Saturday, October 13, 2012

Streetfighter IV review



    The Streetfighter franchise should never die but, honestly, I'm not really sure what else can be done with it. Gone is the era of arcades when you would stick 40 quarters into the slot in the vain hope of beating the guy who actually knew how to play the game versus your button mashing. Hmm? Oh, just me? Sorry.

     Streetfighter IV offers the opportunity for capturing the essence of this through Multiplayer but I don't think it'll have quite the same magic. Victory is only sweet if you can see the hope dimming in your enemies eyes. Knowing that he's wasted his lunch oney attempting to destroy you only to find that all those months of getting your ass beat have paid off. Just me? Again? Damn.

    Ahem.

    As you may have guessed, I'm an aficionado of the franchise. I was never terribly good at the arcade games but I could massacre my opposition on the home console, particularly while spamming Hundred Hand Slap. I first became aware video game characters could be sexy with Cammy, though this is more a personal shame than pride. I also developed an unhealthy adoration for Chun-Li, writing fanfic about her. Pretend you didn't read those last two comments.

    The fact is, there's no way I could be biased about this game. I grew up with Streetfighter II on the Super NES and played it until high school. I read the entire Udon comics series and even bought all three of the abyssmal Malibu comics as they came out. I bought every single animated adaptation but the USA cartoon. I even went to see Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li in theatres despite the fact I knew it would blow chunks.

     I love the Streetfighter franchise and wish it nothing but good things. Which means I'm going to give this game an unreasonably high rating despite its serious flaws. Keep this in mind when you are reading my comments.

The re-envisioning of classic stages like Chun-Li's Chinese market is like a wave of nostalgia hitting your face.
    The premise of Streetfighter IV is no different from any of the previous games. There's a tournament being hosted by S.I.N (never called "sin" only spelled out) which is a warmed over Shadoloo. The game's final boss, Seth, is cloning martial artists or attempting to copy their powers. It doesn't matter. The backstory is only there to get all of the World Warriors together so they can duke it out. You can't judge a fighting game on storyline depth.

    Except, you kind of can. At least here.

    The game makes the mistake of giving every single character an animated introduction to the game. This would normally be a good thing, establishing all the characters and giving us a feel for the cartoony martial arts rules the world operates by. Unfortunately, the animated sequences are not just badly written but damn well nonsensical.

     Some are okay like Dan Hibiki's perpetual loser status being shown in full but others are plain weird or confusing. New character Abel's animated sequence consists of him walking up to Chun-Li and asking, "Hey, I hear there's a fighting tournament. Can I join?" A skippable story mode would have made the game much more enjoyable.

    Streetfighter IV introduces a few new characters to the roster of World Warriors with mixed results. Crimson Viper is intriguing as is Juri but I could take or leave Abel and Rufus. El Fuerte is likely to be less popular with Mexicans than T. Hawk, which I didn't think was possible. They're Streetfighter characters, though, it's not like they're supposed to have have Citizen Kane-level backstories.

    One thing I enjoyed by the game is the establishment of rivalries. Basically, right before you face the final Boss, you get to fight a character who has some relationship to your character. The choice of rivals is occasionally a little spotty, though. For example, Fei Long and Abel have no prior relationship yet are apparently rivals. Apparently, Abel saw a movie of Fei Long's once and is really honored to fight him. Fei Long is like, cool, let's get it on. Surely, Chun-Li would have been a better choice as his rival or even Ken.

     One thing that did annoy me in the game is the fact you have to unlock certain characters by beating the game with other ones. You have to first beat the game with Ryu in order to unlock Sakura and then beat the game with Sakura so you can unlock Dan. This isn't a bad thing since it certainly adds to the replay value but I wanted to play Fei Long from the very beginning and it took looking it up on the internet to discover beating the game with Abel was necessary to unlock him.

    In conclusion, I really liked the game and think it's an excellent purchase for fans of the series. Don't expect much in the way of storyline and be prepared to play the game multiple times in order to get all the characters you want unlocked but, otherwise, it's a fun afternoon's pastime. The price is right too, having picked up my copy of the game for six dollars at my local Gamestop.

8/10

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