|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
January 3, 2008 - No one can deny that Street Fighter II changed the face of gaming. The release of SF2 revitalized arcades and made fighting games into the well-loved genre that exists today. Mortal Kombat, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Soul Caliber, and all fighting games owe a debt to Ryu and the World Warriors.
Street Fighter II is undoubtedly one of the most influential games in the history of gaming. Its sequel, while well received, didn't have quite the impact that Street Fighter II did, partly due to the decline in arcades, partly due to the popular shift to 3-D fighters like the aforementioned Tekken, but probably mostly due to how long Capcom took to finally release it. Capcom milked the Street Fighter franchise for all that it was worth, releasing and re-releasing Street Fighter II with ridiculous adjectives like Hyper, Super, and Turbo until gamers were nearly sick of the constant rehashes. Now, twenty years after the release of original Street Fighter, Capcom has finally gotten around to releasing Street Fighter IV and gamers everywhere are wondering whether Capcom is offering us too little too late.
While 3-D fighters rule today, Capcom has chosen (and perhaps wisely so) to keep Street Fighter in a 2-D style of combat, so purists don't have to worry that their favorite 2-D fighter is going to be ruined by sidesteps or realigning their fighters. However, while the style of combat is relatively unchanged, most of the other elements of Street Fighter have been either changed or revamped in the hopes of creating a new, better, and more exciting combat system.
The first and most obvious change to the game is in the visuals. Street Fighter II began with a style that was a bit western and gradually began to become more anime inspired in their visuals, with characters that looked sleeker than the originals. Street Fighter IV goes in a completely different direction, bulking up their characters in a decidedly Western look. While only a few characters have been revealed so far, all of the images of series' mainstays Ryu and Ken show the fighters with bulging, rippling muscles. Apparently during the years between Street Fighter III and IV the World Warriors have been hitting the gym. Even more noticeable than the fighter's physiques, however, is the art style. The visuals have a unique look that can best be described as a moving watercolor painting, giving the game a graphical approach that hasn't been attempted before, at least for a fighting game. It looks similar to what Okami would look like if Amaterasu were human and practiced martial arts, although the visuals have much more detail than the PlayStation 2 classic. While many Street Fighter enthusiasts were troubled by the look, the game must be seen in motion to be appreciated. The fluid movements and animations are incredible, and even the character's faces react realistically to attacks, creating an impressive feeling of impact. Capcom may have worried a good number of Street Fighter fans with the visual direction, but most of them will probably find themselves satisfied with the visual direction once they sample the game in motion.
Another probably controversial decision is the removal of the parrying system, which the developers felt made the game too defensive. Street Fighter IV is going to be much more aggressive, focusing more on combat and less on defense and in turn making the game more fast paced and exciting. Instead of the familiar parrying system, SFIV is introducing a saving system, which will be accessible to both novices and hardcore players. The saving system will allow players to build up a "Revenge" meter as the player takes damage. As the meter fills, the player can retaliate with a simple unblockable saving attack, or they can opt for a more complicated Saving Moves or EX specials (beefed up special attacks), which can be chained together by canceling the attack and immediately reinitiating it. Depending on how much effort the player is willing to expend, the saving system can be a rewarding gimmick, since novices and experts alike can get their money's worth.
While there isn't any confirmation on a final roster yet, we already know that we can expect to see Ryu, Ken, Dhaslim, and Chun-Li as returning fighters. The developers have also strongly hinted that Ryu and Ken's "mentor" Sheng-Long would finally be a playable character as well, which is interesting since originally Sheng-Long was simply a mistranslation of Ryu's victory speech. Capcom has also confirmed that the game will have online play for whatever platform it is released on. Most other details are unrevealed, including release dates and platforms, although it seems obvious that the game will probably be made for and released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Other than that details are sketchy, especially considering that Capcom has revealed the game is only about two percent complete. We may not see its actual release until sometime in 2009.
Even with such a distant release date, gamers are excited about the unveiling of Street Fighter IV. The combination of the unique art direction, new combat system, online play, and new fighters is enough to have any Street Fighter aficionado salivating in anticipation. Until its release date, fans will be waiting to snatch up each new morsel of information quicker than an E. Honda hundred hand slap.
CCC Former Co-Site Director