Back when Street Fighter 2 was big in the arcades, I could be found beside the unit watching the kids pulling off huge moves and combos with blistering speed. My skills were not at so hot at such a game, but yet I enjoyed throwing my quarters into the machine. Picking either Ken or Blanka and attempting to beat the obviously superior player next to me, I was usually humbled quite quickly. Even when did that happen I was always quick put another quarter back on the panel and wait for my chance to try again all the while hoping I’d learn some skills via osmosis.
Flash forward to now – and I’m sitting on my couch with a Nintendo 3DS in my hands and working through the training sessions in the latest in a long line of games, Super Street Fighter IV 3D. Given that the game was being played on ‘just a handheld’ I wasn’t expecting much in terms of graphical prowess or a nice big roster of characters. Needless to say, I was wrong the game packed the full roster found in the recent HD home console releases into the 3DS cartridge and looks amazing in action. Even the lubed up Turkish wrestler Hakan shimmers with his oily sheen in the portable version, the only read detraction from the graphics of this game is the backgrounds have been trimmed of any extraneous movement – but really it has zero net effect on how good this game looks.
Aside from the standard fighting mode in a two dimensional plane, the developers have added a 3D over the shoulder mode that helps to demonstrate the depth adding that the 3DS is capable of. While this mode is great for doing just that, I found it a little trickier to pull of the moves just as easily as the standard view – likely due to years of playing in a left/right orientation causing a brain misfire to attempt to match movements with the way the character is facing. I know in reality it’s the same movement of the perfectly utilized analog thumbstick, but my old brain just couldn’t rewire itself – so I stuck with the standard view.
Outside of the standard arcade mode and training, some challenges are included that will be familiar to players of the series. Both the car bashing and barrel busting minigames are included here as separate events. Score well in here and you unlock in game titles and avatars that can be used to represent yourself online in the Wi-Fi versus mode. Local wireless play is also available, but due to the limited number of people I know who actually own a 3DS (zero) I played predominantly against anonymous players over Wi-Fi, and let me tell you, it was a pleasure. I had zero issues trying to find a game at almost any time of the day, and there was essentially no lag at all when playing, so I couldn’t blame my losing streak on that. Because the game features both a Pro and Lite control mode (Lite allowing you to assign hot keys for moves on the touchscreen), advanced players have the option to filter out those of us who use the hot keys for things like the Ultra/Super combos. Not that using the Lite mode offers that much of an advantage, as you still need to have things properly timed in order to fully execute the move.
As of the writing of this, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D is the best title that I’ve had the privilege to play for the system. Not only are the fights fast paced and enjoyable, but the use of 3DS features such as Streetpass show some promise and the in game figure collection/battle system is something that is sure to keep people engaged for some time. The figures are bought using in game points as well as the coins which are collected via the pedometer can be traded in to buy more figures. These figures then do battle with other SSFIV3D players over Streetpass, if you happened to pass any that have the game set up. Another nice feature was the challenge option – if players in your wireless range are playing, you can issue a challenge immediately. Sadly, I was unable to test this feature out as the locations I frequent with the 3DS didn’t pop up any players with the game.
Score – 8.5
Platform reviewed: Nintendo 3DS