Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 04/14/11

Shoryuken!

The 3DS launch has been meager at best in terms of software, especially if you are a prolific gamer. While games like Rayman 3D and Nintendogs + Cats may appeal to you if you haven’t played any other versions of Rayman 2 or didn’t extensively play the original set of Nintendogs games on the original DS, the vast majority of the launch titles have been rushed and aren’t worth the time to play. However, one “rehash” that the 3DS has is actually better than the console versions I played. Capcom’s legendary fighting game debuts alongside Nintendo’s 3DS with Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition.

I didn’t like Street Fighter IV on the Xbox 360. I thought the Xbox 360 controller was horribly tailored for a fighting game, and yeah, people say “just invest in a fight stick”, but when games require unnecessary peripherals like a fight stick in order to be fun, that’s an issue. And since people online have fight sticks and others would be using the standard 360 controller, the online in Street Fighter IV was broken in terms of balance, and those that were willing to shell out the extra cash had the clear advantage. That’s one reason why I like Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition so much better than its console counterparts.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is a port of Super Street Fighter IV, with a few new additions and changes here and there. Super Street Fighter IV was a version of Street Fighter IV that included new characters and modes, but the core gameplay remained the same. Since everyone playing Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition online are using the same method to play the game with (a Nintendo 3DS system, obviously), the online feels a lot more balanced and fair. When you lose in SSFIV3D, you know that you lost either because you were facing someone better than you, or…

There are still issues here. Spamming attacks is an easy way to win matches online. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to spam attacks and pull off victory after victory; those that actually try to play the game by pulling off combos and timing attacks will get annoyed. In the regular side-scrolling mode, any projectile attack can be spammed nonstop thanks to a new feature using the 3DS’s touch-screen that I will get into a bit later. In the new 3D mode, which is characterized by the fact that it uses an over-the-shoulder camera, simply crouching and using heavy kicks makes it almost impossible to lose. This is why I prefer fighting games like SoulCalibur, Dead or Alive, or Tekken. Spamming in those games is almost always detrimental to the cause, as opposed to providing a significant advantage.

However, when an opponent is found online that does go for cheap victories, the fights are immensely satisfying. While the 3DS’s design makes the controls a tad frustrating, at the same time, the unique capabilities of the 3DS also makes the game less frustrating and more entertaining. The touchscreen is used to hold four different and powerful combo attacks. While pulling off combos on the Xbox 360 requires a lot of patience and practice, hitting an opponent with an ultra combo is just a tap away. Because of this, there are a lot more ultra and super combo attacks in matches, but they never make the game feel cheap. It’s easy to block these attacks, and pulling them off successfully requires precise timing and skill, even when using the touchscreen.

Personally, I love the touchscreen implementation. I’m sure many fighting game enthusiasts will still insist on learning all the combos and such, and thankfully online battles can be filtered to not include those using the touchscreen to help them in battles. However, the touchscreen is a double-edged sword.

Firstly, going from the touchscreen to the face buttons can be a bit of a clumsy process. This was an unavoidable problem, but it’s forgivable. What is really annoying, though, is when people abuse the touchscreen in online matches to spam attacks and make the experience so frustrating. For the purpose of this review, I decided to find out how easy it is to pull off a cheap victory. I tapped “hadouken” repeatedly on the touchscreen and managed to defeat my opponent. They pulled off a couple of attacks on me, sure, but I still defeated them, and rather decisively. They didn’t choose to battle in a rematch with me.

Online matches are great fun, and the main draw of any fighting game is the multiplayer, so that’s a good thing. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is, I believe, the only 3DS launch game that actually uses the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to play online, so those looking for a solid online multiplayer experience for their 3DS should be happy with SSFIV3D for a while. Finding a match is easy and painless, and while I occasionally experienced connection issues and lag, the online experience was fast-paced, frantic, and above all, entertaining with a lot of the frustrating elements of playing Street Fighter IV or Super Street Fighter IV on consoles cut out of the equation.

