I have never been a fighting game guru, but when I was given the chance to review Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition on the Nintendo 3DS, I kinda jumped at the chance to give this portable version a whirl. I played a pre-release version in February of this year, and back then I found that the game was user friendly for the casual gamer or noob to the genre. Well given that the 3DS is on store shelves now, and I have had some time with Capcom’s newest portable fighter and I thought I would share my thoughts with all you crazy readers out there.
If anyone expected a deep and engaging story in a Street Fighter game, they don’t know what the series is about…fighting. Sure, each character has some semblance of a mission for the main mode, but overall it is not a story that gamers will find themselves wanting to follow. If you are playing a Street Fighter game then you are playing the game for the combat, graphics, and chance to dominate your friends. ‘Nuff said!!!!
Surprisingly enough, Capcom has done a great job of porting over the big console versions to the smaller and less powerful 3DS. You will find a total of 35 fighters to choose from, including those that were added to the Xbox 360/PS3 after the launch of those versions. For each character you’ll find a wide variance of costumes as well, ranging from traditional, alternate and different colors for each. All in all you’ll be able to choose any character and change up their look quite often. There are also a lot of locales to battle in, as Capcom has created a lot of levels.
Ok, the game has a lot of content, but how does it play. Well given Capcom’s fighting game heritage, it plays darn well. All the moves of the bigger consoles have made it to this 3DS version. From simple moves to thumb numbing button and d-pad presses, all is intact. One thing that has always kept me from the hardcore fighting games is the complexity of the moves that is needed to be REALLY successful. These games are also usually ported over from arcade units, which usually have six buttons for attacks. Street Fighter IV 3D is one such game as it employs three types of punches and three types of kicks. Capcom has adjusted the control to use the four face buttons, as well as the two shoulder buttons of the 3DS. Overall the control works fairly well, but you will find your fingers cramping up after some long extended gaming sessions.
To make the game a little more ‘friendly’ to people like me, Capcom has taken the unusual step of utilizing the touch screen for control. Here the screen is broken up into four quarters, with each quarter representing a single button. These additional buttons are then used in one of two types of modes: Lite control or Pro control.
Lite control allows you to use the touch screen buttons to pull off special moves and combo moves. This allows casual gamers or noobs to the genre to pull off the challenging moves with some ease. These buttons ‘light up’ when they are ready to use and by simply pressing them your on-screen character can be quite an efficient fighter.
The Pro control mode is a bit more restrictive as it only assigns basic buttons or simultaneous button presses to each separate button. This allows the more traditionalist to have a bit more challenge given they will still have to hit the buttons in specific combinations to pull off special moves without the assistance. For the true hardcore fighting fan who wants no touch screen at all, you can turn it off and only use the face and shoulder buttons.
I found that I preferred the Lite controls, as I was able to pull off some special moves without any trouble. Sure, it is not the most pure approach, and gives anyone a bit of an advantage, but hey, it allows anyone the ability to play the game and it allows the true rookie to stand a chance against those fighting specialists.
In terms of the computer AI, you can adjust the skill level to suit your own needs. This is nice as you can set it to one of many different skill settings for many different challenges depending on your skill level. I was able to be somewhat successful in the default setting and there was still wiggle room for the game to become harder or easier.
For those looking for a bit more than a Versus mode (e.g. versus AI or versus other people) there are Challenge and Training modes, as well as the ability to replay bonus games. For an added incentive, there is a new ability to collect character figures. As you progress through the game, or earn PlayCoins through the 3DS’s pedometer function mode, you can purchase in-game collectible figurines. These figurines have their own combat stats and you can assemble a battle-ready team of five of them. When your 3DS is in sleep mode you can automatically connect to other gamer’s systems via the StreetPass feature and have your system battle each other 3DS owners. Once this occurs the battle results are tallied up, and experience and points are awarded to each person. This allows you to continue to upgrade as well and it allows you to eventually buy more collectible in-game figurines.
A Street Fighter game wouldn’t be a Street Fighter game without multiplayer madness, and the 3DS version does this in spades. From playing locally to playing over the World Wide Web, there is something here for everyone. There is a bevy of options too and anyone can find a match to meet their gaming needs. Online the game was spotty prior to the launch of the 3DS, and since the launch I have found my online games hit and miss. Overall it is hard to put a twitch fighter over the Internet, but overall I have had some good games now and then, when I manage to get the time to play.
I did not have the chance to play any local Wi-Fi games when writing this review prior to the retail release.
Visually, I found that Street Fighter IV 3D was a good-looking game. Capcom did a great job of porting the title over to Nintendo’s newest handheld device. The game is very colourful and the characters animate well. There does seem to be some sacrifices in the background though. I know I haven’t played a lot of Street Fighter games in the past, but those that I have watched, and the few that I have played, seemed to have more going on in the background then what I saw here. Don’t get me wrong, there is some nice backgrounds, but overall it seems to be a little more static than those games of past. For those true fans out there, don’t worry, there is still a lot going on on-screen at once and there are some great looking special moves that retain that Street Fighter look, special effects and all.
In terms of the 3D effects, given that Street Fighter has been a 2D game over the years, you would not expect the series to utilize this feature with success. Well I have to say I was pleasantly surprised but not overwhelmed in this area. When you turn the 3D slider on, the levels have a new field of depth not found in most Street Fighter games. Capcom, not to let Nintendo fighting fans down, have also implemented a new 3D specific mode called 3D Versus. Here the camera shifts to a slightly over the shoulder view and the 3D power of the 3DS becomes more evident. It is a neat feature and something that lets you show off the ability of Nintendo’s newest handheld. That being said, it is not always something that you will play, but it is a nice feature to have to try out now and then.
I found the audio in Street Fighter IV 3D to be more than serviceable. The music is varied throughout the numerous levels and adds to each fight. The sound effects that are featured in the game are also good, as each punch, kick, scream and grunt sounds solid. There is even some voice acting for each character, and although somewhat cheesy at times, it does add to the overall experience.
On a side note, I have to say that I was surprised by the quality of the sound of the 3DS speakers. Although I credit the games themselves, and Street Fighter IV 3D falls into this category, the improved quality of the speakers and processing of the 3DS adds to the overall experience of the sound, from the impact sound effects can have to spatial effects (e.g. stereo separation) that seem to be clearly present.
I have to say at the end of the day I was quite surprised with how much Capcom packed onto the 3DS game card. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is a great game to showcase the early power of the 3DS, as well as a great way to show how good games are made. The inclusion of the touch screen controls for the Street Fighter noob is a great way to get more people into the series. Overall, this game has solid graphics, great sound, and addictive gameplay with some great multiplayer options that anyone who loves fighting games, and those looking to try, will be happy about as they pick up and play this early launch title for the 3DS.