Streetfighter IV: A Lone Gamer’s Two Cents

Wow, tons of Streetfighter IV gushing reviews out there. To be fair, the game is an achievement- it brought back a franchise that had steadily been fading due to absence in a genre that is as of late kept going only by the best of the best, where all the pretenders have given up or dropped off into obscurity. There are questionable elements that I do not necessarily agree with- the odd placement of this ‘sequel’ between the time SF2 and SF3, the ‘chunky’ art style and the shift to 3D graphics (something Capcom fighters have never been traditionally strong in). What resulted is a stylized title, easily a new favorite and instant classic for fighting game fans, and a return to form. It mixes in a lot (maybe too much) of the old with some new elements to create this energetic and fun next-gen title.

Streetfighter IV looks great- the characters in hi-res aren’t the most impressive… I’ve been spoiled by the far more detailed models in Virtua Fighter 5 and Tekken 6… however, the energetically-animated fighters have a charm all their own which i have grown to like. Yeah, it’s painful to watch Rufus, but man, the game makes up for it with hot babes so that passes ‘A’ in my book. The attacks are wonderfully frenetic and the facial animations show the punishment dished out evocatively.

Gameplay is, well, it’s Streetfighter. Despite being in 3D, it’s 2D fighting all the way. Which is great since you can basically just do your classic combos along with the new ‘Focus’ attacks and Ultras and Revenge stuff. Supposedly you can just jump in even with just the simple knowledge of doing a Hadoken fireball motion, or at least the rudimentary timing of Charge Moves, and you should be all right.

But NOPE. The game is not particularly friendly to casual noobs or people just jumping in, for at least two reasons. One, the training/challenge mode is bare bones and gives little to no help in actually telling you how to do the complex new combos or supers- you have to figure that out for yourself. And if you’re just a casual gamer (at least as casual like me), you won’t find the incentive to do this. There’s just no reward for it, other than the ability to kick ass more with your friends or online opponents. For casual gamers, that’s a deal breaker.

Second, in the Single Player Arcade Mode, unless you’re very competent to highly skilled, you will find total frustration when you come up against the BRICK WALL which is Seth, the End Boss. Easily the Cheapest, Most Broken BASTARD in the history of the franchise, Seth on at LEAST Easy setting is controller-shatteringly HARD. He ignores combos and grabs you out of your attacks, he teleports with no lag at will so you jump right into his dozen-hit Dragon Punches or his Ten-hit Super Kicks, or he’ll whittle you down with Triple Sonic Booms. Block a split-second too long, and he’ll throw you- with a freakin’ Spinning Piledriver every time. And THEN there’s his damn super that sucks you in and then spits you out like a ball of snot; you haven’t known frustration until he does this to you when you have about a millimeter of health. WHAT. A. BASTARD. Easily someone in Capcom EFFED UP on Seth’s difficulty. Someone EFFED UP BIGTIME.

Let me tell you this- I have been playing SF since the Super NES. I have never been this stumped with any fighting game boss. Seth creamed me again and again (fighting as Chun Li) until I just gave up. It’s made doubly frustrating that you have to fight two rounds- the first round where he just spams moves over and over and basically just PRETENDS to fight. Then the second round… Rub in your face salt in your wounds hard. I The only way I could win? Set the freakin’ game on Easiest. EASIEST.

Now, unless you’re incredibly lucky or highly skilled, you WILL get frustrated by this bastard, unless you set the A.I. level to MORONIC. This basically KILLS the single player game, as there’s no other way to play. Way to go, devs.

Not that there’s much to SFIV’s Arcade mode anyway, aside from unlocking the various hidden fighters (once you do that, no reason to go back, I guess). The Anime openings and endings much touted earlier on are, in a word, laughable, and not in a good way. Nope, they’re crappy low budget stuff that isn’t worth at all the effort enduring Seth.

There’s not much in terms of customization either- the concept is alien to Capcom, even though Sega and Namco have been doing it and thriving for the past couple of years. Nope, aside from the hidden returning faces, you’ll work to unlock extra colors and taunts. Looking for Alternate Outfits? Well, they exist- online. You have to BUY them. I guess there wasn’t room enough on the discs for Chun Li’s extra skin exposure in her sexy dress, or Ryu’s extra muscle showing in his ‘ripped gi’.

