Lets face it, this mini review is a little redundant because, chances are, you have it already!! But this game has pretty much taken over so it deserves a review of it’s own.

For the entirely clueless, Streetfighter 4 is the latest installment (and no, it isn’t really the 4th one) of the ridiculously famous and much loved franchise and comes 10 years after the last major release, Streetfighter III: 3rd strike.

It seems that Capcom definitely has done something right with regards to this game, considering they have already announced that they have sold 2Million copies worldwide and the game has inevitably hit the top spot in many regions. Rather surprisingly, it has been reported that, in the UK, the PS3 version actually outsold the 360 one. A first I believe. Publications have attributed the shift to the PS3 version as being due to the control pad. Although both are absolutely appaling for a game like this, the PS3 pad can be considered “less bad” due to a slightly better dpad.

So don’t go thinking that this is a turning point for the constantly-under-fire PS3. Killzone 2 may change that tho…

Now Streetfighter III: 3rd strike was quite the game to follow up, seeing as it’s widely regarded as one of, if not the best 2D fighting games ever made!! It also gave us one of the greatest and most famous tournament battles and single round event ever seen. You know the one!!!!
However, there is one flaw which is widely accepted with the game. There are basically main levels of skill in SFIII, good and not good. And the gap between them is HUGE. Streetfighter III is a game which requires an ungodly amount of practice and dedication to get the best out of. Even though the system iteslf is rather simple (esp when compared to the OTT games like Guilty Gear XX, dust attacks, roman cancels, I could go on) to fully get the most out of the parry system and assorted other parts is very difficult. As a result, even though battles are fantastic to watch, a lot of people were put off by the chasm between first timers and high level play.

Streetfighter IV is meant to address this issue by making the game a little easier and more accessible to everyone and provide a more even distribution of player skill instead of simply “the good” and “the rest.”
And, for the most part, they have succeeded. Of course, the best players will still triumph over the bad ones, but you don’t get that feeling that you will never be as good as them.

The game also had a shift in focus. In Streetfighter III, a lot of emphasis was placed on combos and stringing attacks together, with the parry system being a good way to break an opponents flow and start your own combo. But with Streetfighter 4, the focus is more about testing the opponent and reading their moves. This is much easier and more intuitive than performing combos.
The parry system is replaced with a focus attack, which is performed by pressing the 2 mid attack buttons. The focus attack doesn’t require the incredibly strict timing of the parry system but only protects from 1 attack from the enemy. Once released, the character will perform an attack which can daze the opponent and at max power, is also unblockable.
Characters now only have 1 super attack which cannot be chosen but is also given a new ultra attack. The super attack is the same as it has always been, with players needing to perform attacks to fill a bar. Using a super requires a full bar. Ultra attacks are linked to the new revenge bar which fills in when your character is attacked. The attack is made available at the half full meter, but increases the amount of damage dealt as the bar goes higher.

And the biggest difference is also the most obvious. SFIV is the first game since Streetfighter EX to be 3D. But great pains have been made to make the game play and feel like a 2D fighter.

For those curious, I purchased the limited edition PS3 version of the game and this is what you get with it.

  • 2 figures (one Ryu and one Crimson Viper)
  • the game (duh)
  • A hint book (basically a small comic showing off the special moves of the new characters and a simple combo for each)
  • A code to download the Brawler costume pack
  • An anime movie

The figures are pretty crappy and seem more at home as a gashapon than part of a limited edition deal. Crimson Viper, especially, looks like she was beaten around with an ugly stick

See what I mean? Ryu didn’t fare much better…

As for the rest of the stuff, I still have yet to watch the movie so I can’t comment on that. The hint book is pretty much a waste of space and the brawler pack gives out new costumes for characters I never use (Abel, Zangief, E honda, Rufus and El Fuerte).
At least the box comes as a sort of cool background of the china stage for the figures, but if you haven’t gotten the game yet (and then I should ask why not?) then I would say save your cash and get just the game. The extras aren’t worth the additional cost.

And with all the extras taken care of, how’s the game??

