Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Super StreetFighter IV 3D

Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition (SSF43D) is here on the Nintendo 3DS and it is exactly what it says on the box, Super Street Fighter IV in 3D. The game contains all 35 characters from the home console versions, all the moves and all the stages, with most of the character animations fully recreated for Nintendo's latest portable game system.

The game runs smoothly and although some reviewers have noticed slowdown, for some reason I have yet to see any. The 3D screen is what sets the 3DS apart from all other consoles and SSF43D looks great. You can clearly see depth to each stage and Capcom has introduced an over-the-shoulder view, which shows even more depth but essentially it's just a gimmick and after two rounds I reverted to the traditional view.

Graphically it's excellent and perhaps the best looking game from the batch of launch games, but its not quite on par with its console versions running on a decent sized 1080p screen. Although most of the details and animations of the characters have made it onto the 3DS, the background animations are absent. It makes playing the game like you're in a world where everyone is on pause except the two fighters - it's not a big deal though, and perhaps a small price to pay.

The gameplay is all here so if you love the fighting mechanics of StreetFighter, you're in for a treat. But if you are a purist, the type which enters StreetFighting competitions and when you hear the word God, think about Japan's Daigo (known as the best StreetFighter in history) rather than a man with a white beard, then you will be disappointed. This is because SSF43D has been slightly modified for the Nintendo 3DS hardware.

StreetFighter is famously known for its six button mechanics, three punches and three kicks, just like Tekken has four buttons, a button per limb. The 3DS version has enough buttons for three buttons and three kicks but it also has a touch screen. The touch screen can be divided into four buttons which can be a button itself such as a punch or a kick, but it can also be turned into a special move, super move, or ultra move. You do not have to use this touch screen function of course, but it's there for anyone who wants to use it and I think many people do.

I've played console versions of StreetFighter since the Super Nintendo and played hundreds, if not thousands, of matches and I have never seen so many Super and Ultra moves being used. The touch screen one button combo is simply too attractive to ignore and when you're in a corner and about to be beaten you cannot help but use the touch screen and pull of an Ultra move to turn the tide.
This does not bother me one bit because although it's easier for me, it is not necessarily an advantage since my opponents have the touch screen too. But what changes is the way you play the game. You'll think more about strategy rather than the inputting of combos or special moves. You can be more confident that when Bison zooms across the screen with psycho power you will counter it with a dragon punch rather than either fumbling to punch or block. The touch screen simply makes the game much more accessible and fun to play.

But there is a caveat during online play... characters such as Guile, Chun Li, Vega and Bison, for example, really benefit because they no longer need to charge by using the touch screen. This does make the game a little less balanced but not to any extent to ruin the experience.

Online play is fairly well implemented and battling a stranger online is easy. You can also set up matches to match your skill or play with a friend on your contact list. It’s all fine, but there is a tendency for some players to flip their WIFI switch off towards the end of a match when they are losing. This happens more than I expected, and in such a case no one wins or loses any points; Capcom perhaps should have awarded whoever was winning the points. On the whole, however, it’s an excellent port and well worth the money.

*Reviewed on 3DS