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Street Fighter IV (PC)

Street Fighter IV (PC)

Fighting game fans who only own a PC have a shortage of good titles available so the release of Street Fighter IV on this platform is big news. Capcom’s biggest game has been around for almost 20 years now and has legendary status, but the big question has yet to be answered – is the PC version actually any good?

Street Fighter has generally been a game focused on 1to1 combat within a 2d plane. Recently however various tweaks and adjustments have been made including changes to the roster but the core elements still remain the same. This is not a bad thing as Street Fighter was always one of the most playable and enjoyable fighting games on the market. With Street Fighter 4 all the characters have different attacks and special moves to use and the physical combat is perfectly balanced with various strategies available making a well rounded and intense combat experience. The fact it can be enjoyed by players of various skill levels is also a main attraction and those veterans who have played from the beginning will be able to jump right into familiar territory from the word go.

One of the latest mechanics is the Focus system which means a character can charge up an attack that will knock down a foe if it hits. There is no real need to use the focusing system if you are getting to grips with the game as you can use a variety of punches and special moves to win but the option is there when the skill level increases. To use focus, all you do is hold down medium kick and medium punch together and charge. This simple addition adds another layer to the combat mechanic and it works well. To further enhance the system it is great to learn that the Focus attack can also nullify a single oncoming strike without losing its impact, so it can be effectively used as a defensive weapon.

Skilled players can use focus attack as a diversion as it is possible to cancel it mid way by using a dash move then readjusting your tactic on the fly to throw players off guard. All of these various touches mean that it is possible for a player of any skill level to get something from the game – there is some serious depth on offer if you persist.

The combat revolves around a dual meter system – the Ultra meter and the Super meter. The Super meter grows as you hit opponents and fight and the Ultra Meter fills as you take damage. The super meter is tied to super combos which are sophisticated attacks that can be chained together with normal techniques for some incredible moves. Also you can use the Ultra attacks to perform Ultra combos which are devastating attacks which can shift the tide of victory.

Mastering these attacks can bring a formidable front to your character but the joy is that they can be ignored and you can still win, against a similarly skilled opponent. Equally so, extremely skilled players have a wealth of additional options on offer such as the ability to use a quarter of your super meter to perform EX versions of special moves, which are variations of the ordinary attack moves.

Learning all these attacks is possible via the training platform in the game which lets you spar against other fighters while recording them for playback later. The Challenge modes also bear a mention because Trial mode lets you use every character to learn their basic and advanced combos. It makes a fantastic place to get introduced to the characters and combat mechanic and Capcom need a pat on the back for including such an interactive and useful option.

The game has clearly undergone some serious balancing and optimisation as every match runs so smoothly with a tight focus on the control system. A few characters are stronger than others but much like real life this will always be the case. That said, if you are more skilled than your opponent there is plenty of room for surprise victories with lesser characters. Street Fighter IV offers Crimson Viper, Rufus, Abel and El Fuerte to the array of traditional fighters (such as Ken, Ryu and Chun Li) and there are some unlockables to get your hands on as well.

Graphically the game is very impressive and the animations are super smooth and flowing which aids the immersiveness of the gameplay as you feel as though you are controlling a capable fighter and not just a cardboard cutout – the modelling is fantastic. The attacks all look great with some stunning visual effects adding to the impact and the concept of having a 2d plane with fully 3d characters works a treat.

There are a ton of unlockables available no matter who you play with and it is a good tactic by the developers to ensure that gamers will continue to play. Other nice touches include the options to switch between japanese and english voices as well as adjusting the positions of gauges and bars onscreen to your desires. This level of presentation really helps to sell the game because very often people will dislike a panel in a specific position and it has been a long time since I have seen this level of polish in a PC game.

Sadly, even though the game supports online play there are some stability issues with the experience which can make it unplayable. The game supports Championship mode which was released as a post launch patch for the console versions but it is hard to comment on it as it kept crashing on my ATI 4890 powered Intel Quad system. Local multiplayer is a lot better however I think the main attraction would be online with people across the globe.

The game does not play well on a keyboard, however I think that is to be expected. So if you don’t already own a capable gamepad you will need to budget this into the purchase to get the most from the experience. Trying to achieve some of the special attacks with arrow keys is a skill all in itself and is not very rewarding.

Street Fighter IV is a great conversion for PC owners, and should satisfy even the most demanding of gamers. Normally PC versions appear to be an afterthought however this is not the case with SFIV – the only issue is the requirement for a gamepad, but if you already have one then it is a no brainer – pick it up today.


Immense depth if the time is invested. Great all round mechanics and combat system.
Super smooth and well detailed throughout.
Nice soundtrack and effects.
Online is a little poor right now however there is a lot to cover in single player.

Highly recommended fighting game for the PC. Rare in itself.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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