Street Fighter IV Reader Review
There are few games as potent and influential as Street Fighter II; few games with such a history; few games with such a following; few games as mimicked; and few games with such defining gameplay that it's irrevocably ingrained on a generation of gamers' psyche, only to be unlocked by the familiar cry of HADOKEN!
Few series' are as iconic, as recognisable, as readily slipped back into as Street Fighter, yet for eight long years we've seen little of it. Third Strike may still dominate tournament play and the Vs series' have kept certain characters fresh in our minds yet few would have thought Street Fighter IV was even a possibility a couple of years ago, and few could have predicted how glorious and triumphant its return would be.
Sticking to its 2D roots, SFIV is a classic fighter, reborn with exaggerated 3D visuals, replacing the pixelated sprites with a distinctive art style that at once pays homage to the past while revitalising the fighter with stunning, comedic animation, and thick stylistic brush strokes of ink.
Gameplay is the same as it has ever been, with familiar moves and combos made easier by under-the-hood changes to input times, while additions such as the Revenge Meter (for a high powered comeback attack) and Focus Attack (for tactical parrying and combo launching) at once seek to level the playing field for beginners, while creating a new layer of depth for old masters.
Alongside the the quirky new challengers and the standard Arcade mode that sees each character's run bookended by some impenetrable animated sequences, the console version comes rammed with unlockable characters, hardcore challenges and an in-depth trial mode to teach the basic bread and butter techniques to those new to the series, or just plain rusty.
As well as solid online play there's the unique feature that allows online strangers to challenge you during a single player session (like being in an arcade!), while minute details such as the ability to change individual character voices to their pre-dubbed, Japanese original, show how much thought has gone into the whole package.
These additions, alongside the obvious love that has gone into crafting it, have ensured that Street Fighter IV feels at once completely fresh, yet altogether familiar. Easy to pick up, difficult to master, the return of Ryu and co heralds a new age for the 2D brawler. Welcome back old friend.
10 / 10