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Monday, February 23, 2009

Not A Game Review - Street Fighter 4 (Xbox 360)

What's the deal?

The latest entry in the long-running Street Fighter series is great, except for the part about being able to play it out of the box.

What are you bitching about now?

If you're familiar with fighting games, you'll know that a certain level of precision is needed to execute moves - at times in split-second increments. These moves require semi-precise manipulation of an analog joystick or standard D-pad.

Using this...

... means precision ain't happening. So this means I have to buy a special edition controller to play the game.

Ah, you bitch and you bitch. Buy the new controller already!

Well, I would, but unfortunately it appears to be out of stock just about everywhere right now or going for prison rape painful prices on eBay.

Well how is the game, at least?

I honestly don't feel comfortable giving an assessment of the game at this point - not without being able to play it the way it was meant to be played. A part of me (the consumer with no money) feels that the game should have been designed with the limitations of the existing hardware in mind.

Alternately, I feel that would have done a disservice to the existing market for the game - people who've been playing Street Fighter in some form or other for the last 20 years.

Further hampering an honest assessment of the game is the fact that I, more of a Tekken man, am kind of crap at the Street Fighter games. I'm suffering from the anxiety Stephen Totilo at the MTV Multiplayer blog discussed recently prior to the release of the game. That is to say - how can you judge a game which, all things being equal you would not be good at anyway?

Fighting games are kind of a closed system.


On Gamasutra, Nayan Ramachandran makes some excellent, but brief observations about the accessibility of a game like SF4 for the new player. He even expresses concern that it might be considered too accessible by the hardcore.

I'm not sure it is - I think playing this game (crappy controller notwithstanding) requires a certain rewiring, especially if someone (like your esteemed writer) has trained the old thumbs and neurotransmitters for 3-D fighters over the last decade and a half. The loss of the Z axis in gameplay feels weird... wrong somehow.

And yet here I am trolling the internet for a $40 controller to use with the $60 game I just bought. This means that (barring some kind of cognitive dissonance I'm willfully ignoring) I must like some aspect of the game.

It IS a gorgeous game, and when by chance I'm able to execute one of the many complex moves there's great positive feedback both visual and mechanical.

Still... I wish I'd waited until I could buy the controller.

Tomorrow, I'll talk a little more about the training mode (or lack thereof) and the steep difficulty curve in this game.


  1. You better start training because Street Fighter is my Favorite game. Next time I'm in the city its on!

  2. This review simply reminds me of many late night sessions of you wiping the floor with me at Tekken. And while I also have spent the past decade refining my pwnage skills on 3D games, the occasional side scroller or 2D fighter is a breath of fresh air if done right. Played any good 2D shooters lately?

  3. @Reau

    I'm not sure I'll ever be good enough at SF4 to beat anyone. I'm taken down a couple of people in the online multiplayer with a combination of luck and their own lack of skill.

    @ Chris

    I haven't played any 2D shooters in a bit. I tried Contra 4 on the DS and it killed me, but I really want to play the XBLA version of R-Type soon (one of my favorite shooters from back in the day).