Street Fighter IV impressions: No quarters necessary

Street Fighter IV plays most like 3rd strike, but looks like an entirely new game.

We've been in love with the Street Fighter franchise ever sincewe first saw a Street Fighter II machine in our local arcade. It's been a long time since we sunk a 20-cent into that machine and took a hold of the greasy joystick-like we said, it was at an arcade parlour – but it was eighth grade all over again as we sat down in front of Street Fight IV. But nostalgia aside, this is a brand new game. Sure, it builds upon the foundation laid down by the granddaddy of all fighting games, but Capcom has put in a lot of work and is moving the franchise in a bold new direction. We were treated to a sneak peek of the game through two pre-production Japanese arcade cabinets linked together in versus mode at GDC. Here are our impressions.

The most striking departure from the series norm lies in the graphics. The visual style is beyond anything I've seen in a Street Fighter game. You've all seen the screenshots that have been released but the static images don't do the game justice; heck, not even the videos that you've seen online do the proper job of conveying the game's visual prowess. The character animations are fluid and the colour schemes are bold and eye-catching. For example, punch a foe in the breadbasket and his eyes will bug out of their sockets. The blows now land with a satisfying crunch, adding a nice visceral layer to the action. When Zangief picks you up and slams you to the ground, you can't help but wince as your neck breaks like a straw.

Gameplay-wise, it's still old school Street Fighter. The timing felt a tad slower than previous versions and there were small adjustments that we had to make in the version we played, jamming the buttons got you up off the ground quicker. As someone who cut their teeth on old school Street Fighter, we kept expecting our fighter to just hop up by himself. It definitely affects the timing of the fight. But there's no need to worry: learning the rhythm of the action is what Street Fighter is all about and we felt confident that if we put in the time, we could learn the battle system, just as we did with all the versions of SF that have come out over the years. This means that we will eventually get used to the super move system, the countering system and the Revenge system (we weren't able to get enough play time to figure out the nuances of that last one). And we might be wrong but we could've sworn we saw a parry system in there. Again, we might be wrong on that one so don't quote us.

One other thing that caught our eye is there were only 10 playable characters as of this time. The original eight were there as were the two new additions, Abel and Crimson Viper. But get this: the character selection screen looked rather spacious, so we wouldn't be surprised if Capcom wasn't done introducing new characters. We're not saying we have some sort of secret information but consider it an educated guess. Also, did we mention how awesome the game looks yet? Because it really does look pretty sweet. Visuals aside, the little touches are amazing. The camera will zoom in on a character as they set up for a special move, for instance, and watching Ryu scrunch up his face as he gathers up energy in his hands adds a nice touch.

Guile's stage, for instance, has fighter jets in the background and bystanders observing the action. We did notice that there wasn't much in the way of visual fluff, however, but quickly found out why: according to Capcom PR reps, the game is only about 51 percent of the way there. Yes, you read that right: Capcom is only about halfway done with the game. That just makes what we saw all the more impressive. The company could drop that game machine in the nearest arcade and rake in the quarters. Sure, over time, people would notice the rough edges and start pointing them out but the game certainly looked like it was ready to enter the ring. The idea that Capcom will take the time to finish the other half of the game just has us salivating at the possibilities. We were told to expect things like gameplay tweaks, balancing issues and the overall quality of the visuals to be raised to final polish levels. For example, Capcom plans to spice up Guile's stage with fighter jets zipping through the sky during matches.

Of course, Capcom is being mum on the finer details. There was no talk about a release date or new characters or new features; also, they wouldn't talk about the possibilities of a home console version, but we all know it's inevitable, right? Though our time with the pre-production Japanese arcade was brief what we were able to see and play definitely raised our hopes that Street Fighter IV can reinvigorate the franchise and put Capcom on the forefront of the fighting game genre. We personally can't wait to line up at our local arcade machine and slap some gold coins down to reserve our place in line, and we really can't wait for the home console versions to come out so we can kick some ass in the comfort of our own living room. Good thing the HD remake of Street Fighter II is coming out soon: we can use that to practice our rusty fighting skills.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tae K. Kim

GamePro (online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?