Street Fighter IV Review!


Street Fighter IV Review

Its been about ten years since we have seen a brand new entry to the Street Fighter series, but last Wednesday, Capcom released Street Fighter IV for the Xbox360 and PS3.  This game was promised to fit in perfectly with the rest of the Street Fighter series, incorporating some old favorites and a couple of new challengers competing to become the World Champion.

From first glance, the biggest difference between SFIV and the rest of the series is the fact that the characters and backgrounds have now been fully 3D rendered, giving a completely new look to the game.  This may throw off many old-school fans of the series, afraid that arguably the best fighting game series ever has been tainted in some way.  Well has it?  Does Street Fighter IV have to defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance?  Hit the jump to read my impressions of this game!

Street Fighter IV, like beer, is a game that grows on you.  Allow me to explain.  I was a hardcore fighting game fan back in the day (no secret that MvC2 is my favorite).  As soon as you load up SFIV you are greeted with quite possibly the most surprising (ly AWESOME) theme song to ever grace a Street Fighter game.  This song is almost as “so-bad-its-good” as the “Gonna Take You For A Ride” of the MvC2 selection screen.  But that’s not all that seems off.  Some of the veterans seem to play completely different.  Chun Li jumping is not as wide as it used to be, you cant shoot a flame fireball with Ryu whenever you want….I struggled my first couple of matches just trying to get the timing of my moves down.

I’ve posted this before….but I LOVE THIS SONG!!

But like I said, after time and practice you start to learn all the intricacies of the game, and realize that SFIV is just different enough to warrant that wonderful feeling of training yourself in a new fighting game, yet keeping enough similarities that when you play for the first time, you know what you are doing.

SFIV starts with a roster of 16 characters, from veterans such as Ryu, Ken and Cammy, and 4 brand new characters.  Abel has a grappling type of fighting style, which requires you to get really close to do the best damage, C. Viper reminds me of Nina’s fighting style from Tekken, El Fuerte is the token Mexican lucha libre character, whose speed and crazy jumping moves make him a lot of fun to play (even though his damage output and combos aren’t great) and finally Rufus is one of the most entertaining characters yet…a fat self-trained karate fighter who actually has speed on his side.  These characters all have their own story lines that fit in with the grand scheme of the Street Fighter universe (e.g. Rufus, from America is Ken’s “rival”)  These storylines are presented before playing arcade mode in beautiful anime sequences subtitled and voiced over in English or Japanese.  You actually have the choice to set the voices in Japanese, which I did because a) I’m a slight weeaboo and b) the English voices are pretty corny.

rufusMeet Rufus…the fastest fat man in a fighting game.

There are a couple of modes to play SFIV in….you have the traditional Arcade mode, local multiplayer, Xbox Live Ranked and Player matches, and even a Challenge mode, which allows you take part in Time Trials, Survival, or just Training modes.  One of the coolest ideas incorporated into the Arcade mode was the ability to allow people to challenge you during your playthrough, just like at the arcades.  The main problem (so far at least) is that since so many people are playing online at the moment, you can’t get 3 seconds into your first Arcade match before you get challenged.  It remains to be seen whether that will die out eventually.

The actually fighting system is a hybrid of many different Street Fighter games.  All the special moves are still quarter circle and charge moves, but unlike the older SF games, you do have two special meters that charge up during battle.  The first is the EX meter, which charges as you land attacks.  This meter not only allows you to unleash a Special EX move when it is fully charged, but it also allows you to perform an upgraded version of ANY of your regular special moves by pressing all three punches/kicks instead of just the heavy one.  Doing so removes one bar of the EX meter. Unlike the EX meter, your Ultra meter charges up when you become damaged, and allows you to pull off an Ultra move when it is fully charged.  These Ultra moves can do up to about 40% damage depending on the character, and can really be the tide turner in a match.  The final thing is that each character has a focus attack that you can perform by holding down the medium punch and medium kick.  If you charge this move, if can act somewhat of a counter.  It you are attacked while charging this move and then successfully land the focus attack in response, you will actually get some of your health back over time.  A fully charge focus attack also has the ability to stun your opponent, allowing for you to follow up with your own devastating combo!

ryu-ultra1Ryu’s Ultra is a fireball…go fig.

There are two things I’d want to mention before this review is over.  First off, the online play, while solid for the most part, is severely hampered that there is no lobby system like in SFIIHD Remix.  You can only play one person at a time, and when you want together online with lots of friends, that’s kinda lame.  SFIIHD Remix did that lobby system perfectly, so its just really weird that Capcom did port that over to this game.  Second, if you get it for the 360, expect frustration with the controls.  The 360 d-pad is horrendous, and the analog stick isn’t that much better.  If you have the money, I would fully recommend getting one of the Fight Pads or Hori Sticks.  I’m working on purchasing one myself, because I hate the feeling of, “ I should have won, but I couldn’t pull of the Ultra after 3 tries!”

Anyway, should you buy this game?  If you are a fan of the Street Fighter series, this answer is a resounding yes.  The graphics and sound are superb and really are the next step in the Street Fighter series.  Once you get past all the subtle differences that this game has, you will be playing Street Fighter like a pro again.  If you aren’t a fan of SF, I might hold off until it goes down in price, but I would recommend getting it at some point.  I would venture to say that SFIV is the best current fighting game out there. Street Fighter is back, so you better practice your Hadokens and Shouryukens!!


2 Responses to “Street Fighter IV Review!”

  1. Waiting for Gamefly to send me a copy of the game.
    Putting it on the queue one day after Gamefly start distributing it was not a good idea…

  2. joshhest Says:

    So…I’m a pretty diehard Soul Calibur fan. Will I still be able to appreciate SFIV?

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