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The 3DS, has been blessed with one of the greatest fighting games of all time, Super Street Fighter IV. The game leaps from the 2D sprite bashing fest it once was, into a lenticular 3D spectacular.
Many people simply "don't do" fighting games. The genre could be said to lack depth. But there is more to these games than picking a character and mash some buttons until the bout is over.
There is a fascinating and technical dynamic to the combat that rewards exploration. At its heart itís a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Instant choices to defend, punch or kick are played out in the blink of an eye. An amazing array of characters balance the strong but slow against the fast but weak. Finding the tactics to match your opponent is a constant challenge.
It is a gaming fractal. The smallest incident in the game is as complex as an hour of fighting against the same person repeatedly. The ebb and flow of competitive battle generates every human emotion. Joy and disappointment sit side by side in a well balanced match.
Capcom have wisely altered the controls to fit the 3DS form factor. Players can still wind out Ryuís famous Hadouken on the D-pad, but lite control gives a fast access button on the lower touch pad. When earning ultra and super comboís these are unleashed with the touch pad buttons. Purists will regard this as cheap but it makes the game very playable on such a small control system. It also allows everyone a chance to see everything the game has to offer.
Street Fighter is a gaming fractal.
The 3D comes in 2 flavours. The more traditional layout adds a little depth to the scenes, but the angled over the shoulder 3D view works tremendously as well . If you do get the chance to catch your opponent defenseless with an ultra combo you are treated to some hilarious, over the top, brilliantly animated Manga action.
The original Street Fighter was a very serious affair. Over time the series has injected some much needed humour. Some of the main characters are challenging injustice in the world and dealing with broken friendships. Yet Mexican wrestlers like El Fuerte turn up and shout "Itís super dynamic cooking time!" to start the bout.
The 3DS is well connected as too. Wi-fi to an Internet enabled network and you are able to challenge any random player online. Once you have navigated the complicated friend code system you can also challenge people you actually know too. This is still the weakest part of the Nintendo experience, even though there is one unified code for each unit.
A brilliant twist to proceedings comes in the form of StreetPass. Playing games earns figure points. Figure points are exchanged for a character figures from the 500 available. You build a balanced team of five of these. Once you enable the option your 3DS will then communicate with any other 3DSís in a 30 meter range and swap your team information with theirs. When you next open your 3DS you can then run a fight of your team versus the strangerís. The winner earns more team enhancing figure points.
It is this feature, rather than the 3D visuals, that is revolutionary and technically impressive on the 3DS. It changes human physical behaviour.
Already a gaming equivalent of the Tweetup.
I chose to walk through areas of London to gather StreetPass data, rather than sit on the Tube. Already a gaming equivalent of the Tweetup is forming where people gather for a StreetPass party to talk and meet whilst their 3DSís are swapping data. It is a new dynamic for social gaming.
Overall the game on its own is hugely impressive, it is frantic bite sized gaming as a single player experience. Add in the various multiplayer options and you have quite a special experience.
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: