Thanks for sticking around and welcome to part two of my guide to improving faster in Street Fighter 4 using online play. Last time we covered how to use points effectively and also as a barometer for how you are doing, and what you should focus on to improve. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at part 1, I suggest you do so by clicking the link above. This time we’re going to take a look at what you should be focusing on when you’re playing an actual match online. This time the name of the game is “Strategy vs. Speed.”
If you’re like most of the people who often play Street Fighter 4 online, then I will bet my shorts that at some point you have had that one match where the game just seemed unplayable [Insert online rage here]. But for the most part, the matches are at least playable. Of course because of the distance between players, we know that online will likely never be a 1:1 response speed game, so when you play online I recommend that the one thing you don’t focus on is reaction or speed. Of course if a game is so slow that it is impossible to play, then discredit that game altogether. When you go online, what you should be looking for is improving your overall strategy for a match.
What the hell does that mean? It means that you shouldn’t be trying to react to everything as fast as possible. If we’re trying to create skills that translate over into offline play, then playing at a speed that doesn’t match live play will not help you with reaction. Instead the one thing you can focus on and develop is a strategy for a particular match. Having a game plan IS something you can adapt from online to to live play, and thus I believe you should focus on. Let’s look at one example together shall we?
Imagine you just start this round as Ryu. The obvious gameplan here is to keep big-body Hugo out, and you have a lot of different ways to do that. One way is to try and whiff punish some of his normals. While whiff punishing is a very essential skill, trying to focus only on that ONLINE is kind of tough to do. Because you’re playing Ryu you also have the option of throwing fireballs and baiting jumps and uppercutting. This has less to do with split second reaction timing, and more to do with your overall plan. It’s easier to punish a jump that is 40 frames or more than punish the recovery of a move that is oh I don’t know….17 frames. It’s already difficult enough, compounded with the fact that you’re online, only makes it more difficult for you to do that. Of course, if you have a chance to whiff punish something, and you feel confident in the move, go for it. I’m just saying that as far as a gameplan goes for the match up and as a basic strategy with Ryu, you would do yourself a favor to focus on the fireball game.
So if you happen to be online playing street fighter 4 in the near future, instead of trying to play based on the nitty gritty, instead think to yourself “How can I put myself in a better position overall to be successful in the match?” This kind of thinking will take you pretty far online, and translates perfectly to apply to your offline game as well. Check back next week for the last part to this series. We’ll be talking about using all of the tools online play has to offer, to help you improve and play the most effectively.