On Tuesday February 18 CAPCOM did a server maintenance which had SFV CE fans on the edge of our sits. The reason? A long awaited netcode update for the online play for the game., as announced by the game’s director Yoshinori Ono on his twitter.
To give you some context, since the beta, CAPCOM announced that they were going to fix some of the issues that SFV was having within its online enviroment, which was well received by their audience. However ever since the game launched back in 2016, said fix was really nowhere to be seen and the online experience was rough for a majority of the playerbase (exluding Japan, for which the game ran and still runs very well online).
Fast Forward to January 2020 and a major event occured regarding the netcode: a fan-made patch made by Altimor (a member of SFv’s comuunity via Reddit) which solved some of the issues that caused major rollbacks inside the game during online play. This mod came for the Steam version only and was only available for this version. This mod made the experience overwhelmingly better for PC users, but was harsh for PS4 players due to the inaccesibility of if, but if a PS4 player got matched with a modded PC player the game would be terrible to say the least.
Later that same month another Reddit user, Fluffysheap released a second mod that worked fixing some issues between the PC and PS4 version.
Needless to say this created a big debate within the SFV community, and undoubtedly forced CAPCOM to take an action. And nearly a month later, here we are.
After reading a mixed bag of comments about the patch (some strongly against and some strongly in favor of CAPCOM‘s fix) I decided to take it for a spin. I must clarify that I am by no means a pro at any fighting game, just a big enthusiast, so everything from here on will be my grain of sand in order to see where we are regarding SFVCE‘s online.
I played on the PC version, since I perceived that it was slightly better from the comments mentioned before. One thing should be clarified before beggining and that is that this update does render both fan mods useless and the game will not load if you still have them installed.
I played around 20 matches (2 casual matches and ranked for the rest of them) with 4-5 bar connections and no platform restrictions. I must add that I did this currently from France, therefore I had matches with people around Europe.
My first impression was that the matchmaking seemed faster than usual; I noticed that I was finding matches consistently and quicker than before and I never ran into the same players (every match paired me with a different person). The matchmaking, is still an issue to be solved, since I got paired with players from Poland and Sweden which I consider to be pretty far away from my current location.
In spite of this, I must say that it felt great. The matches were good and the experience was overall satisfying (to put it plainly, it was some of the best online matches I’ve had since launch). However, out of my 20 matches two of them had some issues.
I fought a french Chun Li player who played in PS4 and I did experience some stuttering and slight lag or rollback if you will. Reading some comments I found that some players were having similar issues with crossplay, but it could also mean that one of us did not have the best connection. I really cannot tell, but the case should be mentioned.
The second case was a romanian Ken player for which I experienced the same issue as above. He too was playing on PS4. Seems that crossplay still has some issues to sort out, although I fought a polish Abigail and a Cody from Sweden both on PS4 and the games were perfectly fine. After my session was over I felt that in general PC vs. PC ran without any issues and that PC vs. PS4 ran well most of the time.
On Twitter community member mauve did a roundup of the apparent changes made by the patch, as there is no official description about it made by CAPCOM.
As stated, there could still be much to discover about this patch, but it is definitevly an improvement even if it is not a final solution. Personally I will go back to SFV online since it is a very much superior experience than before from my own personal testing, but keep an eye for future updates and findings that may come in the future.
For more on Street Fighter V, check out our previous coverage.