submitted on February 27, 2009, 7:41 PM
I picked up Street Fighter IV last weekend, but have been too occupied this week to give it any significant playing time. Well, I managed to sit down tonight and play for a couple of hours.
My first thoughts are that it's a nice upgrade to the Street Fighter II franchise (I know there was a III series, but those were only in arcades, so I don't really count them). It's nothing groundbeakingly different from what you've come to expect from a Street Fighter game. I can start playing as Ryu and pick up right where I left off in SFII. There are some new features I'm still adjusting to, countering moves, super combos, force moves, stuff like that, and at the end of the day if you want to get good at the game, you have to know that stuff.
I really like the graphics, everyone looks roided out of their mind, which took me a second to get used to, but once you do you don't even think about it again. Everything looks really nice and smooth, and depending on how you finish off opponents it can look really nice.
It's a much "bigger" game than any Street Fighter game before it. There are lots of outfit colors to choose from, lots of titles/icons to use when playing online, a lot more stages, more characters, and there are more fighting modes than just the usual Arcade and Vs. The big addition is a Challenge mode, that features Time Trials, Survivor Challenges, among others. Completing these helps you unlock extra options in the game. There is a LOT to do in this game, so while a fighting game doesn't always have a ton of replay value aside from playing with friends, this is a game that actually has a lot to do in single player mode.
Obviously the game has an Online mode as well, which seems to be pretty fluid. I've only played a couple matches online, and of course got my ass handed to me both times, but the process was pretty smooth, I would say, so that's a plus.
One thing I forgot to mention is the handicap feature in Vs. mode. I don't know if this was something that was available in previous games, but when you are playing against another player, you can handicap yourself anywhere from 4 stars (no handicap) to 0 stars (extreme handicap). The handicap does a couple of things; first it lowers the health meter you start out with, and second it weakens your offense and strengthens your opponents' offense. This was helpful for me when I was playing against my brother, who is clearly an inferior Street Fighter player. I knocked my handicap down to 2 stars and it was a much more entertaining matchup.
All in all I think it's a pretty entertaining game to play; I love the Street Fighter series, and IV is a great next chapter. Now I will admit, I don't know if I would have bought it if I had to pay $60 for it (I used a gift card to pay for some of it), because at the end of the day, it's a fighting game, I mean how much can a game change? I already have SF II: HD Remix on my 360, and I don't know that it's worth it to spend $60 on a newer SF game. But that's me. I know some people justify buying a new copy of Madden every year, so I guess it really just depends on whether it's worth it to you or not.
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