The 3DS is a console which promises new and exciting experiences thanks to the 3D and wireless functions so you’d expect a fresh new game from Nintendo to be the killer app game on the system at launch. Who’d have though a console port from a third-party would take the crown. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition steps into the ring and knocks the competition out. Fight!
Super Street Fighter IV was already a fantastic game on the home consoles, providing competitive fluid arcade fighting with an ease of use everyone could get to grips with, though find hard to master. The 3D edition takes everything and squeezes it into the tiny cart adding 3D, StreetPass functionality and touch screen instant move buttons. It loses advanced online though still features a basic online play and also loses the animated backgrounds, but this is an impressive looking handheld game looking almost as good as the home versions. Seeing Ryu and co animated in the cartoony full of expression style on the small screen is a wonder to see and the 3D effects impress. The people and animals in the background looking stuffed and motionless is a little off-putting and creepy at times, but usually you won’t notice thanks to the fast paced fighting and flurry of special effects going off in the foreground.
The gameplay is as tight and challenging as expected. One versus one with characters ranging from ninjas to hot spies, a large portion of the cast is iconic with the hadouken throwing Ryu, the thick thighs Chun Li and the green electric monster Blanka. The objective is to whittle down the other players health bar to zero. You move side to side throwing punches, kicks and other special attacks and the best way to play is the defensive one, looking for openings. A lot of joystick wiggling and button bashing will net some results, but the best way to play is to learn one of the characters and their main attacks so you can think logically and counter anything that comes your way, rather than being a cheap bastard and using the same move again and again you’ve figured out from random presses. It isn’t all fighting either with the extra mini games to play involving smashing cars and barrels. Smashing stuff is always fun.
The 3D is a wow moment. While the standard fighting side on view only offers a subtle if pleasing effect with the occasional eye-popping moment, usually related to the amazing ultra moves, the 3D Versus mode provides an over the shoulder view, which really brings the depth and pop out views in a way which is clear for all to see . It is incredible and a sure-fire seller of the 3DS’s main feature, though it isn’t the best way to play seriously and will be resorted to being a mode to show off to people. The 3D effects in the side on standard mode are the best way to play as you still get the tactical view and the depth and pop out effect.
One new mode which will always be used though is the figurine mode. Here you use fight points earned, or play coins from walking around in real life with the system, to unlock different figures of the 35 strong cast through a roulette game. Collecting them becomes an obsession and they aren’t just there to goggle at, they hold a real purpose with the StreetPass mode. Selecting a team of five figures you wander the streets with the 3DS in hope of an opponent. If you meet someone with their figures, they will battle it out when you get back, unlocking points to spend on more figures. It is incredibly exciting to find a victor and it soon becomes a daily necessity to wander the streets and find more foes.
The third new feature is the most controversial, customisable touch screen controls. For each character you can select four moves to access at the press of the thumb, they can be anything from standard kicks to special attacks which will leave a few players feeling that the skill of the game has dropped down. I for one welcome these new touch screen buttons which helps counter the 3DS being a little cramped to pull of the crazy complex moves with buttons every time and they help less skilled players have a chance against tough opponents, especially online. For the purists there is a pro mode which only allows basic moves and an online mode to block touch screen using players. They aren’t all rosy for new players though as it increases the amount of cheap spammers online. Don’t throw the 3DS, it costs a lot of money.
The game is a great package then and truly impresses for a launch game being stuffed full of features and quality. The main criticisms are the same as the main console version. Rubbish anime cut scenes as incentives to play arcade mode and an incredibly cheap boss called Seth which ruins the single player fun somewhat. It isn’t quite as perfect as the console versions which allow joystick support and offline player without the need for two 3DS’s, but this is a top quality launch title everyone should be buying with their new console. A near perfect port to play on the bus? Sold.