Every new console needs something iconic to help with the launch. With the absence of Mario, the Nintendo 3DS has instead opted for what is without a doubt the most iconic fighting game around, Street Fighter. So what can this portable edition of the game bring to the table that hasn’t been seen before? And how does it measure up to the most recent version on the big consoles?
With Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Capcom have attempted to squeeze not only everything from the HD consoles, but also a bundle of new stuff, into a cartridge so small that I could likely swallow it (although this is not advised). With that much effort going into the game, I think it is safe to say that Capcom sees this title as being the “big 3DS launch title”, and it is easy to understand why.
Right from the start, it is plain to see that Capcom have done a great job of squeezing the content in. The game features 35 playable characters and game modes including the staple Arcade mode, Versus mode, training and Challenge mode. Seriously, how much more could any self-respecting Street Fighter fan want? Well, you get more whether you like it or not. But more on that later.
Street Fighter fans will tell you that the most important aspect of any new Street Fighter game are the controls. For 3D Edition, everything seems to be where it should be, with the strong attacks set to the shoulder buttons and the medium and weak set to the handheld’s face buttons. The new circle pad measures up very well for use in the game, but for those that find it a little too loose (I personally kept finding myself jumping at inopportune moments) the directional buttons are still available to use as an alternative.
One thing that is true of almost all big launch titles is that they need to be accessible to all kinds of players. But let’s face it, the Street Fighter games can only really be appreciated once the player has mastered the various combos and are able to perform a variety of the highly impressive moves. This takes both time and patience, which many gamers don’t have. However, Capcom have considered this and, in an attempt to appeal to as many different types of gamers as possible, included four buttons set to the touch screen. These can, like all of the buttons, be customised to the players requirements. But for the new comers, or the less than professional players, these screen buttons are assigned to some of the more difficult, yet impressive to watch, special moves and combos. I can hear the Pro players out that gasping in indignation, but the reality is that not everyone was born with a Street Fighter Joystick in their hands and these screen buttons offer some much needed accessibility to a game that really needs it. If you don’t like them, don’t use them.
The visuals of the game are also quite impressive. Understandably, Capcom had to cut certain corners to get the game playing on the handheld, which can be seen with the static backdrops. But the fighters themselves and the animations are really well done and almost look out of place in the palm of your hand. Slide the 3D slider up to full in a standard fight, and the fighters will leap into the foreground, adding a subtle 3D effect to the combat.
But Capcom have another trick up their sleeve – a dedicated 3D mode. In this mode, everything is given the full 3D treatment, with the camera moving to slightly behind the players’ fighter, offering an incredible sense of depth. Whilst this is visually very impressive and certainly the games party piece, designed to make all who look upon the console go “ooooh”, the reality is that playing the game in this mode is actually more difficult. This is due to the difficulty in judging the distance between the fighters.
A Street Fighter game without online modes would make about as much sense as a driving game without online racing (I’m looking at you two, Ridge Racer 3D and Asphalt 3D). Thankfully, Street Fighter IV 3D Edition has you covered. The the chance to compete against a random player, a friend, or even create your own custom matches, there is plenty of online fighting to be done. Impressively, the online modes all work very smoothly and there was no slow down or lag that I noticed. Good times.
So what about this much talked about Street Pass functionality? Ah, well, this is all tied in to the games massive number of collectibles. Players are able to earn points in the various game modes which can then be used to purchase some of the 500 different figurines that can be found in the game. They can then assemble a team, as each figure has different stats, to be used against the teams of passers by in Street Pass mode. Although largely pointless, there are plenty of people out there who will buy into the whole “gotta catch them all” mentality (me being one of them), and it does offer another good reason to take your 3DS out and about, besides walking the dog or collecting coins for Street Pass Quest.
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is THE game to get with your shiny new 3DS. Well, sort of. No one can deny that Capcom have done a great job of offering handheld gamers a full featured Street Fighter experience. The game looks great, plays well, is accessible and has some really interesting features. But, at the end of the day, it is still Street Fighter. If you have had absolutely no interest in Street Fighter in the past, then this title will do nothing to change that. However, if you are partial to a bit of fighting action, then Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is your launch title “must buy”.
Using the designated 3D mode is certainly visually impressive, but makes the game more difficult. Use that mode to show off your 3DS to your friends and stick with the 3D turned up in regular mode for actual fighting. The effect is not quite as impressive, but leaves the game playing as any other Street Fighter game.