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A Return to Grace- Street Fighter IV Reviewed

Street Fighter IV for the PS3 and 360. Developed DIMPS/Capcom, by Published by Capcom

Over the years, we’ve witnessed many of the favorite classic games remade with less than spectacular results. Shifting our favorite 2D sprites into the third dimension has produced uninspired and often frustrating entries into the Shinobi, Sonic, Castlevania, and Mega Man franchises. When we heard that Street Fighter II, was going to be given a retrofitted polygon engine, while still maintaining the nuances of the beloved game, we were concerned. Recreating the intricate collision system, hit boxes, and animation system had been tried before in Street Fighter EX3 with decidedly mixed results.

After a few days with Street Fighter IV for the Xbox 360 and PS3, our worries were unwarranted; although polygonal, the game has clearly remained in the 2D realm. Capcom’s fighting masterpiece  has been lovingly recreated, and displays a level of graphical polish reserved for a handful of triple-A titles. Simply put, we doubt the game will be trumped mechanically or graphically by another brawler this year- unless the developers are clandestinely working on a Marvel vs. Capcom remake.

Those that are intimidated about jumping aboard a twenty-year old franchise should not fear- this iteration has been adoringly tweaked to welcome newcomers. Special move timings have been relaxed, and with the exception of fighting final boss Seth on higher difficulty settings, the game’s AI rarely frustrates. With an ultra meter that increases as the player receives damage, a tide turning move for a rookie is nearly always possible.

Graphically, Street Fighter IV is consistently impressive, from its brush-stroked character portraits, intricate background animations, and extraordinary facial animation. Street Fighter II farcically expressed the pugnacious pain of competition through hand drawn animation frames of gaping mouths, bulging eyes, and twisted jaws. Facial expression is a complex process in polygonal models, and frequently the results look wooden or clumsy. Every aggrieved visage in SF IV is rendered flawlessly, conveying the sting of a connecting blow.

Street Fighter aficionados will want to know which platform offers the preferred experience; in short, both the 360 and PS3 version differ only slightly. The PS3 shows a rare framerate drop, a bit less anti-aliasing, and without the optional hard drive install, slightly longer load times. However, we found the PS3’s direction pad much more precise that the digital input on the 360 controller. The 360 version’s load times were speedy; installing the title onto the hard drive offered little additional improvement.

Our issues with the game are largely minimal, and seem easily fixable via a patch. First, the quick match option isn’t exactly swift, taking up to thirty seconds to create the necessary handshaking between online players. Capcom’s last revision of Street Fighter- Turbo HD Remix, integrated a ‘quarter match mode’ than simulated arcade competition. Unfortunately, no such option exists in SF IV. Secondly, the cost for alternative costume is excessively prohibitive. At four dollars for five costumes, completionists will end out shelling out $20 for all five costume packs.

Overall, Street Fighter IV represents one the rare instances where a remake is devotedly faithful to the original game, yet still represents a large leap forward in technical execution. Street Fighter veterans will instantly connect with the game, pulling off spinning bird kicks as if the franchise never took an extended hiatus. New players will appreciate the adjustments designed to level the playing field for all participants. In short, Street Fighter IV is the rebirth that the series needed- welcome back, brawlers.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

39 comments

  1. Just reviewing this NOW??? You are usually on schedule, people.

  2. Maybe they were playing it too much and couldn’t stop, or to go with the SF movie.

  3. I still cant find this anywhere. Most stores are selling out just as they get it in.

  4. Played this with friends the other night too much. When I turned on my 360 it red ringed today.

  5. Everyone is saying the two versions are equal. Hmmm, thanks for the info.

  6. Glad you mentioned how much Seth sucks. Cheap ass bosses are lame.

  7. Too much Dan in the pics. Needs more Blanka!

  8. Best fighting game EVER!

    I love this. I play it at least an hour a day since it came out.

