Sunday, April 26, 2009

Review: Street Fighter IV

New School Review: Street Fighter IV

In a way, I almost feel sorry for Capcom when it comes to Street Fighter IV. That is, until I think of all the money they are going to make off this game. They are in a very difficult position because of how well previous Street Fighter games have worked. Change the Street Fighter formula too much and fans are going to shout and cry about how Capcom failed to make another Street Fighter Game. Don’t change it enough and critics are going to call this game just a better looking Street Fighter II. Street Fighter IV managed to avoid either of these two problems, but it did it with the cost of a few new minor problems that together seriously hampered the effectiveness of this game.

That’s not to say, however, that Street Fighter IV is a bad game. Indeed, there are many parts of it that are very good. Unfortunately, this is one of those games that was a victim to its own hype. No matter how good Street Fighter IV was it couldn’t live up to what fans thought it could be. Further, a lot of smaller mistakes, and a lack of interesting modes keeps this fighter from entering the conversation about the greatest fighters of all time, and it certainly doesn’t occupy that position itself.

The Good:

A lot of fighters. We start with sixteen selectable fighters, and nine unlockable characters there are obviously a lot of players to choose from. Not only that, but all of the classical characters that we have grown to love including Chun Li, Guille, Ken, Ryu, Bison, and Zangief are back.

A tight tier list.

For those who don’t know, a tier list is a list of the strongest fighter down to the weakest fighter in a fighting game. Unlike Super Smash Bros. Brawl and other fighters from this year Street Fighter IV boasts a really tight tier list. That is, there is no one on the list of fighters who is unbelievably better than everyone else (like MetaKnight in Brawl) nor is there anyone who is so much weaker than others that they can’t compete. There is still a tier list, like all fighters, but you can tell that the makers of this game really worked to make it tighter than other contemporary fighting games; an effort greatly appreciated both by fans and tournament goers.

Excellent Gameplay

The six button formula has worked well for Street Fighter series since Street Fighter II. Street Fighter IV is no exception. Most of the gameplay is really excellent. The controls are tight and responsive, and it’s never been so much fun to kick the shit out of your friends when not playing against the computer.

Unlike previous games you can really see how these are the premiere fighters in the world. From Zangief’s chest to Chun-Li’s calves, these fighters don’t look like the kind of people you would want to mess with on the streets.

The Bad:

The Super Combos: These, I hated. You could be winning a fight and all the other person would have to do is a super combo to take you out of the game. Or you could be losing badly, but pull one of these off to come back. And they didn’t feel like a strategy to use either. Like, in Soulcalibur you have to strategize about how to knock someone off the ledge if you are losing miserably. Super Combos were just a matter of luck whether or not they landed well, or at least, they felt that way. The game would have been improved considerably if these had been left out.

A General Lack of Modes

Seriously, Capcom? You’re going to release a fighting game in 2009 with only arcade, “challenge”, survival, and time attack modes? No story mode? No team battle mode? This is more than surprising. It’s downright disappointing. Add unto that a simply terrible challenge mode, and this game is a lot shallower than a fighting game in 2009 should be. The challenge mode was just a function of using all your special moves against a stationary opponent. Great for learning how to do the more difficult things in the game, but a challenge? Hardly.

The Story:

Just garbled and bad. Unlike Mortal Kombat which actually found an interesting way to explain why grown men were trying to kill each other, and how they could throw fireballs, the street fighter story continues to make no sense to me. Some fighters who want to prove they are the strongest, and others who are launching an investigation, and then still others who are trying to do magical things. It was so muddled that halfway through the game all I could think is “Why does this game need a story line anyway?”

Bottom Line:

Capcom’s Street Fighter IV is an excellent game. It’s fun, especially when you have a friend. The gameplay is almost as tight as Street Fighter II, and the graphics are stellar. Unfortunately, a few gameplay issues and limited ways to play keep this game from standing out as one of the greatest of all time as some others have contested.

Graphics 10/10
Sound 7/10 (What was up with some of the wimpy song choices for this game?)
Gameplay 7/10 (Needed more Modes)
Lasting Appeal 9/10
Overall: 8

Final Say: Great Game, but not even in the top ten fighters of all time.


  1. Some of the combos that you have to do are absolutely ridiculous. I have troubles doing some of the simplest ones myself. I also have to agree that the super combos are insane and can change the outcome of a game in the blink of an eye. Ridiculous.