Casual fans and hardcore gamers alike have always named one Street Fighter game the best. That game is the legendary Street Fighter II, released way back in 1991. Since then, there have been several iterations of the franchise, but none of them as iconic or popular as the aforementioned game. However, with the release of Street Fighter IV, it looks as if fight fans will have a new game to call their all-time favourite.
From the moment you first start playing, ‘old-skool’ fans will already be familiar with the simplicity of the controls and classic 2D-fighting gameplay. Even those who are playing Street Fighter for the first time will have no trouble getting to grips with the game, as its controls are easy to follow and there isn’t a long list of move sets that needs to be memorised; a problem that plagues more recent fighting games. This is the classic Street Fighter gameplay many have been craving for a very long time.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything new about Street Fighter IV - far from it. Graphically the transition from 2D to 3D is a welcome change and the game looks phenomenal. With bright and vibrant colours, the animation is also impressive, as everything moves swiftly and fluidly, and long-time fans will instantly appreciate how Capcom has handled next-generation takes on moves such as Ryu’s Hadoken (fireball) or Ken’s Fiery Shoryuken (dragon uppercut).
The presentation throughout this game is awe-inspiring, from the stylish character models to the beautiful backdrops of the fight arenas, which are simply breathtaking. The game also features cool anime-style intros and endings for each character as you play through the game’s story mode. Capcom even added extra movies and concept art as bonus unlockables.
There are 16 characters to choose from while a further nine are unlockable, which makes a total of 25 characters for the player to master. And if you were wondering if most of the roster consists of new characters a la Street Fighter III, breathe a sigh of relief; all your favourites from Street Fighter II are present and ready to kick butt. Only four new fighters have been added.
A great new addition to the series is the all-new Ultra moves. These work in the opposite fashion to Super moves, as you can only earn them while taking a lot of damage during the fight. It will be interesting to see how popular this will be to many players, as Ultra moves can change the tide of the fight in an instant. Not only this, but they look damn good with alternative camera angles and slow-motion effects.
All the standard fighting game modes are here, such as your usual Arcade, Vs Time Attack and Survival. I was pleased that Capcom has tweaked the AI in this game for the less-than-stellar Street Fighter player, which made the game more accessible to the casual gamer. However, a game like this truly shines not against the computer, but with a couple of mates. I did just that, and it’s still as fun as and competitive as ever, with the ability to take the fight online if you’re thus enabled.
It’s hard not to recommend this game, as it’s simply that good. The multiplayer aspect increases the longevity of an already top-notch title. It has been 20 years since the first Street Fighter launched, and the franchise has yet to show any signs of fatigue. A quality title overall.