Review by styx1989

"A much needed wake up call for todays "Fighting Games"."

Street Fighter is one of the most iconic fighting games in video game history. Making its debut in 1987, this series has undeniably revolutionized the way an entire genre is played. Elevating competition to levels nobody thought were possible, this series has won a place in almost every gamers heart, and isn't likely to be replaced any time soon. There have been many spin offs, and remakes of the original Street Fighter II, but only until 1997 did it receive a true sequel, Street Fighter III. Abandoning most of it's original cast for all new characters, most die hard fans were not too happy with this release and didn't acknowledge it as a 'true sequel', despite(some would argue) it's better game play mechanics. Street Fighter IV found it's first release on coin operated arcade machines in Japan, July 18, 2008. Later released on the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360 home consoles on February 17, 2009.

The game play is the Bread and Butter of Street Fighter IV. Many new features have been added and tweaked in this latest installation of the Street Fighter universe. One noticeable difference is the addition of the Ultra, or 'Revenge', Meter. This meter is filled by taking damage and allows you to turn the tide of a battle that is not going your way. This alone adds a more technical approach to every battle. You must always be on your guard while you are on the offensive, or you might find yourself on the fierce end of a combo that leads to an even fiercer Metsu Hadoken. You must also be aware that a failed Super or Ultra move will leave you wide open for your opponents attacks. Replacing the popular 'counter' from Street Fighter III, is the EX attack(holding both medium punch and kick). This move allows you to absorb the damage of one attack before release, or continue to charge the attack for an instant knock down, leading to a combo(and potentially a Super or an Ultra). While some characters might seem unbalanced at first(Zangief, Sagat, etc.), over time each characters weaknesses and strengths become more apparent. Each character has something that makes them special(even if this also makes them harder to use for beginners). Suddenly it becomes more apparent that Guile is your best friend when it comes fighting Ken, and Sagat isn't so overpowered against an experienced Akuma. In the end, Capcom did an amazing job in keeping the core game play in tact, even with the addition of new bells and whistles.

Lets talk about the story. At worst, the story is completely irrelevant. At best, unintentionally hilarious. You will find yourself wondering how much effort was really put into the plot throughout the game. Each character has an intro cut scene explaining why said character decided to join the tournament in the first place. Before fighting the final boss you must face your rival, where a few lines of dialogue are exchanged(which may or may not have any relevance to the main story at all). After the final boss is defeated, you are provided the end cinematic of the character you have chosen. Sometimes this end video provides no closure to the mostly irrelevant stories of each character, but acts instead as some sort of reward for your efforts. Street Fighter IV is best played for it's game play, not it's Story.

Now that the I've talked about game play and story, lets talk about the graphics and sound. I'll get this out of the way early: You will either love or hate the menu song. Like everything else, it's really up to you to decide for yourself. The rest of the track list mainly includes remixes of old songs from previous Street Fighter entries that suit the game well. Not bad, but not extraordinary, either. Graphics wise, it's a mixed bag as well. While in motion, it's a sight to behold. As soon as the camera zooms in for the victor, though, the lacking quality of the texture and character models start to show. While this is a little disappointing, it is worth noting that combined with the dazzling array of effects, this is easily justified. As soon as a match starts, the graphics are soon forgotten, but the fluid animations never fail to impress.

The Single player arcade is a fun way to hone your skills before trying them on line, while unlocking characters at the same time. Through requiring players to play through arcade mode with every character, you are forced to experiment and find who is right for you. That is, if you want to unlock all of the characters. What this game is really intended for, is the on line play. Again, this is a mixed bag. You will often find yourself frustrated with the amount of time it sometimes takes to jump into a match. Other times you will get in right away. Again, this is a mixed bag but I find that by allowing players to challenge you during arcade mode, you will get challenged by another player very fast. All together, the on line is a blast, and expands the playability by a VERY large margin. This is a game that will not be leaving your console any time soon.

This is a game I recommend constantly, to old gamers and new. Family and friends. It has a competitive edge to it that seems to be lacking in the gaming world of today. This should serve as a fine wake up call to all current fighting games: The king is back, baby!

Even with it's flaws, it's hard to call this game anything less than extraordinary.

Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/06/09

Game Release: Street Fighter IV (US, 02/17/09)

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