So what are you left with? You have a 3D SF2, which is fine for hardcore SF fans who just can’t get enough Hadokens, or have Shoryuken motions hardwired to their nerve endings. It’s much better if you regularly have friends over or a fast internet connection since that is how SFIV needs to be played- with Human Opponents. As a competitive one-on-one fighter, this is pretty much tops right now. The online (I haven’t tried) is supposedly excellent, and I’ll try it sometime.

However, for those who are mainly single players, or have already played and gotten tired of SF2… There’s nothing much here to excite you. If you’re waiting for Tekken 6 or VF5R or used to SCIV and expecting voluminous rosters and tons of story mode stuff and extras and customizations… you won’t find a good substitute with SFIV. Chances are, like me, you’ll play a bit, get stumped by Seth, and chuck the disc off to the side as you go on Youtube to check the latest Tekken 6BR uploads and continue pining for Namco-Bandai’s uber-fighter for fall. Capcom polished the game mechanics, but at the last minute scrimped on the trimmings, which is disappointing. If you’re okay with the bare essentials, then good for you- enjoy.

I’m happy that SFIV is a success, for the franchise’s sake. I hope that the series continues, and next time going forward instead of regurgitating storylines and characters we’ve digested and redigested over and over for the past decade. I just know that SFIV came and while it’s admirable, the flaws are there and hopefully will be addressed. More work on customization and a solid single-player experience will go a long way to making a future SFIV really accessible to more players, and not just lip service to make the hardcore players and fanboys feel they’re doing everyone a service. And freakin’ GET RID OF SETH.

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18 Responses to “Streetfighter IV: A Lone Gamer’s Two Cents”

  1. greghorrorshow Says:

    Nice write up, shame about Seth – had heard he was pretty hardcore. Maybe they can patch it to fix the difficulty? Although in this day and age they shouldn’t have to resort to that!

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Check out my review of The International: http://greghorrorshow.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/the-international-review/

  2. I guess I wont be getting SFIV after all then. Never was really into SF to begin with. Guess I’ll stick with Tekken, Soul Calibur and Virtua Fighter. And yes, the graphics are nothing compared to the three games above, which is a shame, really.

  3. i couldn’t agree more, i was so disappointed when i played it for the first time ( i sold Tomb Raider and Dead Space for this game). Each character has like 5 moves and that’s it after that u just repeat them over and over !!! u said Seth is a bastard but ABEL is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much worse, all he does is throw you until you die and yo u can’t do anything…argg, and yeah the graphics are not even that good, i don’t know if it’s a little bit of cell shading or just basic 3D…the animation is cool though. I don’t understand why everyone is so in love with the series, Tekken is soooooo MUCH BETTER compared to SF4, can’t wait for Tekken 6, i won’t need any other game after i get this one…

  4. I have to agree as well about Abel- all he does is throw, with his looooong throw animations. I hate the design and the character, he’s so freakin’ generic and blah, and his moves are just overdone, perhaps because they tried too much to make him ‘cool’.

  5. Well he’s french that’s why hahaha (and i am too btw ) but yeah he’s so annoying !! i think my favorite character is either Chun Li or Sakura. Anyway, i just got Killzone 2, what did you think ? i almost puked for the firts 20 min, too many things going on at the same time arrrhh….

    • Chun Li, Sakura and Cammy save SFIV from being completely blah for me as well.

      Haven’t gotten Killzone 2 yet, but I’ve seen the review on Gametrailers and it looks awesome sweet. Not sure I’ll get it since I got Gears of War and I haven’t finished it yet. Not much into Sci-Fi shooters, I guess… but I am getting ready for RE5.

  6. well me too, i can’t wait for RE5 that i’m sure to like (i’ve played the demo a hundred times already) Killzone 2 idk, i’m not big fan of FPS games usually but i loved Gears of War, i think i bought it for the graphics which are not that impressive btw. I’m getting One Chanbara bikini samurai squad soon, it looks so much fun ! playing a hot chick slashing zombies with katanas, what more can you ask ?

