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Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360) artwork

Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360) review


"“Street Fighter IV” is a respectable fighting game that's easy to pick up and pretty easy to master. It has low ambitions, which essentially boil down to repeating what Capcom did over a decade ago, but with flashier visual flair. A lot of gamers won’t care, because gaming culture has reached a stage where it is content to mine and relive a nostalgic past. Fair enough, especially if the throwback is fun. "



“Street Fighter IV” is a respectable fighting game that's easy to pick up and pretty easy to master. It has low ambitions, which essentially boil down to repeating what Capcom did over a decade ago, but with flashier visual flair. A lot of gamers won’t care, because gaming culture has reached a stage where it is content to mine and relive a nostalgic past. Fair enough, especially if the throwback is fun.

All of your favorite characters are brought back, and they play almost exactly the same as they do in the recent release “Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix”. (A mouthful, I know.) The biggest difference is that they are now 3D polygon models instead of 2D pixel sprites, which means their motions are more fluid than even the painstaking animations in “Street Fighter III”. Polygons apparently allow Capcom to achieve a greater level of detail on a smaller budget, and they also allow for dramatic angles on certain throws or super arts.

Remember all your favorite features from past incarnations of “Street Fighter”? They’re all here too: the basics of SFII, the super moves of Super Turbo, the EX moves from Alpha, and even the parries from SFIII. To all of that, “IV” adds new Ultra Arts. They're pretty much Super Arts but, like, “ultra”. Ultras have their own bar that is separate from the super bar, so you now have two gauges to keep track of. There are so many ultra and super and EX attacks that you might forget there are six standard punch and kick buttons too. (In the future, I imagine they'll be replaced with six buttons that launch assorted special techniques with a single press.)

Another new feature is the “focus attack”, but I found it virtually pointless. A focus move allows you to nullify an incoming attack and counter with a hit that will surely down your opponent. It sounds mildly nifty, but personal experience found me unable to capitalize on the counter. Usually, my enemy would crumble to the ground and I'd have to wait for him to get back up before connecting further attacks. Maybe your mileage will vary.

I would be lying if I said “Street Fighter IV” isn’t fun. It is, but not to the degree of warranting a $60 purchase. The above-mentioned “HD Remix” is cheaper and features most of this game’s roster. I like the new characters, especially the sexy Crimson Viper and the stout Rufus, but there’s not enough that's new. 1997's "Street Fighter III" was far bolder in tossing out most of its predecessor’s familiar line-up. It also boasted a more interesting fighting engine, one that encouraged measured brawls instead of flashy assaults. “IV”, on the other hand, endeavors to be accessible in a way that makes it easy to put down and easy to confuse with other (better) games.

(NOTE: The price of this game has dropped in recent months, but why spend $30 on SFIV when you can drop just $10 more on *Super* SFIV? And with the advent of 3D television, we might soon be graced with "Super SFIV Turbo 3D Remix".)

Rating: 6/10

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Community review by joseph_valencia (May 06, 2010)

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radicaldreamer posted May 06, 2010:

I'm not an expert on SF4, but I just want to warn you that your comments on the focus attack are probably false. You can follow up after a focus attack before they hit the ground, and from what I've seen of competitive SF4 matches, the focus attack does appear to be at least somewhat useful.
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joseph_valencia posted May 06, 2010:

From my casual experience, they don't seem to be. This is based on me playing the game about a dozen times on my friend's Xbox. I've found a few situations in which the feature could be mildly useful, but most of the time I just find myself ignoring it and playing the game like "Street Fighter II".

EDIT: I'll tweak that paragraph a little, though.
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pickhut posted May 06, 2010:

I can't comment on the above (edit: agh, I meant radicaldreamer), since I've never played the game, but I agree on almost everything else you've said about the game. I just don't see the point in buying SFIV since it's, more or less, another remix of Street Fighter II. I've read somewhere that the director of the game is a huge fan of II, so I guess it doesn't come as a surprise... I'll still probably enjoy it to a degree if I got it, but again, it's just like playing another version of Street Fighter II.

