previewed on PS3
It has been a while
For those old enough to remember, the Street Fighter franchise made its debut in the arcade way back in 1987. Since then it has spawned a massive number of games and even a tacked on movie. For such an immensely popular series, it is rather odd that the last Street Fighter game was released back in 2001. A new title is long overdue but does the series stand up to the test of time?
I am not among those old enough to remember the very early days when Street Fighter hit the market. I did enjoy the games that were released on the SNES and my all-time personal favorite is still Street Fighter 2. The series ventured on from strength to strength and I am eager to see the game released a couple of months from now. We are in for possibly the greatest Street Fighter title ever.
Playing in the arcades is still a popular pastime in many Asian territories and it came as no surprise that the arcade version of Street Fighter IV was released there first. Fans have been able to ‘sample’ the game from the 18th of July. The feedback that Capcom received since then has not fallen onto deaf ears. The publisher has promised to change the console version of Street Fighter IV’s so that its gameplay is more in line to the original games. These changes mostly involve how combat is perceived by the player, altering how hits of any kind are detected by the system. The result is a game that looks fully 3D but has a 2D fighting style unmatched by any other game in the genre.
Street Fighter IV incorporates many of the characters that have been introduced to the series over the last two decades. But not every character will be familiar. Seth Killian, community manager for Street Fighter 4, revealed no less than four new characters: Abel, a French powerhouse, Crimson Viper, a deadly female with the ability to use ‘fire kicks’ and electric ground pound moves, Rufus, an obese, cocky, egomaniacal character that’s faster than he looks, and El Fuerte a Mexican wrestler.
With Street Fighter IV, players will be able to use a new kind of attack, called the ‘focus attack’. These attacks allow a player to absorb an attack, change stance and perform a powerful counter move. Similar to ‘combo breakers’ from Killer Instinct, the player holds a combination of buttons to perform the move. Holding them down for longer increases the damage of the attack and even making it unblockable if held long enough.
Focus attacks play a huge role in the available fighting styles as players are now able to cancel out special moves by their opponents. It will be imperative that you learn to read your opponent to see what they are planning to do. Fortunately Capcom is implementing all sort of ‘tells’ to help you recognize what is happening. It seems to me that Street Fighter IV will be easy to play but hard to master.
Showing your moves
Of course each character also has a set of unique moves. These can be unleashed after once a special ‘move meter’ has filled up enough. Filling it is done by dealing damage to your opponent. In addition, an ultra combo meter fills up from taking damage. This meter is known as the ‘revenge meter’ and once full it can be used to unleash a huge combo that will obliterate your foe.
Obviously technology didn’t stand still during the years that no Street Fighter game was released. The graphics have been given an ‘extreme makeover and even though it still sports the 2D fighting style, it looks and feels very much 3D. Gorgeous 2D backgrounds in the back illustrate the 2D stage, populated by exquisitely detailed 3D characters.
Besides the standard offline multiplayer -what fighting game could do without- it will also be possible to seek out combatants online. Personally I think I will mostly be using the offline mode, calling up some friends for some great online beat ‘em up action.
A classic soundtrack accompanies the game and listening to the stage music, the game took a nostalgic hold on me, remembering back to classic moments I experienced playing the SNES games.
With Street Fighter IV on its way in February 2009, fans worldwide are getting hyped up and ready for the release. It feels like forever since the last game of the series came out, and maybe it was. It has been far too long since I picked up a Street Fighter game. Get ready to pull off some Hadoukens and Shoryukens, along with a vast amount of cool new moves.