Monday, 4 April 2011

Game Review – Super Street Fighter IV 3D

Format: 3DS
The Street Fighter series is certainly no stranger to continuous enhancements and revamps and it is an absolute joy to see Super Street Fighter IV find its way onto Nintendo’s new 3DS handheld. Street Fighter IV 3D deserves immediate praise for its phenomenal and almost flawless transition from next generation consoles, to the 3DS. Little has been stripped from this version, making it an excellent port of a terrific fighting experience. Great game-play, beautiful graphics, audio and excellent use of the new 3D features make Super Street Fighter IV 3D edition one of the most technically appealing and fun fighters on any handheld.

Like many other iconic franchises, I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone out there who hasn’t at one point or another played a Street Fighter game. Street Fighter IV however, is still relatively new and expands the roster from fan favourites such as Ken, Ryu, Sagat and Chun-Li to new faces such as Viper, Rufus and Seth. A total roster of 35 characters find their way onto the 3DS, with absolutely no omissions from the home console versions. It is a shame that just recently a revamped arcade edition of the game has been announced, introducing a new Evil Ryu character amongst rumors of others, it would have been nice to see even these guys get on the handheld version right from the beginning. Nevertheless, this balanced group of fighters is at your disposal as you battle your way through each individual’s story modes using a variety of punches, kicks, super moves and grapples.

The danger with moving any game onto a handheld console is the control scheme. Fortunately for SSFIV3D, the transition is very good, mapping your light and medium attacks to the face buttons, strong attacks to the shoulder buttons and movement to the D or circle pad. The 3DS’s touch-screen makes it a unique device and the developers have made full use of it by implementing a new control method. The game features two designated control schemes, light and pro. Light mode allows players to set up four special attacks onto the touch screen, which can be activated by a simple tap, while pro players can assign up to four certain commands to help with the difference in control schemes from the home console versions. The light mode is a welcome addition to SSFIV3D as it really helps newcomers to the game get adjusted and enjoy some of the game’s more complex button commands and moves with minimal effort. It’s also useful because the lack of a real tutorial in training mode has been omitted, meaning you are forced to learn as you go along.

The difficulty curve behind SSFIV3D is decent, the game is very challenging on higher difficulty levels and once you start getting adventurous and learning about the various focus attacks, chain combos and all the other professional malarkey, you will find that this really is a deep and exciting experience where you learn from each and every battle. SSFIV3D provides you with the traditional challenge mode that allows you to practice advanced combos and move-chains but I’ve always found these incredibly infuriating, so use it at your own whim.

Of course we all really play fighting games like SSFIV3D because we want to battle our friends and human opponents. There’s only so many times you can go through arcade mode and get stuck on the final boss Seth before you want to vent your anger on a buddy. Well you get plenty of opportunity here to do so in the games versus wireless mode. Going wireless is a smooth and exhilarating affair and really shows the extent of the 3DS’s power. Even going online against people for the most part is lag free, but it does depend on the strength of both of your signals, as sometimes there can be some issues. Playing online is enjoyable, but feels rather stripped down due to the lack of any leaderboards and any other fight types aside from just your basic one on one option. A lobby based tournament or group mode would have been a welcome addition here. You do earn points as you win battles online, but these are little to brag about and simply allow the online match making system to pit you against players with similar points scores as you. Online options are quite good, allowing you to choose custom settings if you play against players using light or pro control schemes, the number of rounds, the region from which your opponent can be found in and a few other nifty little options. You can even play against friends who are playing at the same time as you by setting up a lobby and sending a play request. It is a shame that you can’t message your friends in game, but you can’t have it all.

An intriguing new feature courtesy of the 3DS’s very cool interactive features, is StreetPass. Nintendo always go on about the ability to exchange information with other gamers while your handheld consoles are in sleep mode and you pass by another system, well SSFIV3D has it’s own version of this mode. In your options mode you choose a set of fighters in figure form and when you pass other players with SSFIV3D, your figurines battle each other in an RPG like fashion. These little figures can be acquired by accumulating coins in the game by carrying your 3DS game around like a pedometer (Pokewalker anyone?) and then you can trade and exchange figurines with friends. The more your figures battle, the stronger they get and ultimately, it’s a nice little diversion from the usual Street Fighter brawler formula.

From a technical perspective SSFIV3D is a work of art. The beautiful graphics feel right at home on the 3DS and I don’t think anyone would have thought the transition would have been so smooth. Characters and backdrops all look vibrant and fluid, standing out brightly. Now, onto the 3D, the segment everyone’s waiting for in reviews these days. Switching on the 3D slider actually slows the game down a fragment, worth considering for those gamers out there who enjoy a steady pace in their fighting games. Other than that, it is nice. That’s about as much as I can say really, the 3D does not affect the game-play, but it does make super moves look cool as they come out at you, the sense of depth becomes apparent as your characters stand out from the backdrops. A versus 3D mode has even been included which pans the camera to your characters shoulder, giving a much better sense of 3D. It is a cool addition to the game, but you’re really no worse off having the 3D turned off the entire time. I think it is incredibly impressive from a visual perspective, but games should be all about the game-play and to play SSIV3D properly, the 3D unfortunately, has to be turned off. The arcade mode visuals during each character’s opening cinematic and closing cinematic are all beautiful, and the audio throughout the game compliments the Street Fighter series perfectly, with all the known iconic songs remastered for the handheld system.

What’s shocked almost everyone and what is undeniably most impressive about Super Street Fighter IV 3D is the phenomenal transition from home to portable gaming. Little has had to be sacrificed to get this game to handheld gamers, and that is a serious win in my book. You are given an opportunity to experience one of the best and most well rounded fighters available, on your brand new Nintendo 3DS. It’s a no-brainer as far as the console’s launch titles are concerned; this is the one you should be picking up. Terrific game-play, beautiful graphics and good implementation of 3D makes Super Street Fighter IV 3D a fine example of how portable gaming should be done.

Technical presentation – 8.0

Graphics – 9.0

Game-play – 9.0

Replay value – 8.5

Final score – 8.5 / 10

Igor, CeX UK Contributor.
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