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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Capcom
Developed By: Capcom/Dimps
Genre: Fighting
Rated: T (Teen)
Players: 1-2
Release Date: February 17, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

February 24, 2009 - I don’t know about you but personally I believe the Street Fighter series is the most talked about and beloved franchise to grace the fighting genre. Spanning more than 20 years, Capcom has created a legacy for themselves on the backs of martial artists of all shapes and sizes, who battle it out to determine who is the ultimate fighter. From Street Fighter‘s debut back in 1987, Capcom has always strived to create a unique and memorable entity, which has been apparent with the love and support put into each and every Street Fighter title that has ever been released. With Street Fighter IV ushering in the next generation of the franchise, Capcom has successfully created yet another solid fighter on all fronts.

Street Fighter IV’s visual presentation follows yet another take on the watercolor style that has become part of the norm in this generation. The bright and vivid colors of previous titles have been replaced with more of a subtle, muted color palette. Character models have lost the old bland sprite look in favor of highly-detailed 3D models, boasting various facial expressions from bulging eyeballs to facial smirks and outlines in thick black borders. Combos, special attacks, and super moves all flow with fluidity and are highly detailed. Level backdrops are a combination of old and new, being rendered in full 3D with in-depth detail. Whether your battles are hectic and explosive or calm and simple, the frame-rate is solid throughout the entire experience.

While the core gameplay mechanics have never changed throughout the series existence, additions have been added here and there to create a whole new experience within SFIV. With SFIV comes Focus Attacks which can prove to be a valuable tool whether you are on the offensive or the defensive. To charge a focus attack, the player would hold down the medium punch and kick buttons simultaneously. What makes this attack unique and tricky to gauge is that there is no fill bars at the bottom of the screen to inform you of what level the focus attack is at. In order to distinguish the attack level, you must watch the darkening of the black lines that outline your character. The thicker these lines get, the higher the level of your focus attack. While the focus attack can prove very useful within battle, the drawback comes from the fact that you must be in a stationary position in order to charge the attack. On defense a nicely placed focus attack can stop your opponent from delivering a devastating combo or super move, where as on offense it can allow you to deliver a crippling combo to your opponent, sending them to the ground in pain.

The inclusion of the focus attack also lends itself quite well to linking different combos together for even more devastating damage. This is done through using part of your EX power-meter in order to break animation early and string another combo or series of moves together. The EX power-meter builds as you dish out damage to your opponent, however as you take damage, a revenge meter builds which can lead to a super finishing move. The linking of the EX meter, revenge meter, and focus attacks makes for several additional layers of depth to the gameplay. While these abilities are very enticing, one must decide whether taking damage or dealing damage is their best course of action in order to successfully defeat their opponent.

SFIV features several different gameplay modes, each differing up the action within the game. Single-Player mode or otherwise known as Arcade Mode puts the player’s selected fighter up against 8 random battles as they make their way to do battle with the final boss. Each and every character within SFIV has short but sweet HD cutscenes, which play out in between battles and add a bit of substance as to why they are fighting and the goal that they seek to gain out of it. Within this mode, you can set the difficulty level to one of 8 settings; very easy to hardest. Next on the list is the Training Mode, which will push newcomers and even season veterans to their limits. Within this mode, players can harness their skills with each and every character via fighting against a dummy, computer controlled character or even a second player. There are several settings you can tweak your opponents with, ranging from position to damage reaction. This is definitely a vital mode to players wanting to learn the ins and outs of their characters, how their opponents would react to certain attacks, etc. Other modes like Time Attack, Survival, and Trial are included within the Challenge Mode.

Street Fighter IV boasts one of the most impressive and well-balanced rosters compared to any other Street Fighter title released beforehand. The classic twelve fighters--Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Blanka, E. Honda, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison—who made the Street Fighter series globally famous make their grand returns within the latest installment. Joining this roster is six new fighters, all of which pack some interesting fighting techniques and maneuvers. Crimson Viper is very agile pulling off devastating areal attacks; Abel utilizes mixed martial arts and wrestling techniques to deliver heart-wrenching moves and combos; Rufus utilizes his grand size and lightening speed to pull the wool over the eyes of his opponents; and El Fuerte combines high flying throws with lucha libre moves to keep his opponents guessing. There is also the inclusion of Gouken, Ken and Ryu’s sensei, who brings new techniques never taught to his pupils during their training. Rounding out the new cast of fighters is Seth, the end boss who becomes available for use upon unlocking every other fighter within the game. Completing single-player mode several times will aid in unlocking the rest of the fighting roster, which includes Cammy, Sakura, Akuma, Fei Long, Rose, Gen, and Dan.

Audio is yet another high note for SFIV. Instead of following suite with a musical selection similar to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Capcom opted for filling the title with several J-pop tunes and a really cheesy intro theme, which I will admit I was jamming along to after hearing it a few times. With the ushering in of HD, sound effects are sharper and clearer to make out. You can hear things like character grunts, dogs barking in the alleys, and very clearly the various sound effects created from charging special abilities, all this adding to the immerse level of the title. Rounding out the features within audio is the option of hearing your characters during cutscenes and the the voice of the announcer within English or Japanese voice-overs.

Next to the single-player action of SFIV, the online and offline multiplayer modes are where many players’ hearts will be. When designing the parameters surrounding the multiplayer gameplay, Capcom made sure that features not offered in other titles would be included here in order to make their experience all the more better. If you are battling offline against a computer controlled fighter, you can receive battle requests from online opponents which you can opt to accept or deny. If you do accept the request, your offline battle will be paused and you will enter the online battle. Once that finishes, the game will return you back to your offline battle in the exact place where you left off. This subtle feature alone makes the online experience all the richer. Of course this feature can be set to on or off, depending on if you don’t mind receiving requests while playing offline.

If you decide to go online and take on the world, you are given two options for combat: friendly player matches or ranked matches. What separates the two modes is that within ranked battles, you earn battles points which are used to show your skill level via the leaderboards and to help with the matchmaking system also included within the online system. Many are wondering how the lag will be when playing online, and to tell you the truth I have only experienced 3 battles in which the framerate wasn’t stable. The situations weren’t too bad, but the slowdown was enough to cause issues with performing certain maneuvers. There is no need to fear playing online; mostly everyone has a solid internet connection, so you can enjoy fast-paced action from the beginning of the match till the final blow has been given.

Street Fighter IV takes the supreme legacy of the Street Fighter series to new heights with reworked visuals, a solid and well-balanced character roster, solid gameplay mechanics and an impressive audio score. Whether you are new to the series or a tried and true veteran, SFIV can and will welcome you with open arms. Capcom has started 2009 off with a big bang by releasing Street Fighter IV. Plus with the advent of DLC, gamers can expect much more quality content to come their way in the near future.


Other Review Scores:
TestFreaks: 10/10
GameZone: 9.3/10
GamesRadar: 10/10

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