Street Fighter IV — it’s finally here. Find out just how much ass it kicks as your good friends Rangebar Merani and Sam Naylor assault your eyeballs with a one-two review combo beatdown!

Rangebar’s Take

All I’ve got to say is, “finally”. What took so long, Capcom? After an 11-year drought, the Street Fighter series is back on top of the gaming scene with Street Fighter IV for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. None of that Super-Turbo-Hyper bullshit either, this is the real deal, homies.

Any Street Fighter veteran will feel completely at home with Street Fighter IV, even if they haven’t played the game since its glory days in the early 90s. Most of the fighting styles, tactics, and combos remain the same with the entire original cast of characters, and as for the new fighters, you’ll just have to practice with them a little. But that’s what’s so perfect about this game.

No matter if you’re a SF veteran, someone just getting into the series or a serious button masher, you’ll have fun with this game in its entirety. Some may get discouraged or intimidated by the amount there is to actually learn in the game to really master it, but if you’re just wanting to have some casual fun you surely can.

With it’s first stint on the next-gen consoles (besides the two Street Fighter II remakes for XBLA and PSN), Capcom was able to put a lot of work into the graphics of SFIV, which are absolutely stunning. Although the battles take place in 2D (which is the way they should be) the backdrop, characters, and all other visuals are mostly in 3D, making for a match made in Street Fighter heaven.

I was so happy to hear that SFIV didn’t go the way of Mortal Kombat and use a 3D playing field. That would have just lost the essence and feel of a Street Fighter game. Along with beautiful graphics, the arcade mode introduces anime-style, mini-movies that help players get a little understanding of the story and the characters motives in fighting in the tournament.

The biggest addition to SFIV is, obviously, online play. Most definitely my favorite part of the game, playing online is so easy to get started (of course if you have a fast internet connection). Playing through the Xbox LIVE service, I was easily able to connect to an opponent in a matter of seconds in a quick, custom or created match.

I personally like to use the create a match option that way I can change the settings to my liking and host the match, allowing me to wait on a player with a good enough connection, plus I get to choose which level we fought on. If a player with a bad connection comes into your lobby, sounds mean, but you can just kick their ass out and wait on another opponent. Most of my online matches were lag free and incredibly fun, but also quite frustrating when I was losing. It’s like a love-hate relationship with Street Fighter IV.

Over the years the gaming scene has changed a lot. I remember back in the day when fighting games were some of the best games out, but now they’ve taken a back seat to first person shooters, such as Halo and Call of Duty. It’s nice to see that developers like Capcom can still deliver a solid and certainly enjoyable fighting game to those who really love the genre. An even better thing is that they kept the same old formula, but it still works.

I wouldn’t want Street Fighter IV to play any other way than it does now because it’s truly lived up to its high expectations and has made a lot of fans, including myself, really happy. With an all-new look, new characters, and the addition of online play, Capcom’s Street Fighter IV is one of the best fighting games to come out in a very long time. Now if I can only get another win online, shit!

Sam’s Take

Before I begin, I’d just like to say that I’m awful at Street Fighter. I know the moves, and I know the ideas around controlling space and timing moves- I’m just not quick enough to keep up with the Street Fighter crowd. With that said, Street Fighter IV is a great game. It’s one of the most compelling games that I’ve played for a good few months; I suck, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. As soon as I picked up Street Fighter IV, I realised that there was hope for the Street Fighter player in me yet.

The gameplay is instantly accessible for anyone with a modicum of Street Fighter experience behind them, and barring the more complex areas, should be for newcomers to the series as well. If in doubt, there is an extensive trial mode designed to teach you the basics all the way up to the super-complex combos for every character. The controls remain unchanged for the most part, and if you already know how to pull off a hadouken, you’ll have no trouble here. I’d even argue that the timing is more lenient here, allowing more room for less experienced play.

That said, Street Fighter IV, no matter what people are saying, hasn’t been “casualised”. The fighting is as deep as ever, with endless strategies and fighting styles- do you play a defensive game, or be relentlessly offensive? The Arcade mode harks back to, well, the arcade days of gaming- you know, those days where only the truly elite could complete a game on the hardest setting. The final boss of this mode, though, takes it a bit too far.

Even on “easiest”, he’s unfairly hard, pulling off combos that sometimes don’t seem to have an end. On a mode called “easiest” you expect even an unexperienced player to be able to get through. If you’re actually good at Street Fighter, then this isn’t such a problem, I’m sure, but bosses that repeat the same move over and over until you’re down isn’t fun, and doesn’t allow you to get better at the game- just get better at exploiting AI flaws.

However, there really isn’t much more to critisise this game on. The game is fantastically presented: the graphical style is thoroughly enjoyable- landing an ultra move is something to behold, especially when it finishes the match. The characters’ faces contort with pain or glee when they fight, and the myriad of colours and effects are a delight to the eyes. People praised Mirror’s Edge for being colourful, but it only really had three or four colours; Street fighter IV truly is one of the most colourful games this generation, not to mention one of the most visually striking.

I certainly recommend Street Fighter IV. I’m sure if you’re a Street Fighter fan then you’ll have already picked it up, but if you’re interested in the game, or remember the glory days of Street Fighter II, I don’t doubt that there will be something in there for you. Hey, even if you’re just looking for a challenge, Street Fighter IV would be my first recommendation. Just be ready to build up that hard skin again on your left thumb.

 

Overall, what’s not to love? Nothing, that’s what! Capcom sifted through all of the junk piled on top of modern fighting games and found what’s been missing: simple fun. Street Fighter IV is like retro gaming reborn — a must-have for fighting game fans, and possibly the game to convert some new ones.

9.5