CFE isn’t as bad as people say but it isn’t great either. Some of the reasons why I think CFE isn’t very popular:
Capcom’s misleading advertising of the game
If you look on the back of the game box, it says that every character plays EXACTLY like in the original games. With that being said, a lot of people were thinking that they would be able to Genei-Jin their way through with Yun, spam fierces with Chun, perform Bison’s stun infinite from CE, and so forth. When people realized that they wouldn’t be able to abuse that kind of stuff and that they’d have to actually learn a new game, they simply gave up on the game. Characters DO NOT play exactly like in the original games, you just have to learn the differences and adjust your tactics accordingly.
Pretty much everybody mentions this as a reason why they don’t like the game. Not enough characters and/or their favorite character didn’t make into the game. Personally, as much as I’d love to have characters like Ken, Makoto, Sagat, etc, in this game, I think the characters Capcom put in the game were good choices for the most part. Aside a couple of shoto clones, the characters all feel unique. I definitely think that they should had added more characters, considering that they included characters from 5 different games.
Come on… this is the lamest excuse ever. We all know that Capcom is famous for rehashing sprites from previous games. MvC2 & CvS2 are great examples of that. If you’re familiar with Capcom games you should be expecting rehashed graphics.
5 different game systems, characters play with the system from their original game. In theory this concept works really well. In reality what happened is that some characters ended up being really good while some characters ended up being not so good. I think it would had been better if Capcom had given players the choice of which system they wanted for their characters (like the grooves in CvS2) or if they had made 1 system for everybody (like MvC2 or NGBC).
Player’s lack of knowledge of the system
I’m pretty sure most people are familiar with the systems in SF2, SF3 & SFA but I don’t think many people are familiar with DarkStalkers and/or Red Earth. Because of that, those people didn’t know how to use DS/RE characters properly nor did they know how to fight against them. So, they assumed that DS & RE were overpowered and decided that the game wasn’t worth playing (I guess those people never played MvC2). DS & RE do have advantages over the rest of the cast but they can be defeated if you know what you’re doing.
A lot of people didn’t give this game a chance. Some of them played the game for a while, looked for a few bad things and then gave up on the game. Other people gave up on the game based on bad online reviews without even playing the game. Even worse, they started coming up with lame excuses for why they didn’t like the game. I don’t think CFE is nearly as good as CvS2 or MvC2 but I think it’s an interesting game. Hopefully Capcom will make a sequel sometime in the future and make improvements.