During the last Guilty Gear -Strive- beta, I flagged a number of major complaints with the game’s online experience.
- The beta was wildly unstable. Outages happened for hours at a time, leaving many anxious fans out in the cold.
- The Habbo Hotel inspired lobby system was an absolutely horrible way of connecting with other players.
- Combat was driven by inferior delay-based netcode. Fights suffered from inputs getting delayed, which compromised the integrity of battle.
This time around, things are…different.
- The beta is again, wildly unstable. Arc System Works extended the beta to compensate for lost time.
- Despite overwhelming negative feedback from the community regarding the Hobbo Hotel style lobby system, Arc System Works kept it in the game. At least you can matchmake through training mode in the beta.
- Delay-based netcode was replaced with rollback netcode. And…
For the most part, I’m loving Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]. Having picked up the game a few weeks ago, its particular brand of anime fighter is deeply gratifying. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve played dozens of matches through the game’s horrid netcode and will probably suffer through many more just to get a less-than-ideal fix. Even online matches against my brother – who is a 10-minute drive from me – feel sluggish. With everything going on, adequate online play would have been greatly appreciated.
It’s not entirely fair to bash Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] for a problem that’s much larger than itself. Furthermore, with this game technically being the fifth update to an old game, one can argue that it’s hampered by delay-based netcode of the time.
Nevertheless, the subject of netcode in fighting games has recently hit a crescendo. As more games adopt better solutions to the fundamental problem, it’s become increasingly maddening to see major developers lean on inferior netcode solutions.