Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Street Fighter IV at Super Arcade!!!!
Yesterday, Street Fighter IV is finally out in the United States courtesy of Super Arcade at Walnut, CA (Tekken 6 is also there). After reading about it, I was hella excited to go today to mess with the game and indeed I did for four hours. Good thing I came early (it got crowded around lunch time) because this game is still amazing and fun even after four hours of winning, losing, and watching others. Unforuntately, the owner of Super didn't get the official cabinet Capcom used at the L.A. event last month, San Diego Comic-Con, and Evo 2k8 as he at least got the boards necessary to play the game. It is in one of those Japanese-like cabinets you see at Japanese arcades (Astro City to be specific) as like Capcom's setup, two machines have the play for link matches to between with two separate players instead of being cluttered to one screen (The same thing is for MvC2, SFIII: 3rd Strike, and Tekken 5 DR over at Super). Being those cabinets means the game is not in HD compared to Capcom's official cabinets, but it still looks and plays beautifully. Like Tekken 6 there, Street Fighter IV costs 50 cents to play, which is not bad and it could be more expensive in other places if they have the official cabinets.
Three modes are selectable from the gate: Arcade, Beginner, and Trial. Arcade mode is the standard run-through of stages and then facing off against the final boss, Seth. Beginner and trial modes seem straightforward, so likely they won't be played. For the first couple of weeks, the single player game run won't likely happen as versus matches are bound to happen against great competition throughout the day. All 16 characters that have seen to death are playable with the original 12 for Street Fighter II to the four newcomers: Crimson Viper, Abel, El Fuerte, and Rufus. As expected the hardcore crowd, high-tiers and shotos run the show as Zangief and Rufus can be unstoppable to beat pending on how good the guy is with them (Easy double-digit win streaks win those characters). Ryu and Ken are obviously played a lot, so I decided to use characters that the others won't likely use, which are Sagat, Blanka, and Guile. For now, Sagat is my best character when the switch is on for me doing Tiger Uppercuts, Tiger Knees, and doing his Ultra on time. Blanka and Guile are good enough #2 and #3 characters for me even though I won't use their Ultras as I would stick with their EX specials. Since the game is out for two days at Super, no one has mastered the Focus Attack and all of its uses, but likely in a week or two, I expect the good players to learn to parry well like 3rd Strike. The Focus Attack is what it is as advertised in the videos so far as a stun strike when fully charged, a cancel, and a parry. Learning how to capitalize with the full blown Save Strike is the tricky part as I couldn't nail the combo I wanted to with Guile and Sagat (For example: Sagat would use his save strike and usually follow with an EX Tiger Uppercut). Along with the Focus Attack, not a lot of players have mastered the cancels yet either, but expect that to change in a week as normal players to go to Super are still learning the game. Also absent besides the HDness is the card system that Japanese machines have for character customization (pretty much different colors of their standard outfit and their crazy alternate costume) and tracking wins and losses.
Even you are new to Street Fighter IV, if you have veteran skills from Street Fighter II, you'll be fine here and pull off wins that way. In addition, hardcore 3rd Strike players feel right as home too with throws staying the same from that game (Both jab and short), EX specials the same (Both punches or kicks when doing special moves), and Focus Attacks (Both strong and forward). Capcom delivered on the promise that SF IV is a return to the SFII scene for many players that never play SFIII as it is still fun for even the casual player, but also deep for the hardcore player that will master Focus Attacks and cancels. From my time there, at least all the characters got played at least once especially guys like Dhalsim and Balrog, which rarely get used over at Japan and other events the game was shown off. The sticks and buttons feel fine for now over at Super, but be prepared to deal with them maybe being broken after a while, but for a game as big as this, expect it to be fixed as soon as possible. Good thing if I have to wait a long time to play SF IV, there's still Tekken 6 even though that game's popularity over at Super has worn off (MvC2 and the racing games like Initial D Vol. 4 and Maximum Tune 3 still get heavy play time.
Likely I will go again on Friday, we'll see what happens. There are certain games that you can't stop playing or watching because it is so awesome which is how I feel now with Street Fighter IV. Expect a review of the arcade version by the end of the month as I still need to play single player and mess with more characters like the new ones.