Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition (Nintendo 3DS) Review
Street Fighter and Nintendo went hand-in-hand back when the series started almost twenty five years ago, merrily skipping away on the SNES with Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and fan favourite Super Street Fighter II: Turbo. Controllers were severely beaten, friendships made and sometimes lost, and the love for the classic 16-bit Street Fighter games is still strong to the present day.
From then on Capcom brewed an endless stream of updated versions, some on the Game Boy, and ventured into the 3D realm with Sony's PlayStation. Things finally settled down with Street Fighter III, but sadly Nintendo fans missed out. It then went quiet, a little too quiet. Whilst the likes of Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li had their fill in Capcom's cross-over games, books and animation, there was a distinct lack of the pure 2D fighting that had made the series so popular in the first place. Step into the now rather dusty ring, Street Fighter IV. Boasting a new look but the same love and care for the characters and settings, the 2009 game was heavily praised by long-term fans and the press alike. However, Nintendo players were still left twiddling their thumbs as a Wii version was heavily rumoured but still has yet to surface.
After a decade of wondering when Street Fighter would come home, Nintendo 3DS is now finally playing host to Super Street Fighter IV, bringing the near-complete experience to the new portable and adding a handful of neat exclusive features for good measure. In the past, we'd have stripped down portable versions with tricky, limited controls and whilst fun, these weren't nearly as engaging as the home console editions. What we have with Super Street Fighter IV 3DS, however, is a near-perfect port that lets you carry on battling well outside the living room, with all the moves and characters that have already dominated your life.
The premise and system has essentially remained unchanged in what's creeping up to a quarter of a century of fighting. You nip to various locations across the world, choosing one of thirty-five varied and interesting warriors to do battle through punches, kicks, sweeps and fireballs. Add a second player and limitless battles can ensue! It's classic fighting at its finest, and we certainly aren't disappointed.
Whilst hardcore fans can fairly easily get into the swing of things, Capcom have been eager to introduce newer players to the mix - those who are likely used to touch screen devices like Apple's iPod, Nintendo DS and now the 3DS. Street Fighter is renowned for intricate moves and button presses; the more clued up you are, the greater chance you'll be able to overcome your human and computer foes through cleverly strung-together combos. Whilst it isn't terribly hard to learn the basic special moves, in order to cater for everyone there's a rather nifty system in place on the touch screen known as ‘Light’. It essentially lets you map four moves or button combinations in to each of the four corners, letting you unleash barrage of attacks such as a ‘Hyper combo’, or even a pair of button presses to make up for the lack of buttons. You can go on forever using the shortcut panels, but the control scheme can also act as a bridge for newcomers to learn and get to grips with the game, gradually using it less and less. The customisation options for even the simplest feature are here in abundance - you're able to fully map each of the four boxes as much or as little as needed, and eventually you can turn off the feature once you have enough confidence to turn pro. It feels surprisingly seamless, a quick tap of either thumb and the job’s done, though we certainly wouldn't recommend using a stylus!
With moves sorted, there’s one other key to Street Fighter mastery: movement. Seasoned players will usually opt for the arcade setup: a meaty joystick and large, responsive buttons, whereas traditional Nintendo players would probably prefer the four way approach. Both come together on the 3DS with the use of the Circle Pad or D-pad. With there being so much directional movement - back, forth, a jump or crouch here and there - the execution is crucial. After some time spent with the Circle Pad as the default method, using it does work for standard fights - pulling off a fireball or two is consistent and easy from the offset - but when your strategy requires a little more intricacy, then the D-pad does give that traditional feeling and added accuracy. It is a little tucked away on the 3DS hardware though, and with extended use it may cause some discomfort for those with larger paws!
