Review by YuWetard
The definitive portable fighting game.
Let me start out by saying that I have been a Street Fighter player since the early 90's and have played every version since the original Street Fighter 1.
Excuse me if I seem a bit biased, but I will try my best not to be through out this review. I will be grading this game solely not based on its content, but more so on how it stacks up to its console big brothers. However, if this is your first Street Fighter, this review will still let you know if this is worth a buy.
I will break this down into 7 categories, giving each its score out of 10. Let's get to it!
This game looks amazing for a launch title. It appears as though Capcom really put a lot of effort into making its first 3DS game stand out, and it shows, featuring full 3D, detailed models just like the console game, with great texture, lighting, and particle effects. The only minor gripes graphic-wise is that apparently due to memory issues, none of the backgrounds are rendered in 3D, so if you are paying a lot of attention to the backgrounds, you might be disappointed, as they are lifeless and dull through out the game, unlike on the console versions. Also, some particle effects are missing from certain moves, though you will only notice this if you really payed attention to the effects flying off every move on the home versions. It's a very minor issue with no effect on game play.
If you are like many users who bought this game to play in 3D mode, you might be a bit disappointed again, depending on your level of attention to detail. Though this game looks stunning in 3D (complete with it's own 3D perspective mode), the frame rate drops from 60 to 30 fps, and there is some noticeable slowdown during some Ultra sequences.
Still, the gameplay is fairly smooth in 3D despite the framerate drop, and when 3D is turned off, the game play runs almost as smooth as the console versions, gliding along at roughly 60 fps (must be turned off in the Options menu to take advantage of 60 fps). I personally play with 3D turned off, as it can be a bit distracting when in a heated fight, but to each his own.
The game play is exactly what you would expect from Street Fighter 4 on the console versions. Smooth, responsive, and quick, it gives you every reason to play on the go. All the combos from the console are here, right down to those pesky link combos. If you mastered the console versions, expect your skills to transition fairly easily to the 3DS.. with some exceptions, but we'll deal with those in the controls section.
This version of SSF4 includes a new feature not found in the home versions: Lite mode.
Now, I have A LOT of bad things to say about Lite mode, but I will save that for the Network features, as that is where many of its flaws are found. Lite mode is a new feature that was tailored toward new players that allows them to map a special or normal move to the touch screen, for a total of 4 possible touchscreen moves. This allows new players to get a feel for the game, and allows them to be more of a challenge when fighting against more skilled opponents, as they can perform any move they choose with 1 touch of a button. This sounds great in theory.. but again, we'll save the negative for the network feature section.
From the crunching of bones during Cammy's CQC, to Blanka's roar, or Ryu's "Hadoken!" all the sound is emulated almost perfectly. The game sounds on par with the home versions, and everything sounds crystal clear. There isn't really much to say here. I gave it a 9/10 because I feel the game could have been a bit louder on max volume, though that's probably an issue with the 3DS.
The control in this game is very responsive and tight, as in the home versions. However that isn't where the game suffers. Because of the design of the 3DS controls, (this will affect you if you are a pad user) there are no secondary shoulder buttons, meaning you will have to press all 3 buttons to perform an Ultra. If you are used to mapping 3 punch or kick to secondary buttons on the home versions, this might not seem like a big deal, but in the heat of the battle, you will find that pressing all 3, depending on how you have the controls set up, is no easy task.
I attempted to remedy this by mapping 3 punch and 3 kick to the shoulder buttons. This does work, however it's use is limited. Pressing a shoulder button will throw out a heavy punch or kick, but it will trigger the use of an EX move if you use it during a special move, meaning you have to be very careful if you map the controls this way so you don't use meter, meaning you likely won't be using heavy special moves too much, which can be a bad thing for many players.
This can also be fixed by mapping some moves to the screen in Lite mode, but for purists, this probably isn't an option.
If you are a stick only player, it will take you a lot of time to get used to the set up, but once you do, you shouldn't have a problem winning fights. Controls could use work, but they are manageable.
Network features: 5/10
Ah, here we go. One of the main reasons I wrote this review.
I love fighting online. The best part about this game is finding a good opponent and beating each other down to find out who is better. While the online features are almost identical to the home versions, the 3DS does suffer some major issues.
First of all, there can be some laggy fights here and there depending on your internet speed and Wifi signal. There aren't too many, but when they happen, prepare to be annoyed. With the controls always somewhat limited, you can find lag in fights frustrating, but overall, most fights are decent and fast.
The main problem I have with this entire game is its new feature: Lite mode.
While I understand this concept and the reasoning behind it, it suffers from a terrible flaw: abuse. I have been told "just play pro mode and stop crying about it", and I have. But issue is that for new players that want to use genuinely use Lite mode, they will easily be crushed by the ridiculous amount of players who abuse the system.
The main issues have to do with people who abuse charge characters, such as Guile or Blanka. People are notorious for spamming moves which are meant to be charged. This makes Lite mode game breaking, as there is no way for the player to defend against attacks which have almost zero recovery time, due to their being designed to be charged. Lite mode was designed to be used by new players, but is brutally abused by players that already know the basics or are actually fairly good, but either want to troll, or just make good players angry by abusing a system not meant to be used by them. All in all in its current state, there is no reason for Lite mode to exist.
If you plan to play online, just prepare to be irritated.
Replay Value: 9/10
This game is bursting with content. Pretty much all the offline content is here from the home versions, and if you played the home versions, you know how much it is. From the Trials, to car and barrel breaking, to Online play, and collecting figurines, icons and banners, this game can keep you occupied for hours.
It's no RPG, but with the amount of things to do here, this 3DS game will rarely bore you.
Fun Factor: 8/10
I found the game very fun in general, and if you love Street Fighter, so will you. There are those elitists that continue to bash this game in favor of 3rd Strike, but to them I say "move on." There can be no innovation by sticking to one game forever.
This game is Street Fighter at its finest, with everything you expect it to be. Again, the online battles can be quite frustrating due to Lite mode, but if you can find some Pro mode fights, that isn't a problem.
Final Thoughts: 8/10
Overall, this game is impressive for a handheld fighting game, and is one of the best portable fighting games ever made. Every character from the home versions made his/her way to the 3DS, so no one will be disappointed in that aspect.
It DOES suffer from some issues in Lite mode, though those are only really a problem online. I continue to say this because I don't believe Capcom really thought it through before releasing it. The system is very easily abused, and can turn new players away from playing online.
If you played fighting games on handhelds back in the 90's it's easy to see why portable games like this are a sigh of relief. Rarely does a handheld get a near perfect port of it's console brother. However, due to the power of new handhelds, this doesn't look to be a problem anymore.
From the amazing graphics, responsive control, high amount of content, and faithful translation, this game deserves to be in your 3DS library if you are a fighting game or Street Fighter enthusiast.
Product Release: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition (US, 09/26/13)
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