By now, in some shape or form you’ve probably played Street Fighter IV. Whether it be the regular edition on consoles or in the Arcade, the re-released Super version or the brand new “Arcade Edition”, Street Fighter IV is arguably the biggest name in fighting games to date. With the somewhat drab line-up plaguing the 3DS launch, it’s SSFIV3D that really stands out among it’s average looking peers. However in the off chance you haven’t touched a version of Street Fighter IV, the 3DS version could very well be the right place to start.

Right off the bat, it’s made very clear that this version of Street Fighter stands toe to toe with it’s console/arcade brethren. All 35 fighters are present with their complete respective move-sets and alternate outfits and all modes are present minus the Team/Tournament online modes and replay features. Despite taking a few modes out of the portable version, Capcom also introduced a new Figurine system. For playing SSFIV3D, whether it be offline or online, you will be rewarded with FP (Figurine Points) which you can use to purchase different miniatures of the various Street Fighters through a small roulette mini-game. Each figurine has different statistics and levels, as they aren’t only present for show. You assemble a team out of your chosen figurines which will do battle with other SSFIV3D players who have their 3DS’s on sleep mode, awarding the winner with a glorious amount of FP, so they may fuel the never ending cycle of collection. This feature also takes advantage of the 3DS’s Play Coins feature, so for every 100 steps you take with the 3DS in sleep mode, you are awarded one play coin. You can exchange these coins in whichever game you choose, however in SSFIV3D, you exchange them for even more FP. This mode can easily be dismissed as a small gimmick or pointless addition, but the constant want for tiny figures is undeniable.  You gotta catch em all.

However, nobody comes to Street Fighter expecting to play with Action Man and Barbie dolls, they come for solid, responsive 2D fighting goodness.  Well, SSFIV3D delivers this promise on all fronts, because it’s exactly like its counterparts. In-case you haven’t played SFIV at all, let me give you the quick rundown. The game is a 2D based fighter, that means no sidestepping in the background to avoid projectiles. The game has solid reliable special moves for each fighter, such as fireballs, hurricane kicks and teleports. You execute these moves by doing a quick motion based command such as down forward then a punch button. It gets a lot more complicated however, and moves like Super Combos, Focus Attacks and Cancels may seem a little overwhelming for new players.  Street Fighter IV isn’t exactly known for it’s helpful tutorials either, which is why it’s great to see the new Touchpad feature included with the 3DS version of the game. As I said previously, this version may well be the best for new players, as the bottom touch screen has 4 panels to which they can assign moves to easily pull off. Now this may seem like a cheap way to spam moves, however it’s immensely helpful given the layout of the 3DS’s buttons and it helps the fights feel more about timing and strategy, rather then wiggling your 3DS around trying to pull off the right movements.

Exclusive to the 3DS version is a new visual perspective. It’s basically an over the shoulder view which helps display the new 3D effect. While Street Fighter is traditionally played from a 2D plane, the new visual effect looks brilliant, though it’s definitely not for everyone, especially competitive players. The new camera angle may make it hard for players to calculate timing for projectiles and other openings, so it’s only really useful when you want to take advantage of the 3DS’s main attraction, the 3D.

"Come At Me Bro!"

Though this isn’t to say the 3D looks less impressive on the regular plane, if there’s anything I could compare it too, it would be like looking into a little window and watching little toys duke it out. With that being said, the depth absolutely does nothing for the gameplay, it’s merely a visual enhancement. Not everything looks great however, the backgrounds of SSFIV had to be made less attractive to compensate for the 3DS’s horsepower. Instead of vibrant active worlds, you’re left with an often static, boring world to fight in. Though the stages aren’t integral to enjoying Street Fighter, it does stick out, especially when compared to the other versions of the game.

SSFIV3D is also completely playable online, and for the most part works fantasticly. I only experienced slight hints of lag, even when playing people from distant parts of the world. Naturally, a lot of players will take advantage of the Touch-Pad feature and completely spam out one move for the duration of the fight. However, if you’re a Street Fighter veteran, you will have no problem countering these players and unleashing a ton of hurt. All icons and titles from the console versions are also present, which helps further personalize the Street Fighter online experience. The only stand-outs here is a lack of replay modes, however it’s an understandable cut given the hardware, but also the ease of which players can quit mid-fight. Marvel Vs Capcom 3 at least made attempts to punish players who don’t finish the fight, however players on SSFIV3D can simply close their 3DS whenever they feel. In my experience I haven’t come across too many Rage-Quitters, however when it happens, it’s especially annoying.

After This, You Will Never Have Children

If you were expecting something similar to the iOS versions of Street Fighter IV, you’d be sorely mistaken. Capcom have done a commendable job bringing the full console experience right to the palm of your hands, whilst one upping it’s brethren in spots with neat 3D tricks and figurines, but falling short in other places like controls and animated backgrounds. With all that being said, if you’re looking for a reason to pick up the 3DS, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is easily the reason to experience Nintendo’s new handheld.

Here’s The Rundown

+ The full console/arcade based experience right in the palm of your hands
+ The 3D depth adds nothing amazing to the franchise, but looks superb
+ The Figurine collecting adds a nice “Carrot on the Stick” feature

- Backgrounds can look especially bland when compared to the smoothly animated fighters
– Touch-Pad play is almost necessary, given how complicated some combos can be
– Very easy for players to quit out mid fight online