  7. I wont be getting RE5, the gameplay turned me off, as well as the control scheme. Don’t think I’ll get KillZone 2 either, already got COD5 and playing that a lot, so no need for more FPS. I’m definitely passing SFIV, I’ll wait till Tekken 6 hits the PS3. For the time being, I’ll get back to the arcades to my Rogue Lars. 😀

  8. Erwan- I got a copy of Oneechanbara Vortex (Japanese version), so that’s enough for me. You really don’t need to understand what they’re saying to appreciate bikini babes taking down zombies ^__^

    ZeroX- I’m not too fond of RE5’s controls either- I played the demo and it was HARD, and not particularly in a good way. Maybe once I play with it more, I’ll get used to it. I have to… I just have to know what happened to Jill…! Heheh.
    As for SFIV… yeah, it’s a pass. I’m really disappointed in it, though I want to try and play it again just to get my money’s worth at least. Tekken 6… goddamn I want that game already. My kingdom for a freakin’ Cold Sleep machine…

  9. Japanese version ? How can you play ? the Xbox360 is not region free, is it ? and yeah i don’t need to understand, i have the PS2 version already but i need the new one !!!

    Really ? were you that shocked about RE5 controls ? If you played RE4 it wouldn’t be a surprise, i’m ok with it, Chris is a little slow i admit but once you get used to it it’s all smooth. But yeah when you have to aim the leg for example it gets a little annoying, it takes him too damn long…
    haha what happened to Jill, i think we all know now…too bad Capcom spoiled it for us !

    • My first Xbox360 was Japanese, which 3RL’ed, and the current one is Asian. So either my games are Japanese, Asian versions or region-free games. The 360 version of Oneechanbara is lots better than the PS2 versions for the simple reason of the customizations- you can dress the babes up in just bikinis or lingerie, something beyond the earlier versions. ^_^

      I found the RE5 difficult- well, I just tried it once, and I haven’t played RE4 in a loooong time. I just need practice. As for Jill… well, there are many theories and it seems obvious what’s going on. That we know (or think we know) what’s gonna happen doesn’t necessarily affect how we feel when we actually see it happen. Take FFVII, for example… heheh. All I can say is I hope it all turns out well.

  10. yeah, maybe they made Chris so slow because he’s so buff so it would be realistic. I mean , i’m just guessing… yeah i agree even though we know what’s obviously gonna happen i still want to play more than ever !! I heard the game is exactly like RE4 which is kind of disappointing but well, we’ll see, i’m sure the game is a pure bomb !…What do you mean with FFVII, did you know something was going to happen when you played the game for the first time ? because i was so shocked when Aeris died !

    Yeah i can’t wait to play Oneechanbara, how’s the new girl ? the blonde with the guns ? I also saw in the video that you fight a huge whale (???)

    • I’m actually fine with the fact that you can’t move when you shoot in RE5… adds to the tension. A proper FPS shooter like Left 4 Dead isn’t really RE5, I’d think.
      As for FFVII, yes, I was referring to Aeris’ death. I had read the guide some time before I played the game, so I knew what was going to happen… but it still hurt when it did. The music, the sights, the simple fact that there was an emotional attachment to her by that time… sigh. Oh well.
      As for Oneechanbara, the blonde girl, Annna, is a cop who uses guns- you switch between machine guns, shotguns or pistols. She’s fun, but you have to run a lot since enemies will try to mob her. Weaker than the sword girls but good for a nice change. And she’s hot, as usual.

  11. Man, how could you read the guide before playing !! this game is epic, i haven’t played a game that moved me as much as FFVII since it came out. and that’s a shame !! I can’t find a single game that has the same heart wrenching story. Games now are sure pretty but they don’t make me as excited as before.

    I really need to get Oneechanbara, i checked yesterday, it’s not out yet here grrrrr. I want to slice zombies so bad !!!!

    As for Left 4 Dead, this game looks crazy !! i wouldn’t want to play that, the zombies are way too fast, it would cause me heart attack.

    btw are you getting Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete with the FFXIII demo ?

  12. Not sure about FFVII AC Complete… interested, but I won’t go out of my way to get it.

  13. I wont be getting the FFXIII Demo with it. I’d rather the movie on its own. I’m sure the FFXIII Demo would be up on the PSN store sooner or later.

  14. I’m not really that excited about FFXIII. Nothing about it screams GET ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE yet. Nothing about story or characters hooks me just yet. It kinda looks like a hi-res, HD FFXII, which I wasn’t that hot with. It’s Final Fantasy… maybe it’ll grow on me. Eventually.

  15. well i was excited about FFXIII until it was announced for Xbox 360, then i kind of lost interest in that game, i’m still curious though. I’m not sure about the characters, nothing original, i’d prefer to play FFXIII versus. I don’t think it will be like FFXII though, if you saw the last trailer, they showed in game battles which reminded me of FFX. Come on , Square Enix can’t go wrong with this one , especially if it’s the first on a next gen console.

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