|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
However, don't expect to be able to pull off ridiculous moves with all the characters, as every character's move set is unique in true Street Fighter style. In fact, many of the fighters are very difficult to use effectively. Naturally, playing as Ryu, Ken, Sagat, Dhalsim, Chun Li, and E. Honda are a breeze; with about 15 minutes in the Training Mode, all of their moves can be mastered.
Conversely, fighting with the likes of M. Bison, Vega, and some of the unlockable characters can be quite challenging. Indeed, look for online players to constantly select Ken and Ryu without ever getting too adventurous for fear of getting their butts handed to them. Unfortunately, this may be the biggest complaint I have for SFIV. Players will likely master just a few of the characters due to the steep learning curve - never branching out or exploring the breadth of the cast. Indeed, novice gamers will never be able to effectively initiate most of the more challenging moves from the host of available characters.
Then again, you can't fault the devs for players' decisions to stay in their comfort zones. After all, they do provide for an excellent tutorial via the Challenge Mode. As previously discussed, the Challenge Mode provides players with objectives such as Time Attack and Survival, which have you clearing all stages within the time limit or defeating successive CPU-controlled opponents with a limited amount of health. However, Trial is where gamers can really learn the ins and outs of each character. These challenges will have you initiating simple and advanced combos in order to clear them. This does a remarkable job of familiarizing you with all of the available fighters, and it will get you to understand complex combo progressions and combo feints. Completing Trial in Challenge Mode is a must for anyone who wants to truly master SFIV.
SFIV sports a nice variety of modes both on and offline. Locally, players can choose from the standard Arcade Mode, which has you following the story of your chosen brawler via mini-anime cutscenes and fighting for glory against wave after wave of challengers. The VS Mode simply pits players in customizable bouts against the CPU or a second player. The Challenge Mode tests players' skills by setting time limits, health limits, etc. Advancing through these local modes unlocks a variety of concept art, movies, taunts, and character colors.
Players can also head online to test their fighting mettle. You can be matched to other players via Ranked or Player matches. There is also leaderboard support. Beating players online will net you Battle Points (BP) and Medals. Accumulating these two coveted bits are important for working your way up the SFIV standings and unlocking titles and icons for your online persona. The online play is remarkably well implemented. We experienced nearly no lag during play testing, and getting matched to players was an absolute breeze. SFIV also allows players to turn on or off an Arcade Fight Request feature, letting you accept Ranked and Player match requests from out of the blue. We really enjoyed how players could challenge us to a network battle even while we were playing through the offline Arcade Mode. It felt like we were truly connected to a broader community that's game at any time!
Simply put, Street Fighter IV is everything gamers had hoped for. The extensive character list, tried-and-true mechanics, gorgeous graphics, and quality play modes (including online battles) have updated this franchise in such a way that it feels both fresh and familiar. If you own a PS3 or Xbox 360, you simply have to go out and pick up Street Fighter IV - it will be remembered as one of the marquis fighting experiences of this generation of gaming.
CCC Editor / News Director