Street Fighter IV Review
By Stephen Heller
I dry the sweat from my palms and stretch out my hands, before reaching into my pocket and pulling out the last dollar coin I had swiped from my dad's wallet. I'd been here for about two and a half hours by this point, my hands were starting to cramp up a little, and my eyes were becoming a little weary. I couldn't stop, not now after just losing my last game, after a 35 winning streak. There was a small crowd gathering as I dropped that coin into the slot, and I bet I wasn't the only one having this experience.
This is what I remember as I load up my first battle in Capcom's newly released Street Fighter IV. A wave of nostalgia takes over, and a feeling I haven't felt since 1993 creeps across my face as I start to remember all the moves from my youth. Is this the title that we have been waiting for? Is this the title to bring back the fighting genre to the masses?
Street Fighter IV serves up twelve familiar faces in it's roster along with newcomers and hidden characters, features traditional Arcade, Time Trial and Challenge Modes. Topped off with online matchmaking, this should be a giant slice of heaven for fans of the series.
Arcade mode has you flying across the world facing off against each character until you reach the end. There are beautifully animated "anime" sequences that attempt to tell a story, but it's not at all compelling, or important to the objective of the game, they sure do look nice though.
The traditional six button attack scheme is back, and if you manage to remember all those great moves from Street Fighter II then chances are you are going to relive those glory days from the Arcade, or the SNES. Controls are tight and responsive, but let's face it, this game was meant to be played in the arcades. The controller just doesn't offer the same precision, and for pro's at the game, this could be a major gripe.
Speaking of the veterans, this game doesn't seem to be tailored to newcomers to the series. Even on easy mode, Arcade Mode seemed impossible for a new comer, the difficulty ramps up considerably by the third opponent, and this lead to frustration and controllers thrown.
The visuals are stunning, there is no other way to describe them. Character models are detailed and visually interesting, facial expressions are outstanding, and the varied battle grounds keep things interesting. Animations are fluent, and feel just right. Even though the characters are modeled in 3D, keeping on the 2D playing field pays homage to the series roots, and makes this feel like a real Street Fighter title.
All your "Sonic Boom" and "Hadoken's" are back and sound just like they did back in the day. Characters all have unique personalities, and this is conveyed through the sounds they make. While the game lacks any real soundtrack, it doesn't need one. The sound is just right, not over-crowded but not sparse either.
Online matchmaking is a breeze and works well with minimal lag. Each and every opponent has their own style, so once you get tired of beating the single player mode, the game keeps on living through the online component. You will be brawling for years, especially with talks of DLC on the way.
The Final Verdict
Street Fighter IV is the title that fans have been waiting for. With the mechanics that became world famous with Street Fighter II, and outstanding visual style, backed up with immersive gameplay it IS the ultimate fighting game. Unfortunately the game isn't friendly towards new comers or those who haven't had a chance to experience the series, and it has potential to frustrate and in turn, lose interest in what otherwise is a near flawless title.
Veterans are going to feel right at home here, lots of achievements to gain, a challenge to be had, and online matchmaking that is a pleasure to use. Unfortunately this game isn't noob friendly, and will be frustrating to newcomers to the series
Some of the best looking character models we are likely to see this generation. Keeping the game on a 2D field really makes this feel like a Street Fighter game, and animations are oh so fluent.
There's not much there, but what is there is stunning. Background music can get a little grating on some stages
Completionists are going to be very busy with this title, with time trial, challenges, arcade and online it offers more than what you bargained for. With talks of upcoming DLC this game should be sticking around for some time.