How can I tie this into some recent news? Well first, Super Street Fighter 4 3D edition just became the first million-selling 3DS game, and more news was just released about the surprisingly angry looking Street Fighter x Tekken. That seems like as good a reason as any to sort of review what is by far the best 3DS launch game.
Street Fighter 4 essentially restarted the fighting game genre initially created by Capcom in the early 90’s with Street Fighter 2. Since then we’ve seen new games in the Vs. series, a renewed focus on Mortal Kombat and the spiritual successor to Guilty Gear, BlazBlue. But like before, Street Fighter remains the standard-bearer, and when it was released on PS3 and 360 two years ago it was met with critical acclaim from casual and hardcore fighting game fans alike. And a let me tell you one thing, as a huge fan of Smash Bros., I can attest to how finicky hardcore fighting game people can be.
Because of Street Fighter 4, this craziness is now possible
This 3DS port carries over the content from the “Super” version of the game including its new characters, ultra combos and online options as well as adding some new features like wireless trophy trading. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the game will receive any of the new arcade content coming to other consoles as downloadable content. The most divisive change though is the ability to map moves to four buttons on the touch screen.
Here comes what I really want to talk about in this review. It’s about the disagreement I have with the fundamentals of how modern 2D fighting games (besides Smash Bros) control. Pushing buttons to do moves in fine. Pushing multiple buttons or holding the stick in a particular direction is fine too. But all the various circular motions most fighting games want you to do with the stick to pull off some moves creates such a completely arbitrary skill wall between players. I understand how an arcade stick is a better controller than the 3DS’s cramped six buttons but I fail to see how rolling a four-way joystick across eight cardinal directions adds anything to gameplay besides making move execution unnecessarily difficult.
The touch screen buttons solve this because they are quick and responsive. It’s like going from using motion controls to a classic controller to play some Wii games. But since the games are built with the original flawed system in mind, the touch screen buttons break the whole thing and purists are right to be mad as more and more games start using these slapdash simple modes. However, instead of going back to the way things were, we need to be thinking about how to reinvent the genre for the better now that’s relevant again. I’ll end this rant with this, fighting game skill shouldn’t come from just pure technical prowess, it should about the strategy needed to do moves at the right time. That’s not to say Street Fighter isn’t a highly strategic game. I just feel one shouldn’t ever have to worry about move execution. It distracts from the strategy when it doesn’t have to.
Street Fighter 4 still an immensely enjoyable game on the 3DS though, with plenty of modes and multiplayer options that should keep players of all skill levels at least somewhat entertained. In terms of 3D functionality though once again, like pretty much all 3D, it’s cool but not needed at all. It’s not Ghost Recon Shadow Wars level of subtle (which is a secretly awesome game) but I play with the 3D on full blast and encountered no problems. The game features a dynamic camera angle mode to highlight the 3D but it’s not the best way to play the game so it’s more of a novelty than anything else. Oddly enough, the only time 3D on the 3DS has had any sort of impact on me was in the Mii Maker. That actually bothered my eyes on full blast. Weird.
So yeah, after a few weeks with the device my original views on the 3D part of the 3DS still stand. After seeing Tron Legacy in 2D for the first time and thinking it was better for it I am now more convinced than ever than 3D can go die in a fire. But the fact alone that the 3DS can replicate a PS3 and 360 game, and a really good one at that, so well is proof enough of the system’s value.
Plus there are still two more months until that Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remake so you’ll need something play until then.
Bring on Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for 3DS. MODOK wants to take you for an interdimensional ride