Street Fighter IV review

DontKnowMe

Forum Elder
Oct 19, 2006
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#1
http://ps3.ign.com/articles/953/953819p1.html

February 12, 2009 - Fighting game fans that don't have access to a Japanese arcade have been waiting for Street Fighter IV for a long time. Capcom's high-profile fighter continues a nearly twenty year tradition and many gamers -- especially long-time fans -- have been intensely curious as to how the game will play and what it will do for the legendary series. The good news is that Street Fighter IV is an outstanding title and one of the most enjoyable fighting games I've ever played. Capcom has managed to strip away the baggage that has accumulated around the series over the years and returned to the franchise's roots. The result is a game that plays very much like a purified, simple fighter -- but with several modern enhancements to enrich the combat. If you've been playing Street Fighter for years, this game will feel like an old friend. If you're completely new to the scene, Street Fighter IV is a great place to start.

Street Fighter has traditionally been a game focused on one-on-one combat on a 2D plane. Over the years, the roster has evolved and various tweaks have been made to the formula, but the core components remain to this day. Street Fighter IV lets you select a character and square off against another warrior in the ring. Each character has a variety of normal attacks and Special Moves to take advantage of, but the actual gameplay boils down to a balance between raw physical skill and the mind games that play out between players.



Click here for our Video Review.

The beauty of Street Fighter IV stems from how approachable the game is and how it can be enjoyed on so many different levels. For those gamers interested in grabbing trusty ol' Ryu and diving into the mix, things will feel natural and there's no need to obsess over learning all the subtle details and nuances that make up the fighting game experience. However, there's so much flowing beneath the surface of Street Fighter IV's mechanics that long-time fans will have plenty to learn and re-master, if they want to truly understand the gameplay.

For example, one of the newest systems in Street Fighter IV is the Focus system, which allows a character to charge up an attack that will knock an opponent down if it connects properly. For a beginner, the Focus Attack isn't necessarily needed to win. He or she could simply rely on the traditional assortment of fireballs and dragon punches to get by and have a good time doing it. But if the Focus Attack seems appealing, performing it is a piece of cake -- just hold down both Medium Punch and Medium Kick together and charge it up (or alternatively, just assign the attack to a button of your choice in the options menu). With a simple input, the player now has access to an attack that adds another layer to the combat.

But that's not all there is to the Focus system. Players who want to dig even deeper into the technical elements of it all will learn that the Focus Attack can also absorb a single oncoming strike without being interrupted. Although you take damage for the absorption, that damage will heal given time. In this way, the Focus Attack becomes a defensive technique as well as an offensive one and offers even more strategy for players to consider.



Don't worry, ladies: Ken is back.

And there's even more. You can also cancel a Focus Attack mid-charge by dashing out of it, which can help you play tricks on your opponent. Or, you can expend a portion of your Super meter (which I'll touch on shortly) to cancel a Special Move directly into a Focus Attack. This single system depicts the broader Street Fighter IV picture: it's so easy to pick up and play but there's enough depth to keep even the most hardcore competitors satisfied.

There are a number of other systems in Street Fighter IV that players can keep track of. There are two meters that can be used during a match: the Super meter and the Ultra meter. The Super meter fills as you land attacks and fight normally, while the Ultra meter (or Revenge gauge) builds up as you take damage. You can use the Super meter to execute Super Combos, which are elaborate attacks that can be chained together with normal techniques for some spectacular combinations. On the other hand, you can use the Ultra meter to perform Ultra Combos, which are more cinematic, devastating attacks that can turn the tide of battle in your favor.

Once again, these systems can be enjoyed on a number of levels. You can -- for the most part -- ignore them if you wish, or you can just wait for your meters to be filled and then attempt a Super/Ultra Combo. But if you're interested in even more technical applications, you can use a quarter of your Super meter to perform Ex versions of Special Moves, which generally strike in different ways than the normal versions.

