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Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Fighting/ Arcade/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Capcom has brought the best fighting game of this current generation to the Nintendo 3DS, and for the most part, it's a resounding success. Nearly everything that was great about the home console release of Super Street Fighter IV is present in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Frankly, this game's only shortcomings are to be expected from a portable game anyway.

It doesn't boast the same framerate or general visual crispness of its console and arcade brethren, but Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition retains the striking visual style of Super Street Fighter IV. That includes all of the expressive character models and the stellar animation work. The starburst special effects that accompany combo KOs are back, as are the inky contrails left behind by focus attacks. The only weak spots are visible in the rather mediocre animated cutscenes -- as they were in the console versions. The 3D isn't abused, but it isn't used in moderation. For most players, the spatial difference between the fighting action and the heads-up display will be the most prominent instances of 3D effects. Those who want something only the 3DS can provide can treat themselves to 3D Versus mode, which offers a unique and welcome new perspective dubbed "Dynamic View."

As expected, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition's sound design is identical to that of the console versions, and that's not a negative at all. The music is fast-paced and energetic, the voice acting is appropriately cheesy, and the sound effects (while not realistic) carry a lot of impact. There's simply nothing to complain about.


Gameplay:

So here we are. It's time for gaming's longest-running and most beloved fighting game franchise to make its appearance on the Nintendo 3DS. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition throws down the gauntlet with an addictive, feature-stuffed package that will undoubtedly please fans of the franchise.

At the heart of the entire experience is the classic Arcade Mode, where you can take one of thirty-five characters through his or her own incomprehensible storyline as they battle their way to a final confrontation with the token cheap final boss (and resident Dr. Manhattan lookalike) Seth. This structure, as commonplace as it may be for fighting games, doesn't really need to change in order to keep the core gameplay fresh and fun.

I was a bit worried about the online component for Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Most of my portable online gaming experiences have been a stone's throw away from disastrous, after all. When compared to other handheld experiences, SSFIV 3D's online multiplayer comes out on top, offering just as much fun and depth as its console counterpart. It's imperfect, as latency issues rear their ugly heads every few matches or so -- but the same could be said of Super Street Fighter IV over Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network.


Difficulty:

Strangely enough, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition's biggest departure from the core experience lies in this department. By nature, fighting games tend not to offer much when it comes to accessibility. Some feature a stiff learning curve, while others are borderline impenetrable. I never played a Street Fighter game that wasn't easy to pick up and play, but SSFIV 3D redefines that four-word gaming buzz phrase. Most of the inputs required for each character's defining special abilities are on the simple side, but Capcom decided to take it one step further to ensure an even smoother acclimation experience. And by "step," I mean "gameplay mechanic."

Game Mechanics:

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, give or take a few compromises and additions, is the same game that released to acclaim last spring, only in portable format. The only things that have partially changed are the controls.

Put simply, the Nintendo 3DS is two triggers short of the current next-gen controller layout, and the two that exist are small and difficult to press on demand -- especially when you're trying to perform an Ultra Combo. So, Capcom decided to map two abilities and both Power Combos to the touchscreen. This will go a long way with newcomers, and I must admit to enjoying this addition myself; as much as I love the 3DS's Analog Stick, it isn't nearly as precise as the Xbox 360's. Furthermore, going all out with special moves all but guarantees too much screen movement, which can make anyone nauseous. Though it may make the hardcore cringe, the four-button mapping is an elegant implement for accessibility, as well as convenience.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition does have one feature that only a portable device can pull off. It's a Street Pass feature that involves collectible figurines. Figure Points can be earned in battle or by simply putting your 3DS in Sleep Mode and walking around. While it's nice to have something unique, I found this feature tried too hard to pad the game's longevity, which is fine enough without it.

While it's true that most of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition isn't new, it's impressive that Capcom was able to make such a smooth transition. If, like me, you are one of those gamers who has to have each new bit of hardware at launch, this is one of those games that staves off immediate buyer's remorse.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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