The I days spent at the 7-Eleven, sweaty palmed with a row of quarters lined up.
Ah… Street Fighter II, will there ever be a worthy successor?
Find out inside.
I really had to think about this review. Normally it’s clear cut; I like it and would recommend it, or I don’t.
I’ll give you the rundown on the game, and then I’m going to try something new in the way ‘scores’ in a review.
If you remember Street Fighter II, and all of it’s spinoffs like Championship Edition, Turbo, and Super Caffeinated Gopher Edition, then you’re already familiar with the basic concept of Street Fighter IV. Two characters punch, kick, grapple, throw fireballs, and otherwise try to maim each other, all while confined in an arena of sorts (and confined to 2D movement).
Controls consist of an analog stick or D-Pad for basic movement, and six buttons: three buttons for light, medium, and heavy kicks, and corresponding buttons for punches. While facing off with those mechanics alone, SFIV also allows a variety of special moves, each one character specific.
In a default match, two players fight, winner two out of three rounds wins the entire match (the number of rounds is configurable, however).
SFIV has added Focus Moves this time around, allowing players to absorb an attack and follow it up with a devastating attack.
There is enough here in the characters, backgrounds, and menus to visually to remind you of earlier versions of the game, but there’s also been some massive improvements.
The characters, although locked to a 2D plane, are rendered in 3D, and the animations are some of the smoothest you’ll see in a fighting title. Unfortuneately, when it comes to modeling, it appears some characters had more time and effort put into them. Classic characters like Chun-li are markedly more detailed than others… like… say… Rufus? Fireballs, shockwaves, and dust clouds have an appropriate semi-transparent look, but still look a little flat, and the hand-drawn animations that open and close each Arcade session look downright NASTY… and are unintentionally funny. I’d like to believe that Capcom had the anime sequences written as tongue-in-cheek cheese, but I can’t give them that much credit.
Audio is serviceable, but did provide us with one of the most memorable opening themes in recent memory. You’ll be humming ‘In-de-structible’ ad nauseum, wishing it would go away… 80’s montage rock, with an effeminate vocalist that obviously learned the English lyrics phonetically… <shudder>
But I’m nitpicking.
Online matches have thus far worked flawlessly for me, and the ability to play Arcade mode, and have an online challenger drop into the game is pretty cool, but can get annoying after a while if you’re just trying to finish a player’s story. Thankfully you can turn it off.
Much has been made about how ‘accessible’ this game is for newcomers. Really? I don’t see it.
Yes, you can easily button mash your way through the game, as long as you’re playing against the CPU on Easy, or against another button masher. If that’s what you’re doing, you’ll have fun.
The moment you join an online match? You’re toast. And it’s not even going to be close.
Based on the depth of this title, and the disparity between play levels, I’m going to let YOU give it a rating, based on what you’re looking for in a fighting game.
N00b – If you’ve never played any Street Fighter games before, and you’re curious: RENT IT. You may wind up liking it, but if not, you’re not out that much money.
Nostalgic – If you played SFII in arcades when you were younger, had fun, but weren’t very good at it. You just want to relive that time in your life: DODGE IT. Go pick up Super Street Fighter HD Remix in the PS Store or XBox Live Marketplace instead. In case you’re wondering, I fell into this group.
Familiar – If you mastered a character in SFII, know most of the other characters moves, and could play forever on a couple of quarters: BUY IT.
Savant – If you can tell me everything about the characters, the current storyline, all the special moves… who am I kidding? You already bought the Collector’s Edition and a tournament quality Fighting Stick.
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