Anyone who follows Capcom knows that it likes to take its sweet time when it comes to releasing a new numbered release in the famed Street Fighter series. In fact, it was nearly a nine year wait between Street Fighter III and Street Fighter IV's debut in arcades in 2008. And after making a huge splash on both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 home consoles, the company decided to give its loyal fans a little treat by adding in even more features and playable characters for its Super Street Fighter IV upgrade.
So what's a company to do after injecting new life into one of the truly legendary vs. fighting games of our time? Well, if you're Capcom, you somehow cram every bit of that intensity and playability into a portable gaming experience for Nintendo's brand new 3DS system, that's what. And while the new fully 3D presentation is easily the most striking new feature, there are plenty of other goodies for fans to sink their teeth into as well.
While many gameplay aspects of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition stick to the tried-and-true formula that's won Capcom such a loyal following among fighting game fans over the years, there are a host of new twists to give the game a more modern feel. Every character has his/her own basic set of fighting moves, many of which can be strung together as combos if your timing and move selection is right. You can also choose to use either the D-Pad or Circle Pad, both of which are extremely effective, so it will likely come down to personal preference. And like its console counterparts, the 3DS version features the same Super Combos and Ultra Combos that will become available to your character as you fill up the appropriate gauge via dishing out and receiving damage throughout the match. Not only can these special moves be particularly devastating to your opponents, but they can even be executed with a simple tap of the touchscreen for those who have difficulty executing the moves via the standard control method.
Capcom obviously wanted to make use of many of the new features that the 3DS system brings to the table when it created the Dynamic View system. Now instead of having your characters side-by-side on a flat 2D plane, the camera swings behind your character to give you more of an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. While this is a very visually impressive novelty that needs to be seen to be believed, it's likely not going to appeal as much to more serious fighting game fans, as it can make judging the distance between characters a bit more tricky than it needs to be. At the very least, it's still a great way to show off the flashy 3D capabilities of the 3DS to your friends.
There are quite a few modes of play to choose from, both from a single-player and multi-player standpoint. The Story Mode of the game will allow you to fight your way through a host of opponents where you'll eventually square off against Seth in an effort to beat the game. And if you'd rather just square off in a quick match, you can head into the Versus mode and set up your own matches, complete with a wealth of customisation options. There is even a Training mode where you can pummel a dummy senseless in an effort to hone your fighting skills, as well as set them up for certain behaviours — always jumping, always crouching and so on. It's not only useful for practising, but also a good way to relieve stress after a long, hard day.
Of course given that this is Super Street Fighter IV, the meat of the package is obviously the multi-player modes and the game doesn't disappoint here. Not only can you compete against your opponents locally, you can also take on players from all over the world via the Internet Versus mode. Jumping into matches, both locally and online, is quick and painless, with the online play being surprisingly smooth and lag free. You can even use the same type of customisations found in the single-player mode to tweak the one-on-one matches exactly to your liking. And if you've got a friend with a 3DS system but no game on hand, you can have them download the game to their 3DS and play as Ryu, or even allow them to watch your match against another opponent on their own 3DS using Channel Live! mode.
Not satisfied with just the versus fighting modes, Capcom has also introduced the Figurines feature. Here you can earn statuettes by winning matches and earning HP points, which earn you chances to spin the wheel to win various character figurine trophies depending on where the wheel stops. This will allow you to set up a team of Figurine fighters for StreetPass mode: should you pass another 3DS owner who's done the same, your figurines and your opponent's will act out a trophy battle between the two sides. This is yet another fun way to earn more points to see if you can collect all 500 of the figurines. As silly as this feature might sound to some, it's actually a fun way to make use of StreetPass, not to mention give you some incentive to keep coming back to play more matches.
As for the main game, most of the time you'd swear you were playing the console version. The fighting engine and control response in the game are top shelf all the way and the addition of the touchscreen special moves only makes the game even more accessible to a wider audience of players. Toss in an outstanding online mode and the added special features of the 3DS system itself, and you've got what is hands-down the most feature-packed portable fighting game ever crafted and one that will keep you coming back for more.
The backdrops in Super Street Fighter IV were already works of art on the console releases, but Capcom has really outdone itself with the 3D presentation of the game. While they have done away with the animations going on in the backgrounds, leaving people frozen in time with their hands in the air and elephants standing motionless, the depth and realism the 3D brings to the table more than makes up for the omission. And as amazing as the scenery looks, the characters and their various move sets are every bit as impressive. There's no doubt that developers are just beginning to come to grips with using the 3D technology of the system, but for a first effort, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition really shines.
The Street Fighter series has always had a knack for featuring some of the best music tracks available in a fighting game and this 3DS release is no exception. Everything from synthesised rock to the techno-infused numbers do a superb job of carrying the mood and intensity of the action taking place on-screen and features a surprising degree of stereo separation. The developers have even managed to squeeze in quite a few pieces of character dialogue for each of the 35 fighters to further liven up the audio package. Even as great as the original Street Fighter II soundtrack was, this one here might actually give it a run for its money.
It would be easy to sit here and pick apart all of the things that Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition doesn't do, but the truth is, Capcom has somehow been able to miraculously squeeze every bit of bone-crushing fighting action onto the portable screen of the 3DS and still managed to toss in a staggering number of added features and options to go along with it. Even losing a few frames of character and background animations is a small price to pay for the stunning 3D visuals. Video game fans have waited a long time for a portable fighting game experience that could actually live up to the standards of those found on the current home consoles, and thanks to Capcom, that day has finally arrived.