Fights run as smooth as butter on the ickle 3DS screen, dosed with slick, immediately reactive animation with absolutely no button lag or hardware jitters, especially when playing others online or through local wireless. Characters are beautifully rendered to be as close as possible to their high-definition counterparts, licked with woven shirt ruffles, delicate accessories and gently swaying hair. Put simply, it looks visually impressive, especially for a port of a full console game. That's when the 3D slider is firmly set to zero, playing in standard 2D. With a quick flick we're invited into a whole new world, expansive and almost so real that you feel as if you could burst your fingers through the screen and give Ryu a well-earned back rub or tickle Chun-Li into submission. Capcom has implemented clever techniques to really make the most out of the two images needed for 3D - fighters are clearly standing in the foreground, non-playable models sitting in the middle and lightly sketched flat scenery gracing the background. When playing in the traditional side-on view using 3D doesn't exactly add too much to the gameplay itself, but does add that extra level to fights and even the menu screens themselves.
The technique goes even further with the new 3D Versus feature: an entire mode specifically designed for the 3DS and portable gaming in mind. Here the camera takes an unconventional approach by panning behind the player for an ‘over the shoulder’ view; not quite as in a third person adventure, but slightly offset. If you're a regular Street Fighter enthusiast, or have played any fighting game extensively, then 3D Versus will prove confusing but compelling. In the first handful of fights, it just feels plain odd. As you begin to adapt to the new camera design, though, there are some neat benefits - characters appear far closer, you start to see those fine details drawing closer to your eyes, with punches and kicks given that extra sense that you’re really pounding the opponent. It's almost stepping into their virtual shoes, or at least standing ever closer than before. The mode is certainly not for everyone: the most hardcore of players might be swayed to add variation into the mix, but others may give up their thumbs before doing using it. Fortunately, it's entirely optional and is accessible as an alternative and as an exciting way to introduce the game to friends.
Alongside the arcade and versus features, there's also a trio of classic mini-games labelled as ‘challenges’ to compete in. Two you'll be familiar with from past Street Fighter epics - the ‘Car Crusher’ and ‘Barrel Buster’ make welcome returns, this time rendered in 3D. Pounding a poor, defenceless car into metallic submission is fairly standard, but timing attacks on 3D falling barrels is a tad bit trickier. Judging the distance does take a lot more effort and makes it more of a chore more than anything else. There are also a series of trials, essentially a string of moves per character, divided up into 24 different levels. Pull off the move and it's onto the next. Whilst it's useful feature to learn special moves and for combo building, there's a lack of an on-screen move display; a little too fiddly to be productive.
If collecting is the name of your game, then there are 500 - yes, 500 - different figures or trophies to unlock - the first set of thirty five available by default. Each offer a different pose and stats to be used in wireless battles. Aside from battling these in StreetPass, you can't really do too much with your virtual figurines, except load them on screen. They are as detailed as the in-game models, but there is no ability to zoom in, rotate or even use as part of Nintendo's Augmented Reality.
On what seems the unlikely event that players exhaust the solo arcade, training, challenge and figure collecting, there's also a whole world of eager Super Street Fighter IV 3D players to engage with both on and offline. If you're expecting a lot of lag and connectivity issues, look elsewhere. Competing online is a joy and we must say that little bit more addictive than pounding regular CPU opponents; it's surprisingly fluid and as responsive as battling offline. We did encounter a handful of players that did cause some minor delay, but when the connection is stable, fighting wirelessly is a joy in the palm of your hands. Unfortunately we got majorly custard-creamed against the randomers, but there are a handful of customisation options to compensate - you're able to set a skill level, region, number of rounds and even whether the control types matches to seek those you'd be comfortable battling. Win and you'll earn Player Points that determine your skill. After at least thirty matches, we're happy to wear a big ‘0 Player Points’ on our 3DS chest. For shame!
Can't find players online? There are a whole host of local wireless features to continue the fight even when the 3DS is on standby. Versus play gives you a wholesome set of options to fight or view local matches in ‘Channel Live’ lobbies. Like online, you’re greeted with fluid, responsive battles, unless your opponent breaks the 3DS in fury! Download play is also present to share the game with other 3DS users, but you're limited to using Ryu only. Slightly disappointing, but it gives a good taste and incentive for players to get hold of a full copy! Close the 3DS lid and StreetPass kicks in, utilising your collected figures to kick virtual bottom without you knowing. If you’re in the range of a fellow Super Street Fighter IV 3D and have a StreetPass team selected, your figures will battle others in a bid for anonymous winner status. There is a surprising layer of depth on offer, and each character figure is available in up to seven levels, with varying health and attack power. It's a neat addition to an already meaty fighter that gives that extra dollop fun even when the game isn't in the cartridge slot.
Remaining almost identical to the high-definition counterpart, Super Street Fighter IV 3D offers button perfect, solid gameplay that's open to the hardcore followers and newer players alike. The added touch-screen shortcuts and 3D versus mode bring a new sense of depth and a worthy alternative to play. A complete character roster, fluid online play, local wireless, StreetPass functionality are the icing on the scrumptious 3DS cake.
Again, near identical to the console and arcade versions in presentation. Slick cutscenes (though in 2D only) and well modelled 3D models add to the already solid gameplay, all running stutter free and smoothly in the palm of your hands. 3D isn't distracting and does offer that extra layer of depth - not critical to play, but a worthwhile addition.
A familiar soundtrack intertwined with a dollop of modern influences. Recreated pitch perfect from the previous editions of Super Street Fighter IV, the selection is deep and relevant. You'll be toe-tapping and bopping in no-time. Without headphones Capcom have utilised the speakers well, with a decent balance between character grunts, hits and background music. Pop on a pair and you're in aural heaven!
A wealth of customisation options offer flexibility in all the modes. With two viewpoints, thirty five unique characters, local, online and figure hunting, there's a mammoth amount to replay and enjoy. Unless you're not a fan of fighting games, Super Street Fighter IV 3D will keep you going for some time.
A near perfect conversion of a fan favourite entry in the long-running Street Fighter franchise. Capcom haven't settled for a straight-up five minute port. Instead we have a refined, solid experience that's heightened with the inclusion of well designed 3D camera work and a smooth, rewarding online experience to keep you competing for a long while yet. One of the best and most considered titles of the 3DS launch line-up, and certainly a game we wouldn't hesitate recommending to complement your new portable.
I played this extensively back at the 3DS event in Amsterdam at the end of January and fell in love with SF all over again. I've barely touched the series since the SNES days, but jumping back into this 3DS edition brought back so many fond memories. Brilliant game, and just goes to show how much care and attention Capcom put into this, rather than making a quick and dirty port.
Excellent review! I'm really looking forward to this game, as it's going to be my only 3DS game till Ocarina of Time arrives. I've never really been into fighting games and the only fighting game I've ever played for a good while was Soul Calibur II on the Gamecube. Link was in that, so I couldn't possibly resist. Going to be my first time playing Street Fighter as well.
I'd like to stress the point that Super Street Fighter II: Turbo was never released on a Nintendo system until it was ported to the GBA much later. Super Street Fighter II was on the SNES, but Super Street Fighter II: Turbo (which included the hidden character Akuma) was released on 3DO (and other systems later on), not the SNES. Just to be accurate .
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Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
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G-g-g-g-guest! (guest) 23.03.2011 23:07#5
That's funny, because I have a copy of Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES upstairs!
I've decided to go for this as my launch title now. I debated between Pilotwings and Monkey Ball, but neither deserve my money IMO. Capcom deserve success with this just for taking advantage of all the features. As ONM said, it feels like a title from a year into the cycle instead of a launch one.
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Add me on anything. I'm always looking for new friends/opponents/town visitors/chances to appear more popular than I actually am.
It is much better than I thought it was going to be. The 3D is amazing and the online does not have bad lag, considering it is wireless. So it is a real swell game. It is the best launch title out there.
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SuperYoshi6 PSN name 3DS friend code 2878-9581-8999