First things first. I have the opening theme for Street Fighter IV stuck in my head. It has the infectious poppy feel of both a boy band and a teen idol earworm, and I’m kind of stuck with it. The menu has it looping around and I tonight I found myself starting up the game and then making dinner. While I kept the music on, I just wanted to dance.
But, back to the game. There is a feeling of coming back home, while also finding out that while you were gone, some incredible remodeling took place. The new Street Fighter IV is a 3d fighter with a true 2d feel. It just feels like street fighter, but with this fantastic aesthetic with some great special effects. The collision detection for the fighting is great, and I never feel like an attack should have hit when it didn’t. Soul Calibur and its sequels had that issue sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great 3d fighter.
There’s just something about coming back to a two dimensional fight plane.
It may be nostalgia, it may just be simplifying the game mechanic, but whatever it is, it just feels solid. And it’s fun. So far, it’s great fun. The characters are expressive caricatures (sterotypes?) from different countries and they fight each other. An interesting addition is 2d animated sequences before the start of each character’s arc in the arcade mode. This attempt at story is really only interesting the first time through for each character. After that, it just becomes another reason to hold down the start button to skip through and get to the fighting.
My experience my be somewhat biased, I think it’s a great game. This may have something to do with the fact that Street Fighter II, and fighting games in particular, were no small part of my high school experience, and to a certain extent, my college experience. I spent many hours in front of arcade machines, and on couches with a controller in my hand playing a lot of fighting games. It’s something I still like to do on occasion, but since I no longer live in a group house, the opportunities to engage in video fisticuffs are not as frequent.
Street Fighter IV taps into the nostalgia center of my brain, sure, but it’s not simply a rehash. There are EX Modifiers for special attacks, Focus Attacks, Ultras, and Revenge attacks. The revenge attacks are somewhat similar to the Desperation moves from the King of Fighters series, only command inputs are straightforward.
My experience is also biased by the fact that I’m using the MadCatz tournament edition stick. It’s awesomeness also my be affecting my perceptions of the game. I find I even use the Japanese layout and it works for me. I may convert the “ball” style of the stick to “bat.” What’s great is that it’s made so that you can do that. It was the intention that you could change parts afterwards. The stick is well made, solid to the point where I could classify it as heavy when sitting in my lap.
I’ll have to try out the online mode that replicates the arcade experience by allowing outside opponents to interrupt your single player arcade game. That sounds awesome, but I can’t seem to get decent latency so my games never connect. Until I figure that out, I’m looking forward to reliving the arcade experience at home. Not only with the graphics and controller to match that of the arcade cabinet, but possibly some of the community as well.
Update: The MadCatz tournament edition stick is $150. a 360 is $300. Street Fighter IV costs $60. A Street Fighter IV cabinet costs 2,394,000 yen. Which, when converted from space dollars, is $23,000. I feel like I’m coming out ahead here.