As you can see, there's a tremendous amount of information to consider and balance while playing, but it's easy to learn one step at a time and SFIV gives you the tools to do so. Not only is there a robust training mode for plenty of sparring (you can even record your own actions for your sparring partner and play them back to suit your own needs), but Street Fighter IV also boasts an extremely exciting suite of Challenge modes. My favorite among the Challenges -- which include typical Survival and Time Attack offerings -- is the Trial mode, which actually teaches you introductory and advanced combos for every character. If you're curious about what Special Moves cancel into what else, or how to set yourself up for an Ultra Combo, Trial is a brilliant place to start. This mode is clear evidence that Capcom wanted Street Fighter IV to appeal to a new generation of gamers -- players previously unversed in the intricacies of the series.

For those new players, there are also new characters to experiment with. Besides a few unlockable fighters, Street Fighter IV introduces Abel, Crimson Viper, Rufus and El Fuerte right off the bat and each new competitor is a welcome addition to the cast. I'm particularly fond of Crimson Viper, as her design is extremely stylish and her collection of special moves makes her a (flexible) force to be reckoned with. Of course, all the classic characters are back as well, like Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and Guile. Like so many of the other elements in Street Fighter IV, the original characters feel exactly like they should and that's absolutely a good thing.



Crimson Viper is a welcome addition to the roster.

Street Fighter IV feels sublime and is a real blast to play. It's easy to see that an absurd amount of effort was put into balancing and fine-tuning the game, as every match runs beautifully and controls tightly. Obviously some characters are stronger than others, as has been the case with the series for years now, but a truly skilled player can still take a weak character and do some impressive things in the ring -- much to the dismay of his or her opponent (e.g. Editor-in-Chief of IGN Guides Mark Ryan Sallee pwning the office with Dan).

Although I was hesitant regarding the muscle-filled art style of Street Fighter IV, I eventually grew to like it, which helped me see the game's character models in a much different light. The animation of each character is divinely fluid and some of the effects for projectiles and Ultra Combos are simply breath-taking. Street Fighter IV is an incredibly good-looking game and I'm happy that Capcom went with the 3D models. I'm also equally happy that the gameplay is still on a 2D plane, even though the game's visuals are all 3D. This allows for some impressive camera work during Ultra Combo execution that enhances the rush of a narrow victory against a skilled opponent.

Besides the 3D visuals, Street Fighter IV also sports online play, which will certainly please network-happy gamers looking for more than just the local competition. During my time with Street Fighter IV's online mode, I found it ran well on both the PS3 and 360, though there were occasional hitches that popped up mid-game. Honestly, casual fans will have no problem playing online, though the hardcore audience will likely stick with local multiplayer, regardless. No matter how good your connection is, there's never a guarantee that you're experiencing the exact same battle that your rival is experiencing, which would trouble competitive players. Furthermore, there's no telling how the game will run online once everyone begins jumping on, but my time with it was quite positive.


While online isn't SFIV's best feature, there are plenty of other aspects that will keep gamers playing. Specifically the absurd amount of unlockables. Whether you're collecting titles or icons for online play or discovering new colors and taunts for every character, there's always something to unlock in Street Fighter IV and that's a fantastic incentive to keep playing. Even subtle details were well thought out, like being able to switch between English and Japanese voice acting per character or adjusting the position of the health bars and Super/Ultra gauges on the screen. Street Fighter IV isn't just about outstanding gameplay -- it has polish and plenty to do.

But as good as Street Fighter IV is, the game isn't perfect. We ran into a few bugs with bringing up the XMB on the PS3 version, as the game would occasionally crash in the process and there was a strange Trophy bug that reared up when foreign unlock data was transferred to our PS3. Of course, these issues might not be relevant for the average consumer as they won't be constantly swapping data between hard drives, but it's worthy of note nonetheless.



Don't mess with Abel. He'll go biblical on your ***.

Perhaps more bothersome are the anime cutscenes that are present in every character's Arcade mode. You get one cutscene at the beginning and one cutscene upon completion, and they're all terrible. Keep in mind, I'm a tremendous anime junkie, but these cutscenes are almost a disgrace to anime as they are so poorly animated and tell you almost nothing about the story or the context for each character's participation in the tournament. For a game clearly designed to appeal to new players, these cutscenes are surprisingly convoluted.

And lastly, if you've grown tired of the Street Fighter formula over the years, your passion might not be rekindled with IV. As much as I love it, I have to admit that this is still Street Fighter and we've been playing these games for almost twenty years. If the Street Fighter scene (or perhaps, more precisely, the fighting game scene) has bored you as of late, I don't see you finding a revolution in this one -- but it'll sure come close to bringing you around.

I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss the differences between the PS3 and 360 versions, which are actually few and far between. The game runs brilliantly on either console, but to get the PS3 up to quick load times, you'll need to perform the optional install. If you do install the game, the versions are nearly identical, though the PS3 benefits from the vastly superior D-pad on the DualShock. Fortunately for 360 owners, both consoles allow for arcade sticks and a good stick is strongly encouraged if you want to play on 360.



Closing Comments
Street Fighter IV is a fantastic game overall and Capcom should be commended for designing a game that can work on so many levels by appealing to both casual and hardcore players. I'll admit that when I first heard I was reviewing Street Fighter IV, I wasn't terribly excited. I suppose I just didn't think much of it. But as I played and experimented with each character, fighting a variety of the IGN folks and learning something new with every match, I realized just how irrevocably deep fighting games -- and Street Fighter games in particular -- really are. I encourage everyone to give Street Fighter IV a try, even if you're relatively new to the fighting game scene. There's so much depth to the gameplay that you'll be rewarded long after your purchase. And with that, I'll leave you with the mandatory... Hadoken!



8.0 Presentation
Generally well-polished and clean, with PS3 and 360 versions performing almost identically. Anime cutscenes, however, are a joke and should have been replaced with in-engine storytelling.

9.0 Graphics
This is a sharp, elegant and sublimely well-animated affair. I'm still amazed at how fireballs look in this game.

8.5 Sound
Plenty of slick tunes to complement the fighting, with a sweet J-pop song serving as the main theme. IGN predicts sweaty techno raves wherever the game is played.

9.0 Gameplay
Street Fighter IV is a brilliant step for the franchise as it -- in most cases -- returns to the roots of the series. As with many fighting games, gameplay gets deeper with practice.

9.5 Lasting Appeal
A veritable horde of unlockables keeps single-player sessions constantly rewarding. Playing against like-minded Street Fighter junkies will keep the game relevant for years.

9.3 OVERALL
Outstanding
(out of 10 / not an average)
Less than a week away.
 

Lethalmind

Fister Roboto
Mar 13, 2008
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#2
That's a higher score than I expected. I want to buy this game, but I thought people would rag on the art style. It's a good thing I don't follow reviews too closely.

Nice find
 

Don G.

Elite Member
Oct 31, 2005
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#3
Wow great review. I'm definitely interested in this game but with Killzone coming out in a couple of weeks and MLB 09 coming out the week after that, I'll likely hold off on buying this for a little while. Definitely a game I'm interested in though.
 

Don G.

Elite Member
Oct 31, 2005
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#7
Wait...so this is still a 2d fighting game? For some reason I thought they were making it 3d.
 

-Deadpool-

Ultimate Veteran
Oct 7, 2007
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#9
All sounding great :D And a good score too, better than I was expecting. Only a week away 8)

This is good news too:
"The game runs brilliantly on either console, but to get the PS3 up to quick load times, you'll need to perform the optional install."

Glad its optional, don't mind the extra wait :D
 

Don G.

Elite Member
Oct 31, 2005
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#10
[QUOTE="xXDarkSlayerXx, post: 0]Naw man.. Its 2d. Last time Street fighter went 3d it went terribly wrong.[/quote]

I always sucked at 3d fighters. Hell, I was never that good at 2d fighters...but I prefer them.

I'll pick this game up eventually. Especially with all those unlockables. It has a ton of trophies too which I think is great for this type of game.
 

sinapi

Apprentice
Mar 2, 2008
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#11
im not a big fan of Street fighter, but the game looks cool...is it the game for me?
Is there only a 1v1 arcade aspect to it?
 

