Saturday, August 15, 2009

Street Fighter IV Review

Sorry for the long wait, just recently I found a Blockbuster (or anywhere nearby that had a copy available) Without further ado, here is my take on SFIV.

Street Fighter IV Review
Publisher – Capcom
Release – 2009

=Fighters History=
In the late 80's there was a small amount of fighting games. Some with a shallow, yet simple design, others were based on some movie. But a certain title gave players a choice of playing either Ryu (white gi) & Ken (red gi). One was power, and the other was speed; depending how well you fared; there were some chances to take on a bonus mini-game. (a set of bricks lay before you, so pound those buttons to clear the challenge!) One thing can be said, the original game was really tough. Even taking on several bouts, they kept getting more tougher, Afterward, there were several copycats not far behind.

In all honesty it was Street Fighter that really got the fireball rolling. Some years later, another entry gave the series a comeback, Street Fighter II. Hosting several new characters and an insane final boss. Another new feature was the combo system, a much more elaborate control scheme that would stick to the series completely. Included with the new cast of fighters, was the approach of the event being set as a world tournament. After much critical praise, there was later various updates to II's in-game engine, from more characters in “New Challengers”, to a brutal finale with “Turbo”.

During the growing evolution of videogames, Capcom took a chance with taking SF into 3D. Sadly the results were okay at best. However the EX series didn't carry the same following as its 2D incarnations gladly received. Alongside the mindset of fans, Capcom made a great comeback with the Alpha (Zero) series. An alternate retelling of the original two chapters in the SF legacy. Plus bringing back the classic gameplay, and some new mechanics. *X – meaning one super combo, A – Alpha giving more options, including a 3 Super move limit, and super canceling blocking, V – Variety a mash-up of the the 2 options but giving more power to combo usage, including special attacks. (these gameplay options evolved throughout all 3 chapters in the Alpha series).

After the Alpha series, came SF3; a long awaited part of the saga. Taking place many years later after II's events. 3 went back to basics with the gameplay design,, a 1-3 tiered super bar, guard meter; and the inclusion of EX moves. (+ these EX moves are in fact supers used by usage of 2 or more attack buttons, making a special move more powerful) And the ability of parrying, which gave players a second to super cancel a move, and knock back their opponent. However the biggest change in 3's design was the less amount of familiar faces, only a few from the remaining cast returned. But in the final update of 3, Third Strike; did a popular female character return.

Nearly twelve years later did fans find out that their favorite series would make a comeback.. However they would have to wait throughout the so called “nextgen” phase to see its triumphant reunion.

“Welcome to the next stage!”
Throughout 2008, there were many campaigns advertising the new in-game engine. From rumored character designs, to an empty chinese street only to be followed by two familiar characters duking it out. Followed by various trailers, from Ryu & Ken fighting in an open ended field; to Chun Li & newcomer Crimson Viper fighting in a festival of dragons. During that years E3, did we truly see an awesome trailer that knocked our socks off. Akin to the earlier promo trailers, it boasted a watercolor style similar to an earlier Capcom title named “Okami”. Overall the wait was finally over...

“Let's Get Crazy!”
Within this new chapter is fresh faces, and old friends (something SF3 should have been all along). Plus some new gamplay designs! - Combo Meter = a multi-level super meter that resembles Viewtiful Joe's EX meter. Once filled in one bar, you can use your EX attacks! If the bar is completely filled, you can use a Super Combo! *this is a powerful set attack that can pummel your opponent. But that's not all! Introducing the Ultra Combo meter, this little update is charged by your damage intake. (* more history notes, the Ultra Combo meter closely resembles SNK's Samurai Shodown series' "Rage" meter. Once its user could only take so much damage, it would be used as a powerful counter-attack.) For example, if you're being pummeled, this new meter gives your attacks another “punch!” Use this technique wisely, once its used it will have to be refilled.

Another new feature that has been added is called the “Focus Attack”. This new option gives the player a chance to break his or her opponents attacks in real-time. And if you're lucky, it may make them dizzy giving an opening to use more moves before they can regain their stamina. And for the first time ever.. the ability to freely use a variety of taunts. (more are made available once you clear certain challenges, some wacky, and others that may leave you speechless) In addition, every character has a rival with another fighter. Once your fight entry quota has been met, you'll have a bit of dialog with another person. Its an awesome new feature, sometimes containing priceless dialog; to some surprising moments.

“Not Done Yet”
Boasting a new animation style, and upgraded gameplay; SFIV still resembles the classic series. Keeping its original design, as a 2D playing field, however there are some new tweaks involved. With various fighting moves, the in-game motions actual move the screen itself, as if you're being taken along for the ride. No longer does the screen stay still, it feels like a movie is taking place; and you're the camera. In addition, the in-game animation is fast, fluid, and gorgeous. From every character design, attack, and stages throughout. There is so much going on, it may take some getting used to, but after awhile it brings back that feeling many of us had while playing in the arcades. And what could Street Fighter be without excellent tunes?! SFIV brings back the classic themes, retouched and even more energized than you can remember.

“I Got Next!”
Within the home version of IV, it boasts a mix of gameplay options. From Arcade, to VS, and a new Challenge mode – which includes Survival, Time Attack, and Training (*learn everyone's moves and some new skills while taking on the Saiikyo master!) Each of these modes includes a Normal & Hard difficulty levels. Plus the ability to take SFIV online (PS3 & 360 fans grin happily).

What more can be said, SFIV is an excellent game in the series. And a must own for longtime & new fans alike.

*Bonus notes -
+ Within SFIV is the option to choose between English or Japanese dialog for the characters.
And to be honest, the voice is top notch; way better than expected.
+ When you complete a specific characters story mode, you'll have the option to rewatch their cutscenes.
+ If you complete various tasks, artworks, and more bonus movies will become available

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