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Street Fighter IV – Reviewed 
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Geoffrey Tim
March 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Review

It’s been ten years since Capcom released its last bona-fide entry in the seminal Street Fighter series. Street Fighter III: Third Strike – while an exemplary technical fighter – alienated all but the most intransigent gamers. Its brutally unforgiving fighting engine, particularly its renowned parry system required timing of utmost precision, and proved to be a notable barrier of entry for new players.

Capcom’s intention with Street Fighter IV was rekindle gamers’ passion for the series by playing on the nostalgia of Street Fighter II – the most beloved and successful game in the franchise, and also its most accessible – to reclaim its position as the true king of fighters. Street Fighter IV is  the first game in the series in over a decade to dispense with superlative prefixes and suffixes and instead increase in numeric value. How does it fare?

Find out after the jump kick!

Opening

Unless you’re an impatient gamer, the first thing that’ll catch your eye is the opening sequence – An alluring showcase of mixed martial artistry presented as heavily stylized living watercolour art. It’s quite simply breathtaking, and gives you just a hint of the visual flair that Street Fighter IV possesses. Unfortunately, it’s accompanied by an awful ill-suited J-pop track that’ll have you reaching for the mute button.

Arcade mode provides players with the core experience, and it’s here where players will find it instantly familiar – yet somehow refreshingly different. All twelve of Street Fighter II’s World Warriors are available from the onset providing an entry point for players returning to the series. Four new characters accompany them – Abel, a French grappler; Crimson Viper, a mysterious agent with a move-set more reminiscent of certain SNK fighters; Rufus, a burly and rotund yet surprisingly nimble fighter; and lastly El Fuerte, a seemingly ill-fitting luchador. A further nine characters can be unlocked, extending the roster to a substantial twenty-five.

Roster

After selecting your character, you’ll take them on a global tour, pitting your skills against various fighters, a penultimate rival, and finally Seth, the game’s annoyingly cheap end-boss. Before that though, you’ll be treated to a short anime clip for each character; similarly you’ll watch another after completing the game. These poorly animated, badly dubbed bookends do little to further the meager story. Some of them, particularly those of lucha libre chef El Fuerte and Blanka, the Brazilian jungle-monkey are so mind-numbingly bad they’ll leave you staring at your TV, mouth agape. There’s such an obvious disparity between the production values of the game itself and these short animated clips that you’re left wondering if it would have perhaps been better to not include them.

Once you’ve started playing the game proper though, you’ll forget that you’ve just endured watching a terrible intro scene, and all memories of “Indestructible,” the game’s ghastly opening theme will be washed away.

You’ll instantly be mesmerized by the game’s sumptuous, breathtakingly resplendent visuals. You’ll be taken in by the dynamic character models, bringing your favourite fighters to life in glorious 3D, and you’ll be equally entranced by the lively and varied backgrounds, so filled with subtle touches and nuances – all of which come together at an unwavering, silky-smooth 60 frames per second.

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I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • TheBeasht

    Nice review Geoff. I personally cannot frakkin’ wait for that group lobby update. 1 vs 1 player games can get a bit lonely. :sad:

  • the dude

    Why are the lazygamer reviews always so long winded. It just goes on and on and on. I trust your opinion, but you could def have said it in less words.

  • http://www.lazygamer.co.za LazySAGamer

    It’s a hard call between review depth and ease of reading… your comments are noted though :)

  • spl0it

    Total Fanboy nonsense.
    Just kidding, This whole weekend was
    “Ok, just one more round”

  • RogueOne

    No no dont note this comment, it is mearly an oppinion.
    I think they give enough information, that I FOR ONE need to spend my hard-earned money on a game.
    I looked into PoP till I was blue in the face, I hopped on and off the fence so often untill I just dropped the title off my list.
    Then I found Lazygamers review and found out enough for me to finally make my mind up.

    Hey this is SA, we do not have the buying power of Dollar of Euro…..so allot of info is great.

  • Karl

    The only thing missing in SFIV is the parry system. Im not that fond of the new focus attacks.

  • http://www.lazygamer.co.za Geoff

    I think the lack of parry levels the playing field a little. SF III’s parry system, while brilliant, prevented a lot of players from playing the game,

  • RogueOne

    oh and where’s my manners – Nice review Geoff.

    **must resist the game, must buy food

  • PaasHaas

    I liked the intro song :wassat: (Not the default english version tho)

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick

    This game has destroyed my life. And I think my fingers may fall off after this weekend.

  • http://www.lazygamer.co.za Geoff

    Yeah, that English one is the culprit.

    INNNNNNNNDESTRUCTIBLE!

  • http://www.lazygamer.co.za LazySAGamer

    Foods over rated ;)

  • WitWolfyZA

    I dont know im not a fighting game guy. Give me a decent RPG and im happy

  • ewie

    my wife will kill me if i buy this now, because it means geting the arcade stick as well.

  • ewie

    It did nothing to your gears sniping skills. It just increased your reflexes.

  • Fox1

    Cool review :biggrin:

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick

    :P

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick

    Theres an option for another one?

  • bmalcombb

    who else panicks when they fight seth

    i find all hand eye co-ords go pair shaped when i fight him.

    got it on friday and am not disappointed

    if you a street fighter fan and you dont own this

    shame on you

  • spl0it

    I also like the Intro Song
    Very Boy-Band!

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick

    I would have loved to organise a Lazygamer Street Fighter Session so that we can hook up with readers and play a good session, but alas, it will be impossible until they fix the retarded 1v1 lobby.

  • gummigoth

    great review Geoff

  • http://www.variawa.co.za RA1THE

    The load time at the VS screen irritated me at first…THEN…the option to install to HD…DUH…now she’s so quick to load…nice consideration by capcom.

    This game definately re-awakend my love for SF.

  • theturk

    I need to get this so bad! Alas, the budget dictates that it must wait until month end. Nice review, I don’t mind it being long at all. A review by an SA website / magazine will always be the final say for me on whether or not to get a game. So far, I value the opinions of Eurogamer and Lazygamer the most when it comes to reviews.

  • http://www.lazygamer.co.za Geoff

    If you’re a gamer, and you don’t own this – shame on you.

  • http://www.twobop.co.za 2Bop

    brilliant review. well done, i would have written a thesis if i’d tried to review this.

  • fish

    Hey invite me my gamers tag is
    mfishmza

    We can have a go, i think the game is awesome !!! :-) cant get enough

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