IDgilly

Forum Elder
Nov 17, 2008
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#13
this has just jumped on my radar again. the review sparked me too luck at some videos and it looks rather impressive. going to get it for the 2 player.......
 

hisame

Elite Guru
Dec 5, 2005
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#15
It's funny how the director of the game keep on saying it's a return to SF2,
and how simple the game is and how it will attract new players.
If you read user reviews in Amazon, they will tell you it's a hard game.
The control is NOT simple when you consider multi way chain, saving cancel, super cancel and low arial are possible.
For example a new comer can hardly use a dragon for anti-air,
when a skill player can do heavy kick saving cancel dragon, saving cancel super fire ball with Ryu for anti-air.
A dame miss jump will take over a third of you health off.
On top the CPU is not stupid too, some people are saying a new coming is lucky if they can play at 2 stars.
 

hisame

Elite Guru
Dec 5, 2005
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#16
[QUOTE="dondidit, post: 0]I liked street fighter EX it was fun with the 3d but I only liked the arcade version of it.[/quote]

If you want to play SF3 at home get a DreamCast.
The PS2 version is a P.o.C. so does MvC2.
 

Forbiden

Elite Member
May 25, 2007
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#18
[QUOTE="Lethalmind, post: 0]That's a higher score than I expected. I want to buy this game, but I thought people would rag on the art style. It's a good thing I don't follow reviews too closely.

Nice find[/quote]

The art direction is exactly what is keeping me from buying this first day. If there was a demo or something to try it out before hand, then I could make up my mind about whether I want it or not. However, since there isn't, at this point the game is a rental for me. When I see if the game is good or bad, then I'll be able to decide whether to buy it or not.

It also got a higher score than I expected. I was expecting a score of mid 8s to a 9, but it got .3 higher than my highest expectation.
 

whippet_1

Superior Member
Sep 13, 2007
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#19
[QUOTE="Forbiden, post: 0]The art direction is exactly what is keeping me from buying this first day. If there was a demo or something to try it out before hand, then I could make up my mind about whether I want it or not. However, since there isn't, at this point the game is a rental for me. When I see if the game is good or bad, then I'll be able to decide whether to buy it or not.

It also got a higher score than I expected. I was expecting a score of mid 8s to a 9, but it got .3 higher than my highest expectation.[/quote]


I'm curious, what dont you like about the art style? is is the animation? or just character models alone?

I was kinda iffy (verrrry early on) also, but it's grown on me tons...
 

Endgame77

Dedicated Member
Dec 18, 2007
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#20
[QUOTE="Forbiden, post: 0]The art direction is exactly what is keeping me from buying this first day. If there was a demo or something to try it out before hand, then I could make up my mind about whether I want it or not. However, since there isn't, at this point the game is a rental for me. When I see if the game is good or bad, then I'll be able to decide whether to buy it or not.

It also got a higher score than I expected. I was expecting a score of mid 8s to a 9, but it got .3 higher than my highest expectation.[/quote]

Well, I think it's pretty obvious if you're a Street Fighter fan the game is incredible. I've watched tons of videos and the gameplay seems very close to SF2 in terms of speed, but the focus attacks seem to change things up some. I can not wait for this game.
 

Forbiden

Elite Member
May 25, 2007
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#21
[QUOTE="whippet_1, post: 0]I'm curious, what dont you like about the art style? is is the animation? or just character models alone?

I was kinda iffy (verrrry early on) also, but it's grown on me tons...[/quote]

It's not the animation. It's the way the models are designed and drawn, and the style in which the game is...colored? Something about it rubs me the wrong way, but it might be because I am more used to the Arc Sys-type fighter.
 

hisame

Elite Guru
Dec 5, 2005
5,688
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#22
[QUOTE="Forbiden, post: 0]It's not the animation. It's the way the models are designed and drawn, and the style in which the game is...colored? Something about it rubs me the wrong way, but it might be because I am more used to the Arc Sys-type fighter.[/quote]

Ah, Otaku fighters. AH2 is a great game,
hope they launch a version on PS3.
Give SF4 a try in your near by arcade,
it's very similar to RF with more bite.
 

hisame

Elite Guru
Dec 5, 2005
5,688
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#23
To master this game there are 5 point to learn.
1. Good old super cancel
2. Multiway chain this game allows punch or kick chain in any way along as it reach
3. Saving cancel leads to making imposible combo possible
4. EX special leads to low arial
5. Vertical jump quick acttack leads to low arial

The result is a skill fighter can finished a beginner,
when the guy/gal can't even move
 

Essenshizer

Dedicated Member
Sep 26, 2007
1,094
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#25
[QUOTE="hisame, post: 0]To master this game there are 5 point to learn.
1. Good old super cancel
2. Multiway chain this game allows punch or kick chain in any way along as it reach
3. Saving cancel leads to making imposible combo possible
4. EX special leads to low arial
5. Vertical jump quick acttack leads to low arial

The result is a skill fighter can finished a beginner,
when the guy/gal can't even move[/quote]


Can you go into more detail for the Tekken-ite? (Haven't played SF since SNES lol).
 

HardlePS3

Elite Member
Jun 21, 2008
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Brazil
www.freewebs.com
#26
[QUOTE="hisame, post: 0]To master this game there are 5 point to learn.
1. Good old super cancel
2. Multiway chain this game allows punch or kick chain in any way along as it reach
3. Saving cancel leads to making imposible combo possible
4. EX special leads to low arial
5. Vertical jump quick acttack leads to low arial

The result is a skill fighter can finished a beginner,
when the guy/gal can't even move[/quote]

1. Meaning that as soon as you land a special move, you do the motion for a super, thus canceling the special move animation into the super. EX. Ryu Shoryuken, after the first hit connects you quickly input the QFCx2 + P for the super, the super will combo with the first hit of the shoryuken. None except Dan (Dan can ultra cancel his Super Taunt) can Ultra cancel in this game, meaning to attack will be canceled in favor of an Ultra. That's why the FADC is for.

Or:
F, DF, F + P >> QFCx2 + P

2. Er... In SFIV the combo system is actually based on links rather than chains. Meaning that you need to press the buttons after the hit, linking the ending animation of an attack with the next attack rather than chaining then together.

3. FADC or SADC (Focus Attack/Saving Attack Dash Cancel) is an advanced manuever in SFIV. In order to do it, you'll need half a super bar. The FADC/SADC makes you cancel a move into a Focus Attack into a dash, thus you can juggle certain attacks that weren't possible before EX:
Ryu's shoryuken his opp into the air, he does a FADC canceling the Shoryuken animation into his dash, he dashes forward as his opp is still high in the air, he then unleashes his Ultra that hits the opp as he was falling.

Or:
F, DF, F + LP >> MP+MK(hold) >> F, F, MP+MK(release) >> OFCx2 + PPP

I didn't get the last 2, I think you meant the slow falling. It'll happen after counter hits in the air, and after some FADC EX moves too. You can use this moment to juggle.

I tried to use a simplified speech, sorry if it got confusing...
 

Forbiden

Elite Member
May 25, 2007
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#29
[QUOTE="hisame, post: 0]Ah, Otaku fighters. AH2 is a great game,
hope they launch a version on PS3.
Give SF4 a try in your near by arcade,
it's very similar to RF with more bite.[/quote]

Well, there is Suggoi! Arcana Heart for the PS2, so perhaps AH2 on PS3 is already ruled out? Like I said, I will try SF4, but since there is no near by arcade, I cant(and even if there was one nearby, I would probably be all over Blazblue or demanding that they get it) exactly try it there, but I'll rent it or play it at a friends house and see how it is.
 

Uncool

Power Member
Aug 27, 2006
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#30
[QUOTE="hisame, post: 0]If you want to play SF3 at home get a DreamCast.
The PS2 version is a P.o.C. so does MvC2.[/quote]
MvC2 has major lag the PS2 3rd strike is close to arcade perfect (though a bit faster). The DC version is the one with super cancel lag.:?

[QUOTE="Forbiden, post: 0]Well, there is Suggoi! Arcana Heart for the PS2, so perhaps AH2 on PS3 is already ruled out? Like I said, I will try SF4, but since there is no near by arcade, I cant(and even if there was one nearby, I would probably be all over Blazblue or demanding that they get it) exactly try it there, but I'll rent it or play it at a friends house and see how it is.[/quote]

Looks good so far and I am looking forward for GT to break it down as well. And yes if you played Guilty Gear you can definitely play Blaze Blue (and I have and the moves feel fluid and the animation sprites are simply amazing).

@HardlePS3 - when I get the game this Tuesday if you want lets record some matches online when ever your down to play.