Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is the best 3DS launch title.
Which isn't to say that it's just the best of a bad bunch. Capcom have crunched the entire SSIV experience onto a handheld platform along with luscious graphics, 3D support and a host of new content that's designed to show off Nintendo's new system to advantage.
Just in case you're still here, let's take a closer look at what makes Capcom's latest brawler one of the best in class.
Super Street Fighter IV released to rave reviews and massive fan support in early 2010. After many years of obscurity and inferiority relative to the likes of Soul Calibur and Blazblue, the venerable franchise hit back with a massive roster of characters and upgraded fighting mechanics that promote both fluid freestyling and beardy memorisation of combo lists. It's generally considered to be one of the best brawlers of the current console generation.
The 3D Edition is, to all intents and purposes, exactly the same as its home console brother. All of the characters, stages, modes and combos are intact, with the all-important commands mapped to the face buttons and triggers. Depending on whether you choose the Pro or Lite control schemes, four touchscreen icons display some of the more fiddly (and handy) techniques, giving you one-touch control in the heat of battle. The Circle Pad is as responsive and solid as ever, though personally, I tended to opt for the D-Pad to ensure that combos were pulled off without incident. Both schemes - and pads - work exceedingly well.
All of the feel distinct and unique; offering entirely different sets of moves, combos and stances. You've got light, medium and heavy punches and kicks at your disposal... and throws... and blocks... and combos... and counters... and technicals... all of which can be organically pulled off in during battle. Players will still need to pore over the combo lists and log hours of studious grind in practice mode to master it, but rank newcomers will find the battle system to be extremely accessible compared to some of the more arcane brawlers.
But this isn't just a straight port. Not by a long shot. The Nintendo 3DS offers true glasses-free 3D visuals and Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is keen to showcase it in a new selectable mode. At the expense of animated backgrounds (oh well), the new dynamic mode places the camera behind your character's shoulder and swoops in to give the best possible views of signature moves. The standard mode can still be viewed in 3D, and looks equally fantastic if less overtly flashy. Don't worry, it still looks good in the standard two dimensions.
As mentioned above, the 3D Edition contains the original arcade mode with cartoon cutscenes and voice acting for each of the characters, practice mode, mini-game challenges and a bevy of multiplayer modes that take advantage of the 3DS' online capability. Local multiplayer can be effortlessly conducted via Wi-Fi, with the added bonus of download play letting you face off against people who don't even own the game. Players can choose between the standard and 3D modes, with separate lobbies for each.
And then there are the online modes, which grants you the ability to host and join multiplayer matches against anyone else with an internet connection. Winning matches earns you player points, battle points and trophies that can be displayed as custom statuses to strike fear into your enemies. Once again, seperate lobbies cater for every style of play, visual preference and whether or not you want to fight your friends or total strangers. The slightest hint of lag occasionally dogs international matches, but there's no current equal on the system.
Seriously, most triple-A console titles ship with worse multiplayer suites. It's absolutely outstanding.
Finally, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition features a fun new use for the 3DS' StreetPass functionality. You can assemble a team of characters who'll scrap with an opponent's force when you pass them by - and game data will be swapped even if you don't have the cartridge in your console. It's fairly basic in terms of battling, but there are a huge number of figurines to unlock, collect and swap. Prepare for a uniquely addictive metagame.
- Contains everything that makes Super Street Fighter great
- Packed with modes, multiplayer and massive value
- Fantastic 3D visuals
- Purists might hate the new 'Lite' controls
- Occasional - and understandable - lag
- Puts the rest of the 3DS lineup to shame
The Short Version: Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition contains all the beautiful, brutal brawling of its console predecessors - and manages to add yet more content to the package. If you're a fan of fighting games and happen to own a 3DS, there should be no hestitation in your mind. Buy this game, and do so immediately.