I've spent the last week digging deep into the Sony PlayStation 3 version of Capcom's new Street Fighter IV and now my glowing praise and a handful of criticism has been published over at Kombo. I had a lot to say about this game and blew passed the usual word count limit we have for reviews, but for a title with such a high profile, I think it's worth it to express everything worth saying. Here's a snippet:
Visually, Street Fighter IV is a step away from the 2D graphics of previous games in the series, but the World Warriors have never looked better in 3D than they do here. Fighters move with a fluidity never seen before in a Street Fighter game, giving the illusion that matches are not barbaric brawls, but carefully choreographed works of art. The characters almost seem alive at times based on the way they look at things that catch their attention. They even breathe, inhaling and exhaling deeply when pushing themselves to the limit. Some of the animation keyframes can be a bit goofy at times (for instance, take a sucker punch at Blanka to see for yourself), but it helps maintain the animated levity of the Street Fighter experience. The animated story sequences and kick off and finish Arcade mode are presented as 2D animation, giving a little taste of the best of both visual styles.
There's a lot to like in Street Fighter IV and a lot to do. Mastering each of the fighters and guiding them through the game's many modes will take quite a while if one wants to see and do absolutely everything, but those looking to pick up the controller for twenty minutes or so at a time will find much to enjoy here as well. Street Fighter is not a casual game by any means, but can be satisfying in little spurts in addition to hours at a time.
For as much as I like this game it's hard to imagine that, as a kid, I hated fighting games and wanted nothing to do with them. Why would I want to punch people in the face when I could collect coins or rescue princesses? Then GamePro magazine started an ongoing series on Street Fighter II that put the emphasis on the larger than life characters rather than the brutality which captured my interest, and while that did make me curious about this whole Street Fighter thing, it wasn't until a neighborhood friend convinced his grandmother to buy the Super NES version of the game for us to play that I started to understand the point of it all and actually enjoy the different layers of gameplay. Now here I am, years later, raving about Street Fighter IV with high praise and enjoyment. Who says that gamers never grow up?