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Brendan
05 Mar, 2009

Street Fighter IV Review

360 Review | The World Warrior returns.
Street Fighter IV, then. Being that it’s the first entirely new Street Fighter game in what seems like forever, it carries a rather unfair amount of expectation on its shoulders. Beat ‘em ups have somewhat faded since the glory days of the early-to-mid 90s – 2D fighters especially becoming hard to come by. With the release of Street Fighter IV, developers Capcom and Dimps hope to bring the fighting game back to prominence, as well as invoke a wave of nostalgia amongst gaming fans – and the results are glorious.

If you’ve ever played a Street Fighter game before, you’ll feel right at home from the second you hit the character select screen. All twelve characters from Street Fighter II are available to select from the get go, as well four new characters and nine more which can be unlocked – including old favourites, new bosses and some other surprises which we won’t reveal here. Quite a comprehensive roster, then. All the old favourites handle like they used to, albeit with a few new moves and some other balancing tweaks here and there. It would be foolish to discount the new challengers in favour of old favourites - each new character feels truly unique, helping round out the roster and give hardened pros a fresh challenge. Abel is a MMA specialist. Rufus bears more than a passing resemblance to Kung Fu Panda. Crimson Viper has some sort of special suit that allows her to perform a host of quick, sweeping attacks. Then there’s the insane El Fuerte, a luchador-slash-chef. Overall, the roster is superbly balanced, with the exceptions of Sagat and Akuma, who pack a little bit too much punch.

Ooph.

Ooph.
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SFIV plays as fantastically as it always has, feeling a lot like the later Street Fighter II games. The tried and true light-medium-heavy punch/kick system and 2D gameplay has been retained and meticulously refined to the nth degree. Controls are super-responsive, allowing for quick combinations to be strung together – if the player is good enough. Super combos, dashes, move cancellations and EX attacks are all present and accounted for – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any new features to explore.

The Ultra combo is the most notable new addition. In the bottom corners of the screen, each player gets their own little green ‘Revenge’ bar. As the player takes damage, this will increase, eventually allowing the player to unleash an Ultra combo when it fills up. Generally speaking, these are match-winning manoeuvres – like Super combos, but even more brutal. They also look outstanding, with the camera panning around the action to get a close look at the damage.

The other major addition are Focus attacks, which replace the parry system – tapping forward at the exact moment of an attack’s impact to avoid damage – seen in Street Fighter III. By holding down the medium punch and kick buttons, players can ‘absorb’ an enemy’s attack, before countering it with one of their own. The amount of power this attack will have depends on how long the punch/kick buttons are held for – if they are held down for the maximum length of time, the attack will become unblockable, smashing through the victim’s defenses. As a bonus, it will also leave them vulnerable to an additional attack. The player executing the focus attack will still receive damage, but it will slowly regenerate within a few seconds, provided they don’t suffer any damage. It sounds a lot more difficult than the parry system, but it is a hell of a lot easier to pull off in the heat of battle.

Crimson Viper has a shock in store for Rufus.

Crimson Viper has a shock in store for Rufus.
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One of the strongest aspects of Street Fighter IV is how accessible and enjoyable it for all players. Rookies who have no idea what cancelling a Focus attack means won’t have any problems chaining a few special moves and flip kicks together. By contrast, hardened fighting game fans have plenty of room for experimentation, thanks to the new features and new characters creating new combo possibilities and innovative fighting styles.

If one wants to get the most out of SFIV though, a fight stick is highly recommended. It is, after all, how the game was designed to be played. However, Capcom and Dimps have recognised that not everyone who buys the game is going to be terribly interested in throwing at least AUD $100 at a stick, having loosened up the controls so that the game is still surprisingly playable even on stock control pads. Our wallets would like to politely applaud this move.

Poor Guile is forced to give up his lunch money.

Poor Guile is forced to give up his lunch money.
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SFIV features a few extra modes than one would expect. Of course, there’s the obligatory Arcade mode, where players have to pick a character, watch a ridiculous anime cut scene, fight a bunch of people, including that character’s ‘rival’ (nobody likes Ryu, apparently) and boss Seth, before watching another ridiculous anime cut scene at the end. Delightful. It has to be said that the cut scenes are absolutely terrible. Not only is the animation utterly mediocre, they are also very, very brief, leaving almost every character’s storyline almost entirely to the imagination. We aren’t sure why they bothered, to be honest. The difficulty of the Arcade mode seems to have been slightly toned down from previous games, which is undoubtedly fantastic news to the battlers who struggled immensely against the often infuriating Gill in Street Fighter III.

