Streetfighter 4 - review

In the early 90s, Street Fighter 2 was nothing less than a phenomenon.

The game, pitting two people against each other with the sole aim to smack your opponent silly, single-handedly re-invigorated the dying arcade scene, and made popular the genre of fighting games.

Many revisions of the game followed, as well as numerous sequels and spin-offs.

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Other fighting game series arose to try and share in the success, some also establishing solid footholds in the market with a range of different gameplay styles.

Sadly, as time wore on and arcades began to die out once again due to the advent of newer and more powerful consoles, as well as online play, so too did fighting games, to an extent.

The genre has always had a hardcore following regardless, but developers Capcom are hoping to appeal to the broader crowd once again with the release of Street Fighter 4.

The first numbered Street Fighter sequel in a decade, Street Fighter 4 attempts to appeal to peoples nostalgia by harking back to the glory days of SF2. SF3, whilst being a very good game, and especially well-received amongst the hardcore fans, was too complex for most gamers.

Extreme emphasis was put on split-second timing with the parry system, and the game required a huge amount of time to learn how to play competently. By taking the core gameplay back to the simpler days of SF2, whilst retaining a few elements from SF3, Capcom appear to have a found a sweet spot, allowing newcomers to pick up the game without much difficulty, whilst keeping the depth that hardcore players require.

The basic Street Fighter gameplay is the same as ever. Players battle it out on a two-dimensional plane, moving left and right, as well as jumping, ducking, and blocking.

Six buttons control basic attacks, with light, medium and heavy versions of punch mapped to three, and the same with kicks on the others. Individual special moves can be performed with combinations of directional inputs and button presses, and a powerful super move the same way, once the super gauge is full.

Capcom have added a few new features to try and define the game. First is the Ultra Combo, an attack even stronger than the Super that uses its own gauge. This fills up as your character is attacked, which allows it to be used as a revenge tactic, always giving the player a fighting chance as it does more damage the less health you have.

The second new move is the Focus Attack. By holding down medium punch and medium kick at the same time, your character will begin charging the attack. Whilst charging, you can absorb one hit, and immediately counter-attack, making this move a kind of replacement of the parry system of SF3.

This new attack is far easier to pull off however; ensuring new players do not have a seemingly-insurmountable mountain to climb before they can play well.

The roster of characters consists mainly of old favourites, with the whole cast of SF2 returning, along with some from the Street Fighter Alpha series, and four newcomers. Most of the cast are unique enough, with plenty of different play styles between them all granting the player lots of choice.

The game has a variety of single-player modes, such as the basic arcade mode, where you battle through a few computer-controlled opponents, time attack and survival modes, and the useful trial mode. This mode teaches you various combo attacks and high-level techniques that are priceless when learning the ins and outs of a specific character.

The single player is enough to keep a player entertained for a long while, but fighting games have always been at their best when played against others.

On the multiplayer side of things, SF4 has a basic versus mode for local play, and online support for battling those across the world. This online mode can be a little tenuous at times, occasionally refusing to connect to any games or lagging enough to disrupt a match. However, on the most part, it works fine, with plenty of lag-free fun to be had fighting others over the internet.

With the same basic stellar gameplay that Street Fighter is known for, Street Fighter 4 is fantastic fun to play, whether you are new to the series, or an old-school veteran. Add in beautiful graphics, and you have a truly great game that will still be entertaining in many years to come.




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