Game Review: Street Fighter IV

AllHipHop Staff

Developer/Publisher: CapcomPlatform: XBOX 360

Players: 1-2Release Date: 2/17/09

Rating: A-

It’s been nearly twelve years since Street Fighter III. After two subsequent installments and die-hard Street Fighter fans questioning Capcom about the next title, the company finally decided it was about time to give us what we wanted. Despite the fact that it took a decade for us to get our hands on the latest entrant in the series, Street Fighter IV, it was certainly worth the wait.

SFIV essentially takes the series back to its roots. While Street Fighter III was a critically acclaimed title, it has a much steeper learning cure than any other game in the series. SFIV was more of a progression towards the older mechanics of the first two games rather than the third.

Gone are the Super Arts, parries, and stun gauge; while these don’t make a return, some aspects return from SFIII, including EX attacks, throws being performed with the light attack buttons, and the quick dash. With some of these features absent, SFIV garners more of a classic feel. It’s essentially a new-school fighter with an old-school twist.

SFIV is much more easily accessible to new players or old players who haven’t played in years but want to pick the game back up. The move lists of the twelve original characters are historically preserved, and the four new characters fit perfectly in the fray. The addition of EX moves and focus attacks really deepen the learning curve of the game.

The graphics are visually stunning. Paying homage to Street Fighter EX, Capcom decided to follow a more hand-drawn cell-shaded art style this time around. Calligraphy brush effects trail various characters moves and beautiful explosions erupt from various special moves.

The graphics are meticulous, even down to the character’s facial expressions, showing rage and concentration when initiating a super or ultra move, and surprise and urgency when they are on the receiving end. Details on muscles, distressed clothing, and even spectators in the background really bring the game to life.

The character’s various stories are told through in-game cinematic sequences; a first for the series. They definitely provide some background in terms of letting players know why their characters are fighting their rivals. There are anime sequences at the beginning and end of the game. While they may sometimes explain what’s going on story-wise, they really fall short for the most part.

This is one of the very few areas that it seems like Capcom dropped the ball.

Even the subtle sounds of the game enhance the experience. Cheers from children, gun shots from troops, and environmental effects are all showcased. The characters grunts and voice acting are spot-on. The game even gives players the option to have Japanese or English voices for those that may want to take their gaming experience even further.

There are plenty of things to accomplish, so those medal hunters and enthusiasts that seek 100% completion on their games will never run out of things to earn. Additional colors and taunts are available through completing various trials and challenge modes. The replay value of the game really soars when you think about finishing every single trial for the game’s twenty five characters.

The introduction of online play is great for players that are looking for genuine competition. The only downfall in this area is that some players have slower connections, inevitably slowing down the gameplay. Ranked play is available for more serious players, and player matches are available for players just looking for casual matches.

Street Fighter IV is definitely a strong entrant in the series. Whether seasoned veteran or newbie, the game offers something for everyone. It’s too bad we’ll probably have to wait until 2019 to see Street Fighter V.

Street Fighter IV Trailer: