“Street Fighter IV” is the first original “Street Fighter” game in 10 years since “Street Fighter III” was released in 1999. Since then we’ve seen constant re-releases of “Street Fighter II,” which many consider to be the best entry in the series, and arguably the best fighting game ever. As a result, Capcom has adopted much of the gameplay from “Street Fighter II” and used it for the basis for “Street Fighter IV.”
Fortunately, “Street Fighter IV” remains a 2D fighting game even when making the transition to 3D visuals on the current generation of consoles. The characters are 3D, but they can still only move left or right on the screen. Other fighting series such as “King of Fighters” and “Mortal Kombat” made the jump to 3D a few years ago, but met with mixed results due to clunky controls.
Moving on from all of this background information, if you’re like me and jump into the game headfirst, by all means go ahead. The game feels a bit more simplified than other entries in the series, which makes it great for noobs… err, beginners, to get into the game.
Now you can button mash all you want and that’ll only get you so far with the computer, until you come across the game’s final boss, Seth, who looks surprisingly familiar to Dr. Manhattan from “Watchmen.” Things get even trickier when you start playing against other players who practically live by this game. Now you can be humiliated from a few feet via local multiplayer or from several thousand miles via Xbox Live or PlayStation Network.
Players will start off with 16 different characters to play as and can unlock nine more as they play through Arcade Mode. The full roster of “Street Fighter II” characters return with the exception of Dee Jay and T. Hawk, but Capcom has reported that these two characters will be available via download in the future.
Despite this, all of your favorite characters like Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, Zangief, Vega, Cammy and Dan (well, maybe not Dan) are back. Additionally, four brand-new characters have been added to the roster, including secret agent Crimson Viper, Spanish wrestler El Fuerte, self-proclaimed top-fighter-in-America Rufus and amnesiac Abel.
All of the characters feature English voice acting, a stark contrast for the series that typically only featured Japanese voices for the characters. Though like many Japanese-to-English localizations, some of the voices are pretty cheesy. The soundtrack is a nice collection of the characters’ respective themes and original tunes. All of the tunes are solid, though the main title theme is reminiscent of something from the Backstreet Boys.
As stated previously, the characters appear 3D but are also cel-shaded so they appear to be more from an anime. Additionally, the backgrounds for the stages stick much more because they have also been animated in 3D as well.Probably my biggest complaint with the game is more with the Xbox 360 controller. It has the worst d-pad ever in gaming, which is crucial for 2D fighters. In this case, the PS3 gets the advantage because of its superior d-pad. If you want to be competitive with this game on consoles, you’ll have to fork over the $40 for a game pad designed specifically for fighting games and arcade pads that are going for more than $100 online if you want that “true” arcade feel.
Overall, “Street Fighter IV” is a great addition to anyone’s game library and I highly recommend it to fans of the series or of the genre. It has that competitive appeal that should keep gamers playing this title for years.