Quite possibly the best game available in the UK on launch day, Super Street Fighter IV manages to capture all the excitement and freshness of SFIV’s original release back in July 2009 on the PS3 and Xbox 360. An incredible feat in itself for a portable title, following up nearly 24 months later, but SSFIV doesn’t stop there, with the slide pad, touch screen inputs, street pass characters and full compliment of fighters from the console versions, SSFIV 3D is quite possibly the best portable beat-em up I have played. High praise indeed when you consider the titles currently available on the PSP alone; PowerStone Collection, Tekken, and the distant cousin, Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX. But there is something about this game that stands above the rest.
The controls are tight as you would expect, with only the occassional miss input found during the first couple of hours of play with the slide pad. Challenge and training are both great at honing this input method, and before you even consider it, I found the d-pad to be unusable. Having shifted its position, and introduced a new re-affirming click, I found the d-pad too heavy for SSFIV and uncomfortable given the need to reach around for the shoulder buttons.
Single player arcade, fully customised challenge mode, 3D versus, training, Online, Street Pass, Trophy Hunting, and coin collecting all come together on a single cart to ensure SSFIV is the go to game at home, on the bus, train, pub, throne, or any other moment you feel your fingers itching to kick 10 bells of hell out of an opponent. The online is so far smoother than the console brothers. Playing prior to release against Japanese opponents with absolutely no lag, and handling the sudden surge of UK and US gamers following Launch this morning. That is to say, I have had a few incidents where the 3DS refused to connect whatsoever, but over 400,000 of these things have just been sold in less than 12 hours so you need to expect some hiccups.
By fighting through the single player, street pass and online you will collect points from the fights you win, the grades you receive, and whether you string victories, or defeats back to back. Additionally coins collected by simply taking your 3DS out for a walk can be exchanged for points. These points are then used to purchase new character figures via a roulette wheel and big blue button, which are then used to fight invisible opponents on street pass. Characters are levelled 1-7, and can have their skill points adjusted at each level to suit the style of fighting you are looking for, encouraging you to come back to earn more coins, characters and so on.
You will have noticed that I cannot praise this game enough, I love it. But, the one thing I have not discussed is the 3D. SSFIV is not a re-invention with a bit of 3D overlay, it is its own game, and it more than stands out from its huge foundations with SFIV and SSFIV on the PC and home consoles. The 3D does add to the whole experience, and does not noticeable affect the framerate either online or off. The visuals themselves are stunning,the character models are as good as ever and the effects clear and crisp. Capcom have also introduced a new view point to try and exaggerate the 3D effect but I found this to be slightly cumbersome and a little OTT, but others I am sure will enjoy this experience. Many have criticised the levels for having bland backgrounds, and this is true when not using the 3D slider. However given the amount of action taking place on a 2×4 inch display, and with 3D turned on, I found this to be anything but the case. They are lacking some of the hussle and bussle found in previous iterations, but their absence in no way affects the user experience or gameplay.
In summary, SSFIV is a must for all fans of the series, or beat-em-ups in general. The job that Capcom have managed to do on a day 1 release has brought about great anticipation for the soon to arrive Dead Or Alive 3D, if this too can support seamless lag free internet tournament modes, then 3DS may just have found itself as the king of the portable fighting scene.