A major plus for Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is that not only does it have great online multiplayer, it also supports multiplayer between two 3DS systems. There is download play that allows players without a SSFIV3D cartridge to partake in fights, and people can battle one-on-one without even having the cartridge at all! This is a very unique implementation of the 3DS’s “download play” capabilities, and it’s rather impressive. If one person playing a 3DS with the game cartridge in it starts a download play battle with another player with a 3DS, the person with the cartridge can leave, and someone else that doesn’t have the cartridge can still play with the other person that also doesn’t have the cartridge. That long-winded sentence may make it a bit hard to fully understand the idea I am trying to convey, but hopefully you get the point. Multiplayer is key to the success of games in this genre, and I think that the great online multiplayer and the other multiplayer options makes Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition very much worth it.

There are a ton of characters available to play as in this game, as is expected, as it includes the entire roster from Street Fighter IV as well as the new fighters added in Super Street Fighter IV. Each character has their own storyline in the arcade mode, which I found to be a lot more enjoyable this time around thanks to the easier controls that the 3DS provides, and a lot more balanced than the online modes. On top of that, the characters also have their own trial modes that challenge players to pull off specific combos and such, just like the console versions of the game. And if that wasn’t enough, each character has multiple variations of statues that can be won through a mini-game called figure roulette, with a total of 500 figures waiting to be collected in the game.

Figure roulette is done by earning points through winning battles, whether that is against AI opponents or against online combatants. Points can be allocated by exchanging coins earned through walking around with the Nintendo 3DS in the sleep mode as well. The point of these figures are to create a stable of the best figures you have, hope that you walk by someone else that has done the same while the 3DS is in sleep mode and the StreetPass function is turned on, and then win the battle between the trophies! It’s an interesting feature, though the likelihood of walking by someone else isn’t exactly all that likely in the states. Still, it’s nice to see that Capcom has tried to use as much of the 3DS’s features as possible when creating this game.

Speaking of the features of the 3DS, the feature that everyone is wondering about that hasn’t played this game is the use of the 3D. The 3DS is the only video game system that does 3D without the use of 3D glasses, and even though the system is still in its infancy, I’ve seen amazing things done with the 3D already. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition doesn’t do anything all that spectacular with the 3D, but it’s the most polished 3D experience on the portable that I’ve played yet. There was never a “ghosting” problem (where objects and characters in the game break out into doubles) that I experienced, and the game never bothered my eyes. I play this game with the 3D on max the entire time, as I do with basically every 3DS game that I play. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition has a sort of layering effect going on with the menus, and the words that flash on the screen before and after fights seem to pop out. The fighters seem to stick out of the screen slightly as well, especially when they are facing the screen. At one point, Ken pointed at the screen, and his hand and arm were clearly extended farther out of the screen than his body. The 3D also makes the fights look rather cool. It looks like a couple of action figures are battling it out inside of a diorama or something. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition doesn’t use the 3D in the most creative ways, but it does manage to do the 3D better than any other game I have played on the system to date.

The overall visuals are rather nice. The cel-shaded character models look nice, the framerate is solid, and the anime cut-scenes during the arcade mode are gorgeous. On the downside, the background people and objects during battles are static and never move. It’s not a big deal, but it seems like a weird design decision, but perhaps it was a time-saving measure that took place during development to ensure the game would meet the launch date.

I’ve spent quite a few hours with Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, but I decided to write this review when I realized I no longer had any ambition to regularly play it. That’s what SSFIV3D’s biggest problem is going to be: the staying power. Yeah, there’s a nice amount of modes, and the multiplayer modes certainly bolster the replayability, as does the achievement-like medal system—but the game is bound to get extremely repetitive. After playing through the arcade mode with a few characters, playing through it a bunch of other times with all the different characters just for cut-scenes gets extremely boring. The same goes for the trial modes, and any other single-player modes. The online multiplayer will keep people coming back, but I imagine that many will use SSFIV3D for short bursts over a period of time.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is one of the more solid launch titles for the Nintendo 3DS. The multiplayer is the best part about the game, easily, and while the other modes will be fun for a while, they do grow old quicker than they should. The balance in the game is still broken in my estimation, but overall, the improvements here are mainly positive ones. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is a lot of fun, and I imagine those who haven’t played Street Fighter IV or Super Street Fighter IV on consoles will be able to enjoy it even more.

Rating: 8

Product Release: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition (US, 03/27/11)

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