any other like-minded players, forcing him/her to go online.
"Online is the future" people say. It's really not. It's just more accessible.
Either way, the buffer has been added to remove the need for developing the necessary hand techniques to do frame perfect inputs and to mitigate the effect of online latency (or lag) to have a smoother, more streamlined game flow.
I can see how this can keep Johnny Newcomer interested. He's hitting combos for the first time ever. He suddenly starts to like FGs because he's getting instant results. Not like that mean, old Street Fighter IV and it's one-frame links.
But what about the core audience that has been playing SFIV for years? And done what is necessary to get results? The hard work that these people will have put in to mastering their characters, mastering the input system, learning to navigate their controller to get the absolute maximum out of the game, all just given to them on a plate by a few keystrokes from the Battle Director of SFV. It's a kick in the teeth, really.
I think it's a good example of how the games market is at the moment, with players wanting that instant-gratification because they've just forked out fifty notes for the pleasure. Street Fighter, or FGs for that matter, have never been about that. They're sandboxes for the individual, and the size of it is determined by how far the player wants to push themselves. It can take weeks, months, years to develop the skills required but those that have took them halfway seriously understand how rewarding each small step is. It could be a button you've never used and you suddenly use it and it anti-airs X-character's jump-in. At that moment, the player knows. They experiment, they improve, they put it into practice. It's one of the most satisfying things you can do in a video game.
The leniency also kills other aspects of the game. There's an excitement in performing difficult things in a FG. It's fun, and for people watching, it's entertaining. SFV doesn't have that. When Sako lands his Karin extended BnB at Evo finals, it won't be anywhere near as exciting because you know that you just did the same thing to your mate, repeatedly, hours earlier.
I'm not a fan, and I wish this is tuned a bit before release.
NO THROWS ALLOWED
Throws suck in SFV. They're 5f startup, don't grant a hard knockdown and have poor range. They don't do a great deal of damage either. On a more technical level, the new 2f buffer also means that Pre-Teching, an advanced defensive technique from SFIV, is no longer possible as a throw will always execute if LP+LK are pressed within the two frames before blockstun ends.
Just about any FG that I know/play that has strong throws, is sick. Having strong throws enhances all aspects of the game. Counter-hit/throw mixups become much scarier, okizeme becomes more dynamic and the overall pace of the game is faster, more kinetic. More fun, in other words.
Some more detailed changes to throws in SFV from SFIV are how the game treats crouch teching, throws being Counter-hittable and how throw techs always favour the defender. Crouch teching no longer exists, with any attempt to do so executing a stand throw. It plays into the new mechanic of throws being susceptible to counter hits, which is a good thing. SFIV's stand teching not being counter-hittable was a tactic used to mitigate damage as well as swallow up delay timings on frame traps. Even if you did trap their throw, you got no CH reward; a fairly cheap and low-risk option. SFV does solve this issue but the problem in SFV lies in how acceptable throws are to take. Taking a throw in SFIV against a lot of characters could mean the game due to the okizeme you could implement. SFV is more 'straight forward', in that your throw will lead into either another throw attempt, meaty or frame trap. Realistically, you aren't afforded enough frame advantage to implement a strong enough mixup to scare guys into pressing buttons. In addition, teching a throw now pushes the attacker backwards with the defender gaining ground. There is no threat in the CH/Throw game as the game currently stands.
It really just cements that Capcom really doesn't want newer guys to be discouraged by getting thrown constantly, to the point where they will stop playing. At the same time, this is taking away from the core SF experience and dumbing down the offense/defense interplay. My suggestion, if they still wanted to keep the reward for throws the same, would be to at least make them faster than the fastest normal. A 2F startup throw would make it strong enough to get quick damage, as well as get defending players a bit more antsy on defense.
Normals have very short range. Very, very short range. In addition, whiff punishing normals is incredibly hard due to the range as well as the speed in recovery of a lot of prominent pokes. This leads to a very button-heavy poking game. This would be fine if there was a lot of variety in the ranges of pokes, but the game has a very homogenised feel to the footsie game. If you are outranged by an opponent's poke, they pretty much can poke for free with little risk of reprisal due to the short range on your own pokes. Even if you do, the reward is so minimal that it's not enough to discourage your opponent.
Now I'm not new to whiff punishing. It's probably my strongest area as a player and can do so in many games, like ST, VSav, SFIV to name a few. Whiff punishing in SFV just isn't a rewarding experience. My suggestion would be to more clearly define the range and uses of each poke, so as to increase a character's options.
That's all I've got from about three hours with the game. I don't like being negative but the current direction and state of the game leaves me feeling a bit flat. I'd like to see some of the changes I've mentioned but it's unlikely to happen. Thanks for reading!