I first played Street Fighter at the arcades for 50p a shot and it didn't last very long ^^;
Then I went onto playing the first game on the Famicom followed by SFII Turbo on the SNES at a friend's place. Great that I can play online for as much as I want now with Street Fighter IV.
If anyone's up for a match, drop me a message, my tag is "Xcompu" (someone took my handle name already). I usually pop on in the evenings British Summer Time (BST).
SFIV has all the common characteristics of beat-em-up games - You can pull off combos and press a sequence of buttons to perform special moves. Perhaps what makes this different are the Revenge and Ex Gauges which when filled up, allows you to pull off more powerful attacks on your opponent or use "Hyper Armour" to absorb attacks.
Apart from the obvious visual changes, the game still plays very much like the Street Fighter was used to on the older consoles. Perhaps what may be irritating is that not all characters are available at the start. You have to beat Arcade mode with certain characters to unlock the blanked out ones. Fortunately, you can turn it down to the easiest setting and choose single match wins to help speed things up whereas in the earlier games, you would have to have finished the game on normal.
If Arcade Mode isn't of interest, there are also a few other fairly standard modes that crop up in today's fighter games, namely survival and time attack modes.
Playing on medium, the AI was fair enough of a challenge with a handful of characters posing a little difficulty such as Abel who can't stop throwing you around! However, once you work out their attack patterns, you fairly much know how to counter them the next time including the new boss Seto.
But the feature of most interest will probably be being challenged by other human players as you play Arcade Mode and it doesn't take long to find an opponent. There's a variety of waiting options you can set such as someone of similar skill or prioritise steady network connections.
Personally, I think they should have give players an option to just wait in training mode too similar to what Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. does because new opponents are found so fast, you hardly have the time to progress in the single player mode anyway!
The online battles are also divided into non-ranking and ranked battles which help move you up the leader board. If you happen to come out "Champion" and are in the top 5000, you can upload your replay for others to see.
SFIV has been out for the Xbox360 and PS3 for some time now but on the PC, you'll find three new additional filters that add to the visuals namely - ink, posterisation and water colour. If you want to see how well the game performs on your PC, you can try out the free benchmark. Personally, I can't see much difference cranking up the settings beyond 4x anti-alias (for smoothing edges) and 2x texture filtering (for sharper textures). You will also want to turn it down when playing online to avoid the lag.
Visuals are very smooth and backgrounds are lively. You can't smash your opponent into objects any more but you do see objects in the background reacting when you land some nasty hits such as slamming your opponent into the ground.
It also seems Capcom has decided to go along with some more comical expressions because the characters' eyes often bulge and leave their tongue sticking out dramatically when they're hit. I prefer the older style because there was a sense of coolness about it that wasn't over-done. Not to mention you have to watch these long animations when Super or Ultra Combos are performed. If only if there was an option to skip it but then again if you're playing online, both sides will have to have it disabled to have a fair match. They look great the first few times but gets old quick.
Both the artwork shown at the versus announcement screen and opening animation looks great with the creative splashes of ink but, I can't say the same about the style used in the pre-rendered 2D cutscenes. They look a little too plain for my tastes and I would have preferred the style used in the first animated movie.
Those of you who do enjoy the artwork however, should be happy to know there's a gallery to unlock full of concept artwork and the option to re-watch all the movies.
Remix music by Hideyuki Fukasawa sounds great but my favourite tracks remain Ryu, Guile and Ken's - Particularly the drums in Ryu's theme. Sound effects are excellent - Especially if you have a 2.1 speaker setup at least. There are plenty of sounds to make that subwoofer rumble such as at the announcement screen just before the match, the punches and if you've got a decent frequency response range too, there's the almost ear piercing whistling sound when someone is KOed or moves are countered in a match. It almost feels like the arcades but without all the other machines competing for attention.
For those wary of dubs, there are options to switch between the English and Japanese voices - And set them for each individual characters even. I found that both selection of voices had mixed effects. Some character's Japanese voices seemed to match the characters well while at other times, the English voices were better.
Street Fighter IV keeps the fighting style but the comicy animation and visuals may not be everyone's taste. However, the excellent online mode where opponents are found almost immediately one after the other is great fun to play on. If you don't already own the game and have a fairly recent PC and control pad then, there's no reason why you shouldn't go for it when it's almost half the price of the console version.
Time Played 18 hours
- Plays like the original.
- Can play ranked online matches.
- Large number of people playing online - Don't have to wait.
- Number of other modes to play through.
- Can play back cutscenes that have been viewed at leisure.
- Brilliant remixed soundtrack, sound effects with surround sound support.
- Characters have to be unlocked before playable.
- Can't skip Ultra and Super combo animations.
- No more smashing objects on stage?
- A lot of people online relying on Akuma and Gouken's combos.
- Why can't one wait for matches in the training room or a chat lobby instead?