Every Sunday we bring you an article from our archive, either for you to discover for the first time to read all over again. Today, to mark the recent announcement of Street Fighter 5, we present Wesley Yin-Poole's look back at Street Fighter 4, first published as part of our games of the generation series.
2009. It had been 10 long years since a brand new Street Fighter had been released, for whatever reason: too hardcore, too niche, or, as many believed, Capcom had milked its cash cow so violently for so long that all that remained was a shrivelled, six-button corpse.
We dared to hope Street Fighter 4 would revitalise what had become a distant, stand-offish series. That's all we were asking for. That's all we expected. That, for Street Fighter fans the world over, would have been enough.
Once in a while, we all get a bit drunk and say something inappropriate.
Street Fighter IV wasn't my game of 2009. 2009 was my year of Street Fighter IV.
"Right now, there's nobody younger than me that I feel threatened by. I haven't met anyone that I felt possesses the skill to surpass me in the future. I'm not over-evaluating myself. I can analytically see their weakness, their ineptitudes."
While the PC version of Street Fighter IV is lagging months behind its console brethren, the core codebase for the computer version is actually much, much older. The arcade game from which the PS3 and Xbox 360 games are derived is based on PC architecture, so in essence this home game is an enhanced rendition of the "real thing". That being the case, it's equally as brilliant as the console games in terms of the raw gameplay, but the graphical assets can be scaled up to whatever your system can handle. For the Street Fighter IV purist (and we know how many of those there are), the difference could be remarkable - I mean, kit yourself out with the right equipment and you can play SFIV at 120FPS if you want. However, for the rest of us, the improvement will be marginal at best.
"This is, in almost every way that matters, the perfect Street Fighter," beamed Simon in his review of Capcom's latest and greatest. But how close are you to becoming the perfect Street Fighter?
Holy #*%$! I've just seen the Japanese intro for Street Fighter IV and it looks absolutely killer. Screw objectivity, I'm going to say right now that from my impressions of the Street Fighter IV arcade game and from what I've played so far of the console release, Street IV could very well be the greatest fighting game ever made. With Eurogamer's review going live tomorrow (Monday 16th February), I'm taking a look back at the different Street Fighter games in their many different arcade transitions. Hold onto your sticks people.
Peculiar bedfellows, perhaps? There was always going to be a clash somewhere in this year's Coming Attractions as we sorted our way through 12 categories, but you could argue there's more that unites fighting and strategy than divides them. Both are about trying to take maximum of advantage of your opposition's weaknesses, both reward patience, concentration and consideration, and as of Red Alert 3 both have a thing for impractical women's clothing.
Playing Street Fighter IV on Xbox 360, we're trying to recall the last time we were so hyped about the release of a fighter. Enthusiasm grew during the build-up to Soul Calibur IV, as did our anticipation for Virtua Fighter 5 a year prior, but it's an age since a fighter has been so prevalent in actual office banter. With the console release of Street Fighter IV weeks away, the trash talk about who's going to rush down who has started to turn nasty. How we've missed it.
First things first, apologies if you were disappointed, having read our Eurogamer Expo preview on Monday, to discover that the MotorStorm: Pacific Rift vehicle outside the Expo entrance was a monster truck instead of a Humvee. We are also sorry that so many of you missed the chance to touch Bertie's moustache, which endures even now atop the sweater-clad granite torso and arms of news-typing sultriness.
Resident Evil 5 is at Captivate 08 in Las Vegas, and that's big news for journalists assembled in Capcom's almost-penthouse at Palms Casino, which sits back from the Strip and bakes quietly in the 30-celsius heat. But the game's developers, Jun Takeuchi and Masachika Kawata, aren't letting us near the pad, so when the presentations are over, we have to make do with Street Fighter IV. Or would do, except the four arcade machines - linked in pairs for two-player combat - are permanently swamped. We've seen Street Fighter IV already of course. We've even played it already. But that hasn't dimmed anyone's enthusiasm.
Full disclosure: this hands-on preview appears with dinky PS3 and 360 icons next to it, but we haven't played those versions. In fact, Capcom refuses to confirm whether or not they even exist, despite admitting that it would be "pretty surprising" if Street Fighter IV failed to make the transition from arcade to home console. Still, it's worth pointing this out so that the PRs don't wake me up with a phone call at 2am PST to complain. I need my beauty sleep. As you'll know if you've ever seen my face.
It ended with a bang. At the first Capcom Gamers' Day to be held in Europe - our own fair capital of London, to be precise - it looked for ten excruciating seconds like the big reveal of an extremely lengthy press conference really was going to be the announcement of a PS3 version of Lost Planet. But we should have known better.