Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Street Fighter returns to its roots as a genre defining goliath. The forth version of the award winning fighting series wipes away much complexity (and controversy of the third and Alpha iterations). New sketchbook visuals adorn the same strong beating heart of a man against man fighting format.
Fighting games revolve around the interaction of two or more characters in some form of physical combat. Players learn to control characters through either memorisation of button combinations to access more advance moves, or by their reactions and accurate timing.
Street Fighter is unique because it is the game that started the fighting game genre back in the early 90's. Placing each player at the opposite sides of the screen, each with a different fighter and each with different characteristics and abilities. The genius is in the balance of each battle and the attention to detail that allows players to genuinely become experts at the sport.
All the usual characters from previous games are present here, but now rendered in some beautifully hand drawn graphics. These, although retaining the two dimensional nature of the series, are drawn in a three dimensional world that gives the game added weight.
Fans of the series will enjoy the simplicity and familiarity of the new edition to the family. It is testament to Capcom's understanding of both game and audience that they have gone this route - rather than ramping up the complexity or novelty. But also, the return of a couple of special moves keeps things fresh enough to spark interest in those overly familiar with the formula.
Although the point has been flogged to death it still bears mentioning that the 360 D-pad (the flat non-analogue controller) is a little unresponsive. Even so, the game still gives the impression of direct and instant control over your fighter. I found I developed a blister after a couple of hours of play - the game's special moves demand sweeps of directions that result in you dragging your digits about the place somewhat - but this goes with the territory of any game like this.
In addition to the usual campaign and versus style battles, Street Fighter 4 also offers some new modes. Most anticipated of these is the option of playing online - something that fighting games have long struggled to crack. The promise of lag free worldwide contest is enough to secure the purchase for many players.
Street Fighter 4 will attract people because of its name alone. Other than this though, the high impact visuals and reworked audio will also draw a crowd. But more than anything the fabled street fighter nail biting finishes, where no player can ever be ruled out, make for some truly sporting moments. Watching two equally matched players step up to the plate is an enduring excitement. As the rub of the green goes one way then the other, as both use every last ounce of technique and brawn to success, it comes down to the closing moments to decide the winner. Here, players become aware of their depleted energy and the pace drops a little as each chips away at their opponent. Finally, an opening is seen and taken to leave one fighter the victor.
Although single fights are usually limited by time, the desire to string them together in the campaign mode, or to keep coming back for more in versus, means they can last well into the small hours.
Younger and novice gamers are likely to struggle with the reaction times and move memorisation required. Although not very much blood is spilt, parents may want to vet the hard-contact nature of the fighting before letting little ones loose.
Intermediates and those a little older will enjoy the sense of playing a classic fighting series - and the quality that comes there with. Those not willing to put in the hours of practice may fare better with games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl Wii.
Experts are the main audience here, and will rise to the occasion of learning a new set of timings and frame counting for the game. Gathering a group of similarly skilled friends and family together can make this a great way to spend an evening.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: