Review: Street Fighter IV (PS3)

So, it has been over 20 years since the Street Fighter series started and over 10 years since the last official instalment (Street Fighter III), but the fighting series that showed us how to milk every sequel with different iterations is back with a brand new entry: Street Fighter IV.  Sticking with the 2-D game play that make it famous, but with 3-D cell shaded graphics, this is easily the best looking game in the series.  All the characters from the ORIGINAL Street Fighter game (not to be confuse, with champion edition, Super SFII, Super SFII Turbo, or the recent Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix) are back along with Fei Long and Cammy from Super SFII series, Gen who was in the original Street Fighter as well as SF Alpha 2 & 3, Rose and Dan from the Alpha series as well as Sakura (SF Alpha 2 and 3).  Also included are four new challengers (Abel, Crimson Viper, EL Fuerte, and Rufus), hidden characters Akuma and Gouken (Ryu and Ken’s master and Akuma’s brother) and Boss character Seth.

The game plays well, using elements like EX gauges and super moves from the Alpha series and SF III.  each character either has their own unique moves, or, in the case of Ryu and Ken, their attacks are slightly different and they have their own EX moves.  Move inputs with the controller (in my case , the PS3) are easy enough to perform, but it really depends on the character you use.  Chun Li, on one hand has a lot of moves that require you to charge by holding the stick back or down for a second, while El Fuerte’s moves are mostly done from a dash move.

As for difficulty?  It depends on the player, mostly, but a lot of magazines and web sites say it is pretty easy to pick up and play.  I have to disagree.  It is hard.  Even on the easiest setting.  Most of my difficulty comes from fighting Zangief, but that’s nothing compared to the frustration I feel while fighting the boss, Seth.  He can be cheap even on the easiest setting.  His Ultra revenge move (a new addition to the series) sucks you into his gut and spits you out into the screen for massive damage.  AND IT’S UNBLOCKABLE!!!!  True, getting in close helps to prevent him from using it, but he teleports if you let up for half a second.  It all really depends on who you use to fight him, but I had the easiest time fighting him with Sakura and the worst time using El Fuerte (never beat him) with a close second with Chun Li (and hour and a half on him alone).

The game starts you with the eight World warriors from Street Fighter II, the three “bosses” from that game plus the four new characters.  The other characters (added for the console release) are unlocked for beating the game with a certain character, with the exception of Seth, Akuma and Gouken.  Seth is unlocked one you beat the game with all of the characters, with Akuma and Gouken unlocked after you beat the game with certain characters and do a laundry list of feats such as three perfect wins, two Ultra finishers, two EX finishers, and then face and beat them.  Not an easy task ,even on Easiest.  I’ll probably never unlock them.

Still, a good fighting game that continues to build on the SF legacy.  It is nice to see the SF series catch up with newer fighting series such as DOA (4) and Soul Calibur (4).  Now they have to catch up to Tekken (6) and King of the Fighters (12!)