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Friday | September 21, 2018
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Street Fighter IV (PS3 and X360)

Street Fighter IV (PS3 and X360)


Street Fighter IV makes it to the next gen console market and many arcade fanatics will already be salivating at the prospect of playing this in the comfort of their own bedrooms rather than popping quarters in their local arcades. The game ends up a wonderfully addictive fighting game which will not only appeal to the hard core Street Fighter fans but might even attract a new audience who previously only played Virtua Fighter and Soulcaliber.

Street Fighter IV breaks from tradition and is a vibrant new implementation of a 3d mechanic which is set to bring the franchise to a wider demographic. While I was a big fan of Street Fighter III it was becoming rather staid and dated in such a quickly changing market. The new title is the most accessible in a long time yet it maintains the depth of gameplay that will ensure most fighting fans will keep playing for many months to come. In fact the game will require many months of practice to even get close to mastering and as such if you are able to devote the time it will become an addictive experience amongst those of you wanting to get the most from the combat.

The timings and settings will require skill but they have been slightly relaxed and adjusted from previous titles to ensure that a wider audience will be able to enjoy the title. Bear in mind that this is not to say that SFIV has been dumbed down to idiot levels because a great player will still rightly be able to kick the ass of a newbie. What this mechanic brings to the table however is that a gamer will be able to bring combos to the table without stressing if he is going to get the exact pinpoint motion. I think most of us can remember an embarrassing death when a precision movement didn’t quite translate in game – this rarely happens now and i think its a massive plus point.

The parry system has also now been removed and as great as it was for immensely skilled players this is no longer an important part of the play. Tapping forward when in combat never really felt right to me and the end result with the changes means that the game is now much more fluid in movement and enjoyable to play.

These beautiful mechanics are integral to SFIV and ill explain why. Some of them make a reappearance from SFIII but the new additions help to round out the overall combat experience. The EX system is back which is good to see and the basic idea of this is that you can modify any special move into an EX version which causes additional hits and changes the attack animation. Doing this uses up one of the four segments on the super bar which gives you an alternative to waiting for the super bar to fill completely. You can portion out these modified attacks any time you have a bar segment ready for action. Implementing the moves works well because instead of hitting one punch or one kick for a special you simply press two. Ken for example will deliver two hits with a fireball or four with his dragon punch – additionally his kick will initiate faster and move further while doing more damage. Other characters EX moves can be altered further although a part of this is to counter the stronger personas core abilities, all in all it works very well and has been well play tested for weaknesses and game ruining balancing issues.

Another system to return is the throw option which starts by tapping light punch or kick, it is again easy to use and works well within the context of a combo to create a smooth flowing and dynamic sequence of attacks. All the characters have a focus attack which is unleashed with a medium punch and a medium kick (by tapping or holding to charge up). While this is charging you can block one attack and then counter attack when released at fully charged level (which is unblockable). Hitting an opponent with a charged focus attack stuns them and they drop to their knees which sets them up for a further attack. Focus attacks are really easy to execute and add a great tactical option within basic and advanced gameplay.

Focus attacks can be countered with throws and armour breaking moves and they can be dash cancelled mid charge to counter enemy moves and you can use these focus attacks to stop a lot of the special moves as well. The advanced moves are really indepth and it will take some time to master them completely so if you are new to the game and are playing an experienced player it will be almost impossible to beat him, which really is how it should be. If you want to be good at this game you need to invest time, but even people with a low skill set can get great enjoyment from this title the moment they pick it up. It is this variety in game play styles which sets a new benchmark for fighting games as you can play with a variety of aggressive or defensive counter attack styles.

Street Fighter IV also has a set of challenges designed to instruct you on everything the game has to offer, from basic throws and punches to massively complex advanced combos. There are five sets of challenges in total for normal difficultly and another five for hard setting which means if you master normal then you have another set to further improvement your combat abilities.

Ultra moves have been added in IV which is tied to a revenge meter as well as the super bar, this builds up as you take damage. Once this is glowing you are able to use an incredible ultra – which is an enhanced super move. They look amazing to see and ensure that two players of varying skill levels will have at least a semi entertaining battle from time to time. These moves are accessed by the same method a super move is unleashed only with three punch or all kick buttons. Crimson Viper for example flips her opponent from the ground to the air then attacks with a quick flurry of flaming flip kicks.

Graphically the game is bold and bright and the main characters are colourful and larger than life — it is however all the little touches which assail the senses and prove that this has been a long time in development. Fireballs for instance throw up dust from the ground and form a heat wave as they move and sometimes clashes on armour cause little flashes of electric to appear. There are also a plethora of amazingly detailed animations from all the characters which give them a sense of actually being alive on the screen. The characters also have a fine black outline around them and the textures are stylized and true to the soft pallor of a cartoon environment. Their eyes also follow the enemy as they dart and jump around the screen so you immediately get the sense of respect for the other player and an in game battle to the death requiring ultimate concentration.

One area of the game that might be open to debate are the backgrounds. They clearly didn’t get the same loving attention to detail as the characters and many times I was a little saddened to see very little happening within them. This is far from a game breaking issue but it is noticeable on the rare occasions you get time to study them.

Graphically there is not much difference between the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions and thankfully each version has had various tweaks to make sure it runs as well as it can. It is worth noting that the PS3 version really needs the hard drive install otherwise the load times suffer but its a minor point (unless you are running out of drive space!). I prefer the PS3 version overall because the D-PAD on the dualshock is much more intuitive for a fighting game. That said, both consoles allow for an arcade stick which ideally is the way to go, if you can afford it.

Purists will be pleased to hear that the classic line up is back with a few extras. So we have Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, Dhalsim, Zangief, E.Honda, Blanka, M.Bison, Sagat, Vega, Cammy, Balrog, Sakura, Gen, Akuma, Rose, Dan and Fei-Long. They look so fresh in full 3D and it really reinvigorates the franchise to see just how well they translate into a more modern environment. Gouken deserves special mention because he is Ken and Ryu’s former trainer and brother of Akuma and his attacks are simply mind melting. He has angled and flat fireballs and a spinning kick which launches straight up, much like his former pupils.

The various modes are respectable, from training challenges to online modes which are quite diverse in nature. I would have liked to see something in a career style mode perhaps but overall there is nothing really missing from the game in this regard. Online play runs well on both console platforms although I did experience a few issues with lag from time to time. That said I am positive that the hardcore SF gamers will play locally rather than against a guy across the globe because this is such a fast paced game that even the slightest ping issue will ruin it for everyone. I am positive there are further improvements to be made with online play however it is worth bearing in mind that when I was playing online there were not many available as the game was not officially released.

Street Fighter IV is a great success and while many purists will have been sweating initially at their favourite game being taken into the 3d world, the end result is a well programmed and immersive gaming experience for all next gen console owners. The depth is high but equally so many gamers new to the title will be able to jump in and have a lot of fun. It really is a great game and comes highly recommended. See you guys online!



The interface and game combat mechanic is class leading.
A high level of polish throughout and only the mundane backdrops bring the score down.
Decent sound effects and a respectable soundtrack. Nothing really remarkable but it works well.
Huge replay value and months and months of learning and improving to reward the dedicated gamer.

One to make sure you don’t miss.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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