Street Fighter IV Video Game Review
Without a doubt, Street Fighter II is one of the classics. It popularized fighting games and ruled its genre like a king. Unfortunately, Capcom took a while to produce an heir to the throne, and with the absence of the original cast and fundamental changes to the fighting, Street Fighter III just didn’t feel the same. Years later, a new challenger appears. Street Fighter IV adds new faces and styles without booting out any of the original world warriors, tweaks the fighting while keeping the classic feel intact, and gives the series one more shot at immortality.
Without a doubt, Street Fighter IV has the heart of an arcade game. Everything is about the fight. You’ll either be pitting your chosen character against a single opponent or honing your skills in preparation for the real thing. If you’re looking for variety, mini-games, or anything other than one-on-one fighting, you’re going to be disappointed.
There is a practice mode where you’re free to try your skills on a training dummy, and the game does include a full moves list for every character, but there’s really nothing here that will explicitly teach you how and when to use your arsenal of attacks. The game will display advanced links and combos for you to attempt, but the name of the mode should tip you off. It’s called trial mode. You’ll find it under the challenge option.
Regardless of your skill level, you’ll have your lessons beaten into you by your rivals. If you don’t know what to expect when you jump at a patiently crouching Guile, you’re going to find out the hard way. With no air blocking and no parries, it’s wise to think before you leap. You’ll use your skills to take on a series of computer opponents in arcade mode, fight through time trials or survival mode, or play the game as it was meant to be played against another human being.
You can freely configure controls, time limit, number of rounds, difficulty of computer opponents, or set a handicap for either player in versus mode. Online play comes across as particularly well-designed, offering a smooth interface, a smart ranking system that takes the skill of your opponents into account, and a customizable player profile that lets you express your personality.
The 25-character cast is respectable. The console version lets you play as powerful boss characters from the arcade game, and adds six entirely new fighters. There aren’t any glaring omissions, and there are some interesting choices like the towel-wielding Rose from the Alpha series, but some players may find that their favorites haven’t made the cut.
The game isn’t exactly bursting with options and modes, and there’s nothing particularly new, either. Still, for a game that’s completely focused on two people beating the crap out of each other until one of them falls down, there’s more than enough variety to meet your expectations. Once you’ve found your preferences, you’ll be locked in and ready for some competition.
Street Fighter IV is a complex take on the simple idea of two characters trying to take down their opponent’s energy bar with punches, kicks, and special moves. Winning is a matter of timing and range, applying pressure, defending, and punishing your opponent when he leaves himself open. Fighting is responsive, precise, and strategic.
Bouts take place on a flat, 2D plane. While there’s no Z-axis for sidestepping, the game definitely has depth. Just like the classic Street Fighter II, there are six buttons dedicated to basic punches and kicks. Different attacks are produced based on whether you’re standing, crouching, jumping, or holding the movement controls in a particular direction. Each character has its own signature moves requiring special controller inputs, and aggressive play fills a super meter which lets you trade small chunks of energy to perform powered-up versions or cash in the whole thing for a massive super combo. Manual dexterity and mental acuity are both needed if you want to be at the top of your game.