Street Fighter IV - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Street Fighter IV
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Developer:
Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Rated: "T" for Teen



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     
There seems to be a definite formula Capcom follows when it comes to the Street Fighter franchise. Every couple of years, release a new numbered addition in the series, filling in the gaps with slightly tweaked titles sporting adjectives like hyper, mega, and turbo. Perhaps it’s for this reason that every time a genuine new Street Fighter game gets released – it’s big news, or maybe it’s the fact that for over twenty years the series has defined the fighting game franchise, paving the way for literally every fighter since the original Street Fighter was released in 1987.

There’s no way around it, Street Fighter IV, the newest addition to the long running series is simply spectacular.  Capcom has managed to craft a fun, sublimely accessible yet deep title that will appeal to gamers of every type. From the classic gameplay mechanics to the gutsy cell shaded visuals, SF IV is a title that should be experienced by all.

The Street Fighter series really took off in 1997 with the release of Street Fighter II. Since then, the simple mechanics that made the game so special were replaced in sequels with incredibly deep combo systems, and new meters. While these new features added incredible depth to the series for experienced players, those new to the series weren’t so lucky. Street Fighter became a game for die-hards. The beauty of SF IV is that Capcom has stripped away all of the unneeded content and created a title that is once again inviting for players who have somehow managed to avoid playing the series until now.  You are not forced to learn the detailed fight systems if you don’t want to – the game is still a blast just picking a character and jumping in to the mix.

"...there’s an incredible amount of depth to the game if you’re looking for it."

 
   

Fret not Street Fighter vets, you have not been forgotten about – while SF IV is more accessible than previous games, there’s an incredible amount of depth to the game if you’re looking for it. New to the series is the focus mode, a charged up attack that if timed and performed right will instantly knock your opponent down, giving you a chance to setup attacks and combos, but leaving you more vulnerable while charging.

Experimenting with focus, players will learn that the new system has other merits as well. If timed right, the attack with absorb your enemy’s attacks, giving you yet another opportunity to strike. Perfecting the ways of focus leads to even more defensive options. You can dash out of a focus attack, tricking your opponent right into a powerful attack or combo.

There’s also the Super and Revenge meters to pacify fans in SF IV. The Super Meter builds up as you land moves and counters – the higher the meter builds the more powerful combos you can piece together (and some of the animations are nothing short of breathtaking). The Revenge Meter is just the opposite, and lends an interesting level to the defensive side of SF IV. As you take on damage your meter will raise, use it at the right time and you pull of a cinematic beauty of an attack that will more often than not turn the tide in the battle completely. Using the Revenge Meter is a bit of a gamble, as missing essentially means you’re going to lose, but pulling it off is an incredibly rewarding experience.

While SF IV does not require novice players use these techniques – it does encourage that they learn them, at their own pace. The title features an incredibly robust training mode that teachers players the ins and outs of everything from basic attacks, to hadukens and even the trickiest combos.  You can even record your actions and create a "ghost" of your actions (similar to the technique used in many racing games) for yourself or others to practice against. The training never seems too condemn the player for not knowing the expert strategies and is quite well paced.

New players feeling confident (or should that be gutsy?) with their new found Street Fighter knowledge can attempt the incredibly addictive and robust challenge modes. Typically based on survival and timed objectives – these challenges actually go in-depth to teach players even more about the intricate workings of each character.  The challenge mode isn’t just for new players though, even Street Fighter veterans will find a bit of challenge to some of the objectives with the difficulty ratcheted up.

"...perennial favorites like Ryu, Ken, Guile and Chun-Li are back..."

What would a Street Fighter game be without those familiar faces? Of course, perennial favorites like Ryu, Ken, Guile and Chun-Li are back – as are some of the lesser known characters like Zangief, Blanka, E-honda and Dhalsim. The beauty of this is that jumping in with these characters feels incredibly familiar, like Street Fighter characters should be. SF IV also adds an array of new faces like Crimson Viper, Rufus and El Fuerte to the mix as well.  Though these characters are new, they feel like they belong in the Street Fighter universe, they don’t feel like they were thrown in for the sake of adding new content - -and that’s a very good thing.

 
   

Many gamers, including myself were unsure of the new quasi 3D graphics engine SF IV introduces. The Street Fighter series has always been at its best on a 2D plane, and falters placed in a 3D environment (see the Street Fighter EX series).  My fears have subsided. Though the character models and worlds are 3D, the action still takes place in good ole’ 2D, this novel and albeit gutsy approach allows for some incredible animations and camera work, making the game feel like it has a bit of faster pace than if everything was done strictly in 2D.

Born in arcades, the true allure of the series has always been pitting your skills against other players, and since the SF IV arcade was only released in Japan – competition hungry players will have to settle for online play. While running mostly smooth, there were some noticeable hiccups in the connectivity causing a bit of lag – and in fighting games like SF IV each second is immensely important. Most experienced players more than likely have their opponents picked out and will take part in local multiplayer – but if they’re willing to give online competitions a try, they’ll more than likely like what they see.

Though it doesn’t do anything dramatically different to alter the gameplay experiences of past Street Fighter titles, SF IV does the exact opposite – it retains a familiar formula, adapting it for a new generation. The result is a deceptively deep and adaptable fun fighter that can, and should be enjoyed by everyone.  

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlockables

As of press time, the only cheats available for Street Fighter IV were the game’s achievements and unlockable characters.  It’s always seemed that fighting games, above any other genre were made for achievements, and Street Fighter IV is a perfect example of that. Most of the achievements deal with clearing specific time trials or challenges – something the hardcore Street Fighter fans will crave.

Besides Ryu and Ken, one of the series most popular characters has always been Akuma – too bad you’re going to have to unlock him. Though it gives players something more to achieve, it’s just that very few of the game’s popular second tier characters are unavailable out of the box.  You’ll have to work to unlock favorites such as Cammy, Fei Long,  Gen and Sakura.  This won’t sit well with gamers who want to get into competition right away with some of these characters.

Cheats for fighting games are pretty straight forward – no damage, more powerful attacks, unlock all characters – you get the point, but Street Fighter IV is almost begging for an unlimited meters code. With unlimited focus, revenge and Super meters – an infinite world of possibilities opens up. Players would literally be able to create new techniques and combos to use in competition.

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