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  • Game: Street Fighter IV
  • ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
  • Reviewed Platform: Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Series:

Street Fighter IV

Upper Cut! Sonic Boom! Head-Butt!

By Josh Gordon     March 06, 2009

 

Nostalgia is a killer. Typically memories are so rose colored and soft focused as to become Everest-like, looming over modern interpretations (which almost always disappoint). While “pros” have been dissecting arcade versions of Street Fighter IV for months now, the newest chapter in the SF legacy has recently come out for the consoles and boy does it pack a wallop.
 
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert in the fighting genre. Spending days upon end learning and memorizing complicated combos taxes my A.D.H.D riddled brain but even I could not resist the black hole pull of Street Fighter II when it came out for the Super Nintendo in the early ‘90s. I even picked up a heavy duty $99.00 arcade stick to complete the experience and learned most of the primary moves for most of the characters. I would never though, call myself anything more than an exuberantly casual player.
 
A Street Fighter for Casual Gamers?
 
Um, no. Some recent reviews have touted SF IV’s playability for the casual player. That is true ONLY if they are playing other casual gamers. Anyone playing this game casually will get their hinnies kicked if playing against others online which is the way the true warrior will want to experience SF: IV. The game is deep. So deep in fact there are approximately seven full pages in the instruction manual dedicated to the different aspects of the fighting system (not including each characters own special moves!) I was so put off by the manual that I initially regretted my purchase and had to take solace in the fact that I could still get a modestly reasonable price for trading in this pugilistic pitfall but, thankfully, I soldiered on. I decided to start with the basics and re-learn a few of Ryu’s key moves and play against the computer. That’s where the Capcom’s “rock” consequence comes in. Once you take a hit off of the crack pipe that is Street Fighter: IV you’ll want to dive deeper into the game, you’ll want to master the moves; you’ll want to prepare yourself for online onslaughts. To say that I’m currently obsessed with the game and that to get it away from me you’d have to pry it from my cold, dead hands would be an accurate statement.
 
An Early Contender for Game of the Year
 
There is something about the quality of Street Fighter’s II’s gameplay and soul that has long made it a great gaming experience whether or not you like fighting games. Street Fighter IV has elevated the SF experience to dizzying heights making this the most realized and complete SF iteration yet. In Street Fighter: IV the HD graphics are jaw droppingly gorgeous. Stunningly rendered 3D characters that appear hand drawn stay true to SF’s 2D origins and bring a highly artistic quality to the experience. So much care has gone into the visual, aural and gameplay experience that it transcends its learning curve and genre to become an essential gaming experience to anyone with a genuine interest in video games.
 
Oh Noooo! Mr. 360 D-pad Kills the Party!
 
Here’s where things get dicey. To really get anywhere in the game you’re going to have to chuck the 360’s controller. There is no way that the 360’s infamously awful directional pad and SF: IV are going to play nice with each other. So forget the sixty dollar price tag for the game; figure on spending at least that much more on a decent fight stick and twice that much if you want the top of the line arcade stick experience. Mad Catz has the official license for SF: IV sticks and a controller-like fight pad (the least expensive alternative) will set you back forty bucks; an arcade stick will set you back at least eighty dollars. Here’s another kicker, you’ll be hard pressed to find any of the licensed controllers ANYWHERE! Everybody’s sold out of ‘em. Mad Catz has promised to get more in the stores in April so I would have to recommend that you consider waiting a month if you don’t have an addict’s need for instant gratification like I do.
Certain moves will be brain crushingly vain attempts without an upgraded controller.
 
Quick Match Not So Quick
 
There’s a lot of word going around on the internet about the inability to play SF: IV’s quick match mode quickly. I haven’t been able to accomplish a match with quick match yet BUT if you allow for online matches during arcade mode you’ll find plenty of real life opponents in no time. You can also host your own matches which seem to work better than quick match.
 
In this day and age it’s absurd that quick-match is anything but, and considering that Xbox Live Arcade’s Street Fighter II HD has a better matching system it’s fairly inexcusable.
Hopefully this will be remedied in a future update.
 
Challenge Mode = Training Day
 
If you’re serious about getting good at SF: IV you’ll definitely want to spend time in the training challenge which can be found in challenge mode. The training challenge will teach you all of the combos. It will also make you want to pull your hair out and hit yourself with it. Here you will find the true futility of the D-Pad. After watching videos online it appears that it’s only a little bit easier with the Mad Catz stick. I also enjoyed the time challenges in which you have to defeat a pre-determined number of opponents in a limited amount of time. This mode teaches you to think fast which you’ll need to do when going online against real opponents or on the harder levels of the arcade mode.
 