I doubt they'll ever attempt to take a risk again like they did with the awesome Street Fighter III, at least not in the near future.
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radicaldreamer posted May 06, 2010:

That's part of the problem: you're speaking from your casual experience, which inherently means you're speaking from a position of ignorance that someone with actual expertise could rightfully call you out on. I'm not that person because I have hardly played SF4, but I have played similar games enough to understand that casual interpretations about the mechanics of competitive games tend to be wrong - and that there are often hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people who have tested these kinds of games rigorously enough and produced entire bodies of knowledge from which expert opinions on the matter can be drawn.

Also, although I can't say it from personal experience, I checked youtube, and it is documented that a focus attack can be followed up before your opponent hits the ground.

I don't mean to imply from all of this that you can't review a fighting game or an RTS or whatever from a casual perspective. But if you're going to, you may want to be cautious about making bold claims about how the game works that may require expert knowledge.
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joseph_valencia posted May 06, 2010:

Well, I've made edits to that paragraph. It's still dismissive of the feature, but I now allow that the reader's mileage could vary.
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Ben posted May 06, 2010:

I've spent more than thirty hours on Street Fighter IV, and Super Street Fighter IV just came through the post earlier today. IV doesn't match up to II (I don't think it comes close), but it's still one of the better (new) fighting games for a few years - at least, in my opinion.

Anyway - focus attacks can be followed by other attacks. It's more of a case of learning which attacks combo and the timing surrounding them. It has its uses, but I'm not accomplished enough to be able to use it to great effect often apart from soaking up fireballs.

Focus attacks can also be used to cancel other moves. Some moves take ages for a character to recover from (e.g. Guile's Flash Kick), so that's where the cancel comes in - it cuts the move short and potentially stops the opponent from punishing you. It's more of an advanced technique, and one that's not essential unless you're playing at a high level.

I should mention that I'm not that fond of the focus attack feature (like I said, I rarely use it, and I've spent a reasonable amount of time on the game), but I guess it was their attempt of adding an extra layer to the combat.

And I completely agree that IV is now pointless now that Super IV is out.
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Ben posted May 09, 2010:

Extra feedback.

Something slightly contradictory. You say:

“Street Fighter IV” is a respectable fighting game that's easy to pick up and pretty easy to master.

Yet when you talk about focus attacks:

...personal experience found me unable to capitalize on the counter. Usually, my enemy would crumble to the ground and I'd have to wait for him to get back up before connecting further attacks. Maybe your mileage will vary.

If it's easy to master, surely you should have grasped how to follow up focus attacks while maintaining your combo?

Also, they're called Super/Ultra Combos, not Arts.
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joseph_valencia posted May 09, 2010:

If it's easy to master, surely you should have grasped how to follow up focus attacks while maintaining your combo?

That is a good point, but I feel the game mechanics place greater emphasis on super/ultra/EX attacks than on focus attacks. After playing a dozen more matches since writing that review, I still can't see how this feature is practical. The window for follow-up attacks is simply too small.

Also, they're called Super/Ultra Combos, not Arts.

Same thing. In "Street Fighter III", they used the word "arts."
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radicaldreamer posted May 09, 2010:

If the window exists, people will learn how to use it, and they do. For people who play these kinds of games more than casually, the difficult things become second-nature through a lot of training. I know this very well in other games where I instinctively use learned techniques that a casual player can't even perform consciously.
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PaiMay posted December 29, 2010:

I'd like to hear your opinion on which games in the genre you currently think are superior, seeing as how you allude to there being games out there but fail to actually make any comparisons.
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joseph_valencia posted December 29, 2010:

My personal your-mileage-may-vary list of fighting games that I like more than SFIV:

Street Fighter II: Pick Your Version/Remix
Street Fighter III: Xth Noun
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat II

The games I allude to in the review in particular are SFII and SFIII. Now feel free to pick apart my list, opinion, etc.
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PaiMay posted December 30, 2010:

I'd go with Garou, it's probably the best fighting game made outside of Capcom's studios. For me the Mortal Kombat series was fun first time around but never a serious fighting platform and tbh I'm not sure it has aged all that well either.

If you like SFIII you may be interested to know that there will be an online edition released on Xbox and PS3 some time in the new year, which I'm very much looking forward to.
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joseph_valencia posted December 30, 2010:

Oh yeah, I'm stoked for the new edition of 3rd Strike too.

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