Parting Thoughts on Street Fighter IV
Last week, we posted a quick entry on Capcom’s Street Fighter IV for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. An update was promised, so here it is.
Wow. Well, at least, mostly wow. We think back to years ago when 3-D modelers first began to construct amazingly complex three-dimensional versions of the Street Fighter characters, merely to show that they could do so; dreams were shattered when Capcom and Arika’s Street Fighter EX series debuted with far less detailed, unimpressively animated versions of Ryu, Ken, and the gang. It was a suggestion that Capcom either didn’t know how to bring its 2-D characters to life, or didn’t care about doing so properly.
Street Fighter IV proves that the company now both knows how, and cares about doing this seemingly small but critical thing the right way. With the exception of a couple of characters—the now meaty, big-handed Chun Li and the awkwardly angular Fei Long—Capcom’s character models seem like believable if cartoony versions of humans, and some go beyond that. Ryu, Cammy, and Zangief look phenomenal, Dhalsim, end boss Seth, and former end boss M. Bison are all far better in 3-D than one might ever have imagined after seeing Street Fighter EX, and new characters blend all but seamlessly into the familiar crew. To underscore one point there, the Cammy model is quite possibly the best in the entire game, with equally amazing animation; her inclusion is greatly appreciated. Similarly, when the backgrounds are great, they’re truly amazing: a recreation of Chun Li’s street scene is now more conspicuously set in Shanghai, and Blanka’s Brazilian jungle scene is shackless, but both offer animations and other little details that can’t help but blow the minds of people who last saw these levels as flat.
We’d argue that the only things missing from this game are obvious: 3-D versions of the rest of the backgrounds, and proper remixes of more of the old music. While completely redoing the prior Street Fighter II in 3-D mightn’t seem original, the truth of the matter is that virtually all of the settings dreamt up by Capcom’s prior crew were so classic and smart that very little since then has compared with them in memorability: Dhalsim’s Indian elephant palace, Ryu’s Japanese rooftops, Sagat’s reclining buddha in Thailand—these are the types of backdrops for fights that can’t be forgotten once seen. Somehow, seeing Ryu take on opponents under an overpass, Dhalsim fight in a brewery, and Sagat in a dim temple just doesn’t compare; even when these backgrounds are nicely detailed and animated, the visual focal points just aren’t that impressive. We’re guessing that Capcom will add more backgrounds around the same time as it splices Dee Jay and T. Hawk back into the game, along with a few more Street Fighter Alpha characters; how exactly Rose, Dan, and Gen wound up in here is beyond us. But Gen turns out to be a worthwhile addition, anyway.
From a gameplay standpoint, we wouldn’t fault any but one of Capcom’s decisions here. Between their old moves and their new Ultra Combos, which make more dramatic use of the 3-D graphics engine than in any other game we’ve played—including Virtua Fighter 4—the characters are almost all a joy to play, a combination of furious action, some strategy, and some practice doing unfamiliar combinations of joystick motions and button presses. They perform quite ably even with the stock PlayStation 3 controller (sorry, Xbox players), and the concept of unlocking additional characters by beating the game with various rivals is a sound one, if a bit too tedious thanks to Seth’s unbearably cheap attacks. Online multiplayer is included, but only for those on the same platform; we only wish more friends actually owned the Sony machines we’re using (sorry, PlayStation players).
The gulf between the gaming experience that Street Fighter IV provides and what we are accustomed to playing on the iPhone and iPod touch these days is too huge to fully explain. People who have played even the original Street Fighter, let alone II or any of the other sequels, know already that these titles are impossible on Apple’s devices until a proper controller is released. Should such a thing ever emerge, we certainly hope that Capcom is ready with all its past games, as well as a stripped-down version of this one. We’d like nothing better than to have an excuse to play Street Fighter on the go.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple releases fifth beta for tvOS 10.1 to developers
- Apple to start publishing its AI research
- Supreme Court rules against Apple in design patent case
- Study finds half of kids headphones exceed safe volume limits
- More iPhone 6s devices affected by shutdown bug; iOS update coming
- Apple releases sixth beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Developers pushing back against abusers of Apple’s App Store refund policy
- Apple lobbies for shared data, more public road access to test autonomous driving systems
- Apple Store app update allows purchases from Apple Watch
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Scosche BoomBottle H2O+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10