Loved

  • The feel of the game – even though the game is 3D it really does play like a 2D game. The controls are snappy and the pace is quick.
  • Online play – Unlike other famous beat-em-ups with the number 4 in them *cough*DeadorAliveSoulCalibur*cough* the game plays pretty much lag free. Matches with 2 bars of signal strength can be dicey but for the most part, any game with 3 bars or above should play pretty smoothly. There are still some lag issues from time to time (some of which can cause problems with gameplay) but they tend to be the exception rather than the norm.
  • Pick up and Play Factor: I have a slight advantage since I have played the arcade version numerous times at 2 events, first at the battle of destiny and again at the eurogame expo but even then I was amazed at how undaunting playing the game felt. It also didn’t take me very long to get the hang of some core elements and grow more confident in playing.
  • No Barrier for noobs: As stated before, this game is designed to be accessible to everyone, and it really shows. It’s unlikely to provide anything like the Evo 2004 “daigo moment” but who cares when everyone is busy actually playing!!
  • Choice of Jp or Eng voices: It’s just a little thing, but I found it really cool that you could configure the voice language on a per character basis. Currently I have all the western characters (Guile, Cammy, Balrog, Vega, Rufus, Abel, El Fuerte and ken) as english with the rest being japanese.

Hated

  • Seth: A lot of people have been complaining that Seth is a really cheap and unfair boss. Those people obviously haven’t played many beat-em-ups. Compared to the likes of Alpha-152 (Dead or alive 4), Any King of fighters boss, Onslaught (marvel vs Capcom) or even Jinpachi (tekken 5), Seth isn’t even worth mentioning. Having said that, he is a rather annoying, but mostly anticlimatic boss character which manages to cheapen the feeling you get at the end of the game.
  • Online Lobby: I really hate this point. When playing online, any lobby is only capable of supporting 2 players. That’s fine for ranked matched where players go their separate ways after a fight, but what about when you want to play a “winner stays on” tourney with a bunch of mates? Tough. The only way to do that would be to kick a player off and send an invite to another. You can’t group players together and form a queue, you have to effectively start the match all over again!! Whoever thought that would be acceptable should have his nails ripped off with rusty pliars.
  • Limited online roster: This is a minor quibble and is the same for pretty much every online fighting game but everyone seems to play the same character. For DoA, it’s Jann lee, For Soul Calibur, it was Kilik and for SFIV, it’s one the following: Ken/Ryu/Akuma. I think I’ve played 1 rose and 2 cammy players thus far and I’ve played over 30 ranked matches… Fair enough,those 3 are easy to use but fighting just them makes the game feel boring rather quickly… Player matches are better tho as players are more likely to take risks as it doesn’t affect their online standings.
  • Standard controllers: This game CANNOT be played on the default pad for either the PS3 or 360 and I feel sorry for anyone who tries to play it with them. Not that it matters to me as I am using my old nubytechSFII pad which was released for the 15th anniversary for the franchise. It’s similar to the mad catz pad in that it was based off the old sega saturn pad with 6 face buttons and a totally different dpad but was released for the PS2. Luckily, with a pad adaptor, I can use it on my PS3 with only the PS home button missing.
    Seriously though, Players should try and get their hands on a better pad or an arcade stick before playing this game. your fingers will appreciate it.

Overall: Streetfighter IV is a solid and really fun beat-em-up game and Capcom should be commended for bringing it back closer to the old “easy to learn, difficult to master” state after the incredibly daunting SFIII 3rd strike. I (and many others) will argue that Streetfighter III: 3rd strike is still the deepest and most rewarding fighters out there and still one of the best ever made, but that doesn’t detract in any way from the accomplishments of SFIV. It may be simpler and less strict compared to SFIII but they both serve a different group of gamer so it can be hard to compare.
Like Super streetfighter 2 turbo, I suspect that Streetfighter III 3rd strike will still be played and lauded by a large group of the more hardcore gamers but for now, it’s time for Streetfighter IV to Shine!!

And before anyone asks, My Playstation ID is GundamJehutyKai and my character of choice is Cammy. Go GB!!!
Maybe we’ll bump into eachother online.