I recently posted with news that My Memory are selling the limited edition of Street Fighter IV for just £20.95; this deal is still going and remains a fantastic price but if you are simply in the market for the game, without all the extra frippery, then it may please you to hear that, in light of Super Street Fighter IV's announcement, the price of the bog-standard version has gone into free-fall with prices dropping almost daily!
The Hut are currently leading the pack with a price of £15.73. Zavvi are just behind, asking £15.95 (although their pricing for this game seems to fluctuate on a day-by-day basis!) but then the price leaps up to nearly £2 more.
According to The Hut's spiel, Street Fighter is "the undisputed king of the beat 'em up". I dispute that. As a young 'un, as much as I marvelled at Dhalsim's magical limbs and thrilled to hear Blanka's whoops and growls, I kinda preferred Mortal Kombat (Blood! Fatalities!) and these days Soul Calibur is probably my favourite fighter series (Weapons! Speeeeed!). However, what should remain undisputed is the quality of the series and that goes for this new instalment in particular. Capcom have clearly lavished a whole heap of love and attention on the game and it shines through.
If you spent years of a wasted youth perfecting your Hadouken and Sonic Boom then you will be pleased to hear that the game feels much the same as the Street Fighters of old with virtually the same control system. Plenty of the characters that you know and love return too, with the core twelve available from the start and plenty more to discover throughout the course of the game. Everything feels familiar and cosy but with a serious overhaul - the graphics are impeccable (personally I think all the characters look incredibly ugly and oddly reminiscent of glazed hams but this ugliness sure is rendered well) and the game feels solid and well built throughout.
As well as the fighters of old, there is a good range of newcomers, which makes a nice break from the myriad of Ken/Ryu style fighters with their spectrum of Hadoukens, but you will probably find yourself sticking with your old favourites once the novelty has worn off. New moves for all characters; focus attacks and ultra combos, keep things fresh, with the latter adding a fun vengeance element to play.
Beat 'em ups are made for multiplayer so it's good to see a nice variety of options, both on and offline. Unfortunately I have seen first hand how the online play can suffer serious lag, and the rage that inevitably ensues. Luckily it usually runs without a hitch though.
I personally cannot summon the enthusiasm that the rest of the world seems to feel for Street Fighter IV and find that its (admittedly few) flaws spoil it for me. Perhaps I'm just being a humbug because I am a bit rubbish at it but it does not compel me to keep at it and improve, instead it tends to leave me cold.