E3 2008: Street Fighter IV hands on

by: Sean Cahill -
Capcom had an outstanding lineup this E3, and that is partly because of the return of the Street Fighter franchise. While we have been patiently waiting for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix to come out on Xbox Live, we have been thrown a bone from time to time with trailers, screenshots, and articles regarding the resurrection of one of the premier franchises in fighting games. All of those tidbits, however, do not do the game justice.
During my one hour visit with the folks at Capcom, I spent thirty minutes of it demoing this upcoming blockbuster. Capcom brought in arcade machines straight from Japan to give us a taste of what to expect. Visually, the game is absolutely beautiful. Character models have been redone to fit today’s high definