Sunday, July 1, 2012

3DS review: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

After the positive reception Super Street Fighter IV received after its console releases, Capcom re-released it for Nintendo’s 3DS, with a few tweaks here and there. Surprisingly, the 3DS is quickly becoming a welcome home to many a handheld fighting game, and having thoroughly enjoyed Super Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition, I figured this was the next logical entry to take a crack at.

From the moment you fire up Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, all thirty-five playable characters are available for use. A wide variety of play styles is accounted for, and every player should be able to find at someone that fits their specific approach to combat. The downside to this is that it significantly reduces the replay value. Were there a handful of characters that needed to be unlocked before use, it would have expanded the gaming experience substantially, but there is only so much that can be drawn from character stories that are comprised of two cutscenes a piece and a trophy collection.

The main arcade mode follows each character’s individual involvement with S.I.N. and Shadaloo, though the majority of the experience is spent in combat. This allows for the arcade experience to move along at a nice pace. The final boss fight against Seth feels both challenging a balanced – a step in the right direction after Third Strike’s lopsided final fight against Gil. Five levels of difficulty are available, and the graduation from one to the next feels consistent and fair. Players can also pick up single matches, either against a CPU or online against another player. The car crushing and barrel smashing minigames are available for play at any time, while a series of challenges can be accessed to hone each character’s individual moves.

The 3D effect is used in two different ways. While viewing in the standard side-scrolling fighter mode, the depth perception increases, better defining the distance between the fighters, the backdrop, and any environmental objects. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition also allows players to play a match in an over-the-shoulder mode meant to create a more cinematic approach to the fight. While it is an interesting idea, the standard tried-and-true camera angle proves more practical and convenient.

Overall, the game looks quite nice. The level of detail is obviously downgraded from the console versions of Super Street Fighter IV, but the colorful comic book-style character models and their fluid motions make the visuals very smooth. None of the environmental objects move, but backgrounds are decorated with a range of spectators, brightly colored cars, and solid lighting effects. The soundtrack is catchy and presents a variety of musical styles, though it is not as bold and experimental as Third Strike’s.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition presents a fun handheld fighting experience. It is easy to jump into, though increasing the difficulty setting will be sure to please veterans of the series. Though the replay factor is somewhat lacking and the number of gameplay modes pretty standard, it is impressive that Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition runs so smoothly on a handheld.

My rating: 8 (out of 10)

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