Veterans are still catered for too, largely through the game’s online functionality. As you would expect, there are ranked and unranked modes, allowing players to duke it out for an increased battle score, or just for fun. Actually finding a match can be difficult – trying to join a quick match often just doesn’t work, but created games will always attract another player within seconds. Thankfully, the netcode is surprisingly robust, with even weaker connections not suffering too much lag. An online Tournament option would have been nice, but doesn’t make an appearance here. In a nice touch, players attempting to play through the Arcade mode can be challenged by other players online – just like the arcades.

Back offline, there are a few other modes available. There’s a Training mode, which works exactly as advertised. More interestingly, there’s the challenge mode. It’s broken up into three different areas – Time Attack, Survival, and Trial. Time Attack requires beating a certain number of opponents before time runs out, while Survival sees the player only receiving a certain amount of health after each battle. Trial acts as an extended training mode, asking players to perform an increasingly difficult number of special moves and combinations, specific to each player. It isn’t as comprehensive as it could be – some of the combos are quite tricky, and a video of the computer completing them prior to the player’s attempt could have been useful – meaning rookie players will still struggle to come to grips with the more intricate combo possibilities in the game.

We don't envy Dhalsim's crotch here.

We don't envy Dhalsim's crotch here.
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Much was made of SFIV’s visual style – ultra-pretty 3D graphics, despite the fact the game is still a 2D fighter. It has to be said that the characters look outstanding, full of polygonal steroids and some silky-smooth animation. Special moves and Ultra combos are also very attractive, and help give the character’s unique personalities – even if the new Ultra combo bar does make the screen feel somewhat cluttered. The fighting stages are also impressive, with many of them being authentic 3D reproductions of games seen earlier in the series. However, whether they are ‘better’ than the 2D graphics seen in other Street Fighter games depends almost entirely on personal preference.

Street Fighter IV is a spectacular return from one of the biggest names in gaming. The new flashy 3D graphics will divide opinion, but it is incredibly hard to argue against the tight, fast, compellingly deep gameplay. New fight fans will find plenty of opportunity to test their abilities in the Arcade and Challenge modes, while hardened fighters will encounter plenty of tough opposition online. Welcome back, Street Fighter – we missed you.
The Score
Street Fighter IV combines accessibility, nostalgia, depth and sheer technical prowess to deliver one of the best games we will see in 2009. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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25 Comments
5 years ago
damn awesome game although i have noticed that for some character fights, some sweep kicks dont connect and there is know sound to say it was blocked, it just goes straight through which is a bit annoying. usually happens when playing against blanka, zangif, balrog and e honda. it just seems a bit lame that there is no reaction to it.
5 years ago
I'm getting this very soon, can't wait
5 years ago
Me wantee SF4.
5 years ago
On the whole, I agree with that review.

I really, really like this iteration of Street Fighter. I can definately see its roots in Street Fighter EX plus alpha, which I loved, especially as this one also incorporates the move challenge mode. Also agree that this would benefit greatly from a move preview in challenge mode.

I was pleasently surprised that that 360 dpad was nowhere near as bad as I feared. That said I think I need to jury-rigg up a new arcade stick.

Sagat is definately imbalanced.

Digg the new looks for the fighters but boo to Capcom for making you pay to unlock costumes that are actually already in the core game.
5 years ago
You guys also might want to check out the Eventhubs Street Fighter 4 strategy guide, its got a lot of tips in there to improve your game.
5 years ago
The only thing I disagree with the review is the comment on the backgrounds, the environments are fine but the actual charecters in the background look bizzare due to them being done in a completly differnt style to the fighters.
5 years ago
I dont know - I really like this game but I cannot get anywhere except on Easiest Difficulty - still I get my butt kicked by Seth everytime ...
5 years ago
Oh man, I was really liking the SF4 anime trailer. I was hoping for some mega anime/game.
5 years ago
shiraj wrote
I dont know - I really like this game but I cannot get anywhere except on Easiest Difficulty - still I get my butt kicked by Seth everytime ...
Seth can be a challenging SOB that's for sure... sometimes even on easiest he'll go spaz and just cream ya!

I'm absolutely loving SF4 all in all...
Challenging mates and strangers... unlocking colours and titles and icons... keeps it fresh all the time...

