Street Fighter IV: Review
Finally! Two-dimensional fighting returns to the streets in this epic fourth edition, Street Fighter IV. After 22 years, Ryu still punishes victims with hurricane kicks while Chun-Li flips her game and reverses it with overhead flip kicks! Characters from previous installments, such as Fei Long and Cammy, return with four new challengers: Abel, C. Viper, El Fuerte, and Rufus who rise to the call in this 2009 fighting series.
SFIV has long been overdue. Exactly, how long? Well, we're glad to answer. Debuting in 1987, Street Fighter appeared on home consoles followed by SFII in 1991. For the next few years, SFII received multiple facelifts and revisions until SFIII finally followed in 1997. Approximately a decade later, our beloved fighters reunite on the streets to fight for honor, revenge, and/or personal agendas in high-definition while remaining true to its roots with a vintage, two-dimensional playing field. However, 2D realm transitions into 3D during Ultra moves. Needless to say, SFIV graphics are A-MAZ-ING! The detail and depth in each fighters muscles, costumes, and backgrounds are colorfully vivid. We played SFIV on a 52" high-definition television and the sheer appearance is visually stunning. Well done Capcom, well done indeed. Since the visual presentation is undeniable crisp, can we regress by admitting the opening theme song "The Next Door" by Exile is laughably lame? Exile's asian-esque, arcade pop-sound with their intro sampling 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready For This" is cartoonish. We appreciate the thought of a theme song, but could live without lyrics and the 90's techno sampled; although it's a damn catchy tune.
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After mentioning the size of our television (hehe) and the fact this series is a "street" fighter, we noticed a local owner hosting a SFIV Battle in Piedmont Mall. Fans old and new welcomed challengers as they lined around a 52" high-definition television with a PlayStation 3 connected. One gamer who wished to remain anonymous said, "screw the online features" as he enjoyed showdowns old-school style, face to face. Yes, SFIV has online features, but remain aware internet connections and lagging could hinder online gameplay. In addition to hindering gameplay are the slow loading times between stages. Moving on, we learned first hand (as well as observed) one must grasp the concept of 2D fighting style. Most players are accustomed to side-stepping in 3D fighters, which presents a tactical challenge in SFIV's classic 2D realm.
Fighting in SFIV's 2D arena requires practice for beginners and re-accustoming oneself for veterans. A critical tool for surviving a beat-down is timing. Timing is critical in SFIV as it has always been with the series. We chose Ryu, as we're most familiar with his moves and abilities. After adjusting our 3D mindset to 2D, we eventually progressed through the tournament challenges. We recommend setting time aside to learn a specific characters combos and abilities while perfecting timing against the computer. With enough practice, a player can become the ultimate street fighter.
Becoming an ultimate street fighter is far from easy. Myself and fellow editors were definitely schooled by the computer. We're a passionate group who talk smack in our boards, but we were definitely sent packing with our hides in hand. SFIV provides a slew of difficulty options ranging from Very Easy to Very Hard with default set to Medium. We played difficulty level Medium and reached no higher than Sagat. Sagat is a tough champion, so after swallowing our pride, we chose an easier difficulty level. As previously mentioned, setting time aside to learn a specific character's abilities and perfecting timing is key to survival - thus obtaining supremacy.
Character's moves such as Ryu's Hadoken (fireball) remain familiar to veterans. Some argue PlayStation's direction pad (D-Pad) has an advantage over XBOX's round D-Pad when executing these moves, especially Ryu's Shoryuken (rising dragon punch). We believe each console's D-Pad architecture for executing special moves reside with personal opinion. In addition to the standard controllers, joysticks are compatible, read about our essential picks. Furthermore, players can assign specific buttons for light, medium, and heavy punches/kicks. Also, one button configuration can initiate all three punches/kicks for easier Ultra executions. SFIV lacks fatalities in comparison to its fighting rival Mortal Kombat, but SFIV's Ultra moves provides this missing essence. Again, these moves transitions fighters from 2D to a 3D cinematic maneuver. Another lacking feature is SFIV's storyline. The plot was never solid with the series, but as a fighting game this can succeed without an intricate tale.
SFIV's roster lists 25 challengers with 9 to unlock along with costumes and taunts. Players may bypass the unlocking torment and purchase costumes packs at $3.99. Buyers may double their offerings by purchasing these costume packs with rechargeable credit cards. Trophies (PS3) and achievements (XBOX 360) are also supported. Overall, players hands will become tirelessly busy with these included extras and surviving each versus match. We recommend SFIV for newcomers and veterans. SFIV boasts high-definition graphics and hosts a range of familiar and new characters. Basically, this vintage revamp is a must own. Our only gripe is the slow loading time between stages and a challenging difficulty level.
Release Date: February 17, 2009
Pros: Vivid revival of the all-time favorite SFII classic
Cons: Slow loading times between stages and challenging difficulty level
PS3 Informer Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5