The Street Fighter series needs no introduction. By far the most successful fighting franchise of all time, it’s been around for almost 25 years, and has appeared on virtually every gaming system you’ve heard of – and probably several you haven’t. The last addition to the series, Street Fighter IV, helped to re-energize the franchise for the current generation of consoles, and it now takes pride of place among the 3DS launch titles, where its gameplay can be experienced in full stereoscopic 3D.
How does it play? Very well indeed, I’m pleased to say. To be honest, I was concerned about how Super Street Fighter IV 3D’s gameplay would translate to the 3DS buttons, but it didn’t take very long to adjust. The controls are customisable, and you can also assign special moves to any of the touch screen’s four buttons. I used the 3DS circle pad to move – often referred to as the “nub” controller – and found it fast and responsive. The small amount of movement travel it has means combos can be executed quickly and efficiently.
In terms of gameplay, Super Street Fighter IV 3D packs pretty much everything you could want, including 35 characters, replays, local and online multiplayer versus modes, and an option in which up to eight players can participate in team battles. If you’re unable to connect with another player, there are practice options that let you hone your combos and single-player options to help you polish your combat skills. But as always with the Street Fighter series, the game is the most fun when you have a human opponent to kick seven bells out of.
Visually, Super Street Fighter IV 3D is excellent. The characters are all faithfully recreated, and even though the backgrounds aren’t as dynamic as the arcade version, the overall effect feels totally authentic, and the lack of animation is more than made up for by the superb 3D effect. Because Street Fighter IV’s action largely plays out in 2D, Capcom has been able to separate out the foreground, special effects, characters and background to give the game a real feeling of depth. And because the action is focused on one plane, your eyes don’t need to adjust constantly. As a consequence, there’s less eye fatigue than you get with other 3DS games that require more visual concentration.
And that’s definitely a good thing, because if there’s one game you’ll want to be playing a lot, it’s this. Street Fighter IV 3D is an excellent fighting game that packs a reasonable challenge in one-player mode, but truly excels in multiplayer mode, where its lag-free fighting is surprisingly effective and fun. While those not so enamoured with fighting games might disagree, I think it’s the best game currently available for 3DS – not only in terms of its quality, but also as an excellent showcase for the machine itself.
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