Right now off to unlock Gouken...
5 years ago
I like the fact that Capcom made it easy to unlock all the characters (though you will still end up playing it heaps to get there) but turn the difficulty up to harder than Medium with the normal best of 3 rounds setting and I agree with shiraj, Seth is one of the cheapest end bosses since.. well.. Gill!!

On easy setting though, he's a pushover, just turtle and leg sweep ahoy!

And if you leave the 'challenge anytime' option on with arcade I found I was getting challenged every 2 seconds!! Anyone else finding this?
5 years ago
Pdaddy = Turtle....
5 years ago
turtling is a legitimate strategy.

L2deal.
5 years ago
Anything thats possible to do in the game is a legitimate stratagey.

If someones turtling just throw hadoukens at them for the chip damage from the other side of the screen.
5 years ago
my math is failing,
Pdaddy + ObsoletE = Turtle's
icon_smile.gif
5 years ago
i don't even have the game (nor do i want it), but i fail to see why it's an issue.
it's a legitimate strategy, but really, not one that's all that effective against a good player. (true of pretty much any beat'em up - or really any competitive game.)

it's very rare for a game to make turtling the dominant strategy for all occasions, so do what Benza suggests, or just turtle right back.
and L2Play.
5 years ago
AlphaDark wrote
my math is failing,
Pdaddy + ObsoletE = Turtle's
icon_smile.gif
Haha, if you have problems taking on people who turtle, then you really need to L2play icon_lol.gif

It's like those people in UT who complain shock comboing is overpowered. If you can aim that well and do it effectively, then do it.
5 years ago
pdaddy wrote
And if you leave the 'challenge anytime' option on with arcade I found I was getting challenged every 2 seconds!! Anyone else finding this?
Oh yeah...
It's a great feature, but I didn't realise in the beginning you'd be getting challenged every coupla seconds... most of the time you're just starting the intro screens and someone will be on top of ya...

Have it turned off most of the time now...
If I'm looking to fight other peeps, I'll create lobbys or challenge them...

One thing I've noticed though is that people who challenge you seem not to care at all what kinda ping you might have with them... anyone and everyone will just take you on!
5 years ago
Awesome game, the only gripe is those who disconnect themselves just before they loose. Wish they would get penalized for that.
5 years ago
RooRage wrote
pdaddy wrote
And if you leave the 'challenge anytime' option on with arcade I found I was getting challenged every 2 seconds!! Anyone else finding this?
Oh yeah...
It's a great feature, but I didn't realise in the beginning you'd be getting challenged every coupla seconds... most of the time you're just starting the intro screens and someone will be on top of ya...

Have it turned off most of the time now...
If I'm looking to fight other peeps, I'll create lobbys or challenge them...

One thing I've noticed though is that people who challenge you seem not to care at all what kinda ping you might have with them... anyone and everyone will just take you on!
When I want to fight other peeps I turn it on, it's quicker then going through the multiplayer option and if you do get a bit were you get no one you've got a pc to fight.
5 years ago
Gah whens that supposed tournament patch coming for multiplayer lobbies.....

I'm sick of fighting yanks/mexicans with crap connections.

WTF cant console devs have a region option, it shiz me to hell.

Yeh i know i can press X but for how long....... 5 _10 mins?!?!.

Garbage..

Maybe that patch is out but i haven't read anything about it.
5 years ago
Zarnoss wrote
Gah whens that supposed tournament patch coming for multiplayer lobbies.....
If you're talking about the Championship mode, the development team started work on the PC version of SF4 and the new mode once the console versions were done.

We're looking at any time from here to the PC release D:
5 years ago
Of course apart from the opponenet disconnecting before the fight ends you sometimes have the retard send you a message saying "that was cheap won", "I could've beaten you" etc etc (obviously I've refrain from inserting the obligatory swear words there).

I pretty much ignore it all, I rather spend me time moving on and playing the next match than waste time responding to that.
5 years ago
^^ Haven't had anyone whinge like that yet...

I felt cheap the other day when I was getting smashed by a guy using Chun Li but managed to snatch him with an Ultra Raging Demon...

But I guess I managed to pull it off and he decided not to get out of the way, so fair's fair...
icon_wink.gif
5 years ago
The only message I got was being cheered on for being a Dan user. Warms the heart I tell ya.
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  19/2/2009 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $119.95 AU
Publisher:
  THQ
Genre:
  Fighting
Year Made:
  2008

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