  9. Guile, dude. Blanka is u-g-l-y, and I bet his breath can kill a rat.

  10. My favorite game of all time just got even better. Hell yes!

  11. Good review, I still haven’t picked it up yet. I mean to soon.

  12. I don’t know about the slowdown mentioned here. I played the PS3 version for hours and never saw any…

  13. I really like the way the character jump of the screen, and even get in front of the health bars.

  14. For some reason I think this should be $50 or so. Paying $60 for this seems like a bit much.

  15. Can someone tell me how to unlock the characters, please???

  16. Great looking screenshots. That first one is amazing.

  17. Need more Nightstalkers.

  18. Here you go:

    1. Akuma: After unlocking Sakura Kasugano, Dan Hibiki, Cammy White, Fei Long, Gen, and Rose. First finish the arcade mode (on any difficulty) with any character, in this case use that same character for this second or later playthrough. Then fight Akuma on arcade mode, to do that get: at least 1 perfect round on 1-round matches (or 2 perfects on 3-round matches / 3 perfects on 5-round matches / 4 perfects on 7-round matches) including the last battle against Seth. No ultra combo finishes needed. But you can’t lose any matches/rounds nor use a continue when you die. Beating Akuma will unlock him.

    2. Cammy White: Finish the arcade mode with Crimson Viper. That will unlock her.

    3. Dan Hibiki: Finish the arcade mode with Sakura Kasugano. That will unlock him.

    4. Fei Long: Finish the arcade mode with Abel. That will unlock him.

    5. Gen: Finish the arcade mode with Chun-Li. That will unlock him.

    6. Gouken: After unlocking Akuma, Sakura Kasugano, Dan Hibiki, Cammy White, Fei Long, Gen, and Rose. First finish the arcade mode (on any difficulty) with Akuma, and watch (not necessary to watch everything) an ending. In this case to play also use a character you already finished arcade mode with, and with which you watched the ending once, for his/her second or later playthrough. Then fight Gouken on arcade mode, to do that get: at least 1 perfect round on 1-round matches (or 2 perfects on 3-round matches / 3 perfects on 5-round matches / 4 perfects on 7-round matches), plus at least 3 Super Combo or Ultra Combo Finishes on 1-round matches (or 5 super/ultra finishes on 3-round matches / 7 super/ultra finishes on 5-round matches / 9 super/ultra finishes on 7-round matches), and at least 5 First Attacks — meaning you must score the first strike in a match — in 1 match (or 10 first attacks in 3-round matches / 15 first attacks in 5-round matches / 20 first attacks in 7-round matches). But you can’t lose any matches/rounds nor use a continue when you die. Beating Gouken will unlock him.

    7. Rose: Finish the arcade mode with M. Bison. That will unlock her.

    8. Sakura Kasugano: Finish the arcade mode with Ryu. That will unlock her.

    9. Seth: Finish the arcade mode with all 24 other characters. That will unlock him.

    A useful tip at the start of the game: With every (starter) character you use to beat the game, another one gets unlocked.

  19. There’s also unlocks for Home:

    (PS3 Version Only)

    0
    Dan’s “Saikyo” T-Shirt
    Win 10 Online Matches and get the Bronze “The Journey Begins” Trophy.

    0
    Akuma’s “Ten” T-Shirt
    Play 100 Online Matches and get the Bronze “The Road to Battle” Trophy.

    0
    “Shadoloo” T-Shirt
    Defeat Gouken by clearing Arcade Mode, in the Hardest Difficulty without continuing, and get the Silver “Legendary Champion” Trophy.

  20. Have a 43-2 online record currently. Beat that suckers.

  21. $20 for all the costumes? That’s crazy!

  22. What was the last version of SF with the big characters?

  23. Impressive. I’m 14-6

  24. I play for at least 5 hours a day, man.

  25. Thanks for the unlock details.

  26. 122-13. Eat it!

    Any reviews on SF pads and sticks coming?

  27. Any easier way to unlock Gouken?

  28. Think they will have SF IV Turbo edition?

  29. Yeah, I need some review of other control sticks or the pads. The xbox controller sucks for fighting games.

  30. i think we’ll be seeing a hell of a lot more Street Fighter based on the success of this.

  31. I ordered this for $42.99 shipped today. I wish I didn’t have to wait 5-7 days to play it.

  32. Yes, it is. $5-$10 seems fair.

  33. I think you mean the Alpha series.

  34. I’m sure they will have multiple sequels.

    I would love to see a versus series again.

  35. How can I challange the T-G crew? I want to school you.

  36. So is anyone disappointed at how they nerfed Chun Li.

  37. We got this a bit late, and I’ve been reviewing Killzone 2, Prinny and X-Blades. Sorry.

  38. Needs more Cammy/Chun Li fighting or lip-locking action.

  39. What else has DIMPS made?