Meager Manual
 
I found the instructions to be woefully lacking in doing a thorough job at explaining the details of the fighting system. The explanation of “canceling”, for instance, is only adequate at best. The general public and casual player would have benefited greatly from more fine tuned explanations and examples. I recommend checking out IGN’s Street Fighter 4 Online Guide which provides and excellent explanation of how the cancel system (and many other aspects of the fighting system) works. Find it here.
 
Indestructible
 
Personally, I don’t think any SF: IV review is complete without giving note to the theme song “Indestructible” which is one of the most enjoyably absurd songs since Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”. Cheese whiz 80s blend with late ‘90s boy band brilliance to deliver a video game musical classic.
 
Overall
 
SF: IV loses points for providing an extremely daunting learning curve, a minimal manual, a sub-par online matchmaking system and the considerable expense of a controller upgrade (for the serious minded player). Despite these setbacks Street Fighter: IV is a stupendous achievement. Spectacularly retro stylings combined with satisfying and highly addictive gameplay provide a refreshingly old school experience in a totally new millennium package. This is the Street Fighter to rule them all. SF: IV is a must have for video game enthusiasts of all kinds.
 
 
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
hanso 3/6/2009 4:30:36 AM

Street Fighter 4 is awesome and the best street fighter since Street Fighter 2.  I love it.

I have absolutely no problem whatsoever playing SF4 with my Xbox controller.  I don't use the Dpad though, I use the analog stick which is similar to pulling off moves using a joystick.  So I wouldn't shell out any extra cash for a fighting stick unless you are a hardcore fighting game type of guy.

I don't really use the quick match so I can't comment on that.  I usually set up my own or search for specific matches because Im only doing 1 round fights for the time being.  Trying to get the 500 online battles achievement and 1 round fights is the quickest way.

Here's my free advice for anyone looking to get achievements.  Set your arcade mode to 1 round fights, that way you can unlock all characters quicker.

Also, Use Zangief on the hardest difficulty and for the Challege MOdes.  Here's what you do:  Just press Light Punch, Medium Punch and Hard Punch at the same time to perform Zangief's Lariat attack.  I guarantee you, you will not lose and get tons of achievements rather quickly, you will only have to worry about Cammy cause she goes after your legs.

scytheofluna 3/6/2009 7:48:11 AM

Analog movement really only works well with certain characters.  I use Chun Li, Ken, Ryu and Crimson Viper most frequently, and while you can pull of certain moves with the D-pad or analog stick, it's not nearly as reliable at a moments notice as it should be.  I love the game, but when it comes to 2D fighters I'm all about the D-pad, and that's pretty much the only thing about the 360 controller that isn't perfect.  For once I should have gotten this one on the PS3.  Between this, Halo Wars, Killzone 2 and Resident Evil 5 next week, I'm pretty much tapped out at this point.  Maybe by April I'll be able to afford another controller or stick.  Oh wait, the new Riddick game comes out in April.  Sigh....

JoshGordon 3/6/2009 1:18:30 PM

Thanks for the Zangief tip Hanso! I'll definitely have to check that out.

Hey Scyth, let me know what controller you plan on picking up!

I've been researching them. I've talked to a couple of very hard core SF and fighting game players that say the Mad Catz SF:IV Tournament Edition stick is pretty great. It comes with Sanwa buttons if I'm not mistaken.

Hori's pro fighting stick is also supposed to be excellent but in my dreams I see the Arcade-In-A-Box stick (http://www.arcadeinabox.com) in reality though I'll probably get the Mad Catz Fight Pad because it's the only one I can really afford!

hanso 3/6/2009 2:25:50 PM

Hey Scyth what's your Xbox tag homie?

I would ask Josh but he got PS3 and I ain't using my PS3 that much lately.

JoshGordon 3/6/2009 11:11:23 PM

Hanso, I'm pure 100% Xbox, gamertag Pink Tiger Jet

I did do that "year of the PS3" article awhile back but that was because I thought Sony had the potential to gain a lot of ground, which they haven't.  But my system of choice is the 360 :)

 

pavan3202 11/8/2009 10:11:45 PM

 i like this site very much here more information and more contant   here is another site yopu can find some other information about  this game  www.gamingpunch.com/street-fighter-iv

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