Can this be the ultimate fighting game or does their predecessor still hold the crown?
As a child, I remember playing Street Fighter II with my cousin. He could kick my ass in it but I didn’t care, I just loved the game. Everything from the characters to the combos stuck in my head to this very day. When I first heard that Street Fighter IV was in the works, I knew it was a game I was going to thoroughly enjoy, but was I right? Would the game live upto my expectations or fail to deliver what I’ve been craving for since my childhood?
I can say without any fear of contradiction that Street Fighter IV delivers on all its promises. Although I must point out at the time of review, I wasn’t allowed to play any online matches as according to Capcom “Because that would be cheating”. So I was only able to play all the offline features, which should more than satisfy your every need.
The game has a standard arcade mode, but each character has their own story and it shows an animated scene at the start and finish of the mode. Each character gets their own anime-short and they show off some impressive artwork. The story itself isn’t much to write home about, but it’s a fighting game…when has story ever mattered in this genre? The character roster for Street Fighter IV has many of the old-time classics like Ryu and Ken but introduce new ones like Crimson Viper and El Fuerte. I must admit the new characters don’t fit in as well as the veterans, but it’s only a small complaint.
The PS3 controls are incredibly stable and responsive, but I didn’t doubt for a moment that they wouldn’t be. Combos are just as great as they ever were and you’ll have just as much fun figuring them out as the first time you played a game in the series. There are new additions like Ultra Combos which are a cinematic mixture of punches, kicks and other moves. As well as a Super Combo which meter fills up when the player hits their opponent or performs a special move. A Revenge meter fills up when you take damage, so it’s balanced out quite fairly.
Besides the arcade game is the challenge mode, which offers 3 different types of gameplay for you to get your teeth into which are Time Attack, Survival and Trial. All of which are self-explanatory and have been in most fighting games over the years, it’s nothing new but it’s nice to see nonetheless. There is also a training mode (AKA The punching bag simulation) for you to get used to the characters and the controls.
Arenas vary in design, but there are no gimmicks with them…which I’m pleased with. I’d have hated to be winning a fight only for someone to exploit a gimmick and knock me off a stage or something like that. Now I’ve never been the greatest fighter in this series, I got my ass handed to me several times in Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix…which is on XBLA and heading to PSN as of this week. It’s a great game if you want to familiar yourself with the franchise; it’s just very…very hard.
Everyone will have their own favourite character, but mine has to be Dhalsim. He can stretch his arms out incredibly far and I won most matches perfectly with him. I must admit, he can be quite cheap at times and I’m sure that many will use him online. But he is quite easy to defeat as well, which is a great indication that the game is very well balanced. Balance is incredibly important in a game like this; if you had one over-powering fighter then it just wouldn’t work.
I’m incredibly pleased that Capcom decided to leave Street Fighter IV to the series’ 2D roots, while giving over an amazing 3D look. As a fully 3D game, it just wouldn’t have worked…good old Capcom, always giving us what we want, even if it took them years to give us this amazing game. The visuals are impressive to look at; the framerate is solid; character models are vibrant and well animated. I personally prefer this style of graphics, it flows a lot better to anything else in the genre.
The soundtrack fits the game well, despite the irritable voice of the announcer…which brings the audio score down just a bit. I understand they are going for the arcade style, but we’ve never enjoyed announcers in fighting games and probably never will. It’s one of the small things that make the game imperfect, but it’s such a small thing that you probably won’t even pay attention to. All that matters is that the game is fun to play and addictive as hell.
I had high hopes for Street Fighter IV and I’m glad to say that it matches what I was expecting. Just like Street Fighter II, It’s a classic game that we will be playing for years. I have one last thing that will persuade you to pick the game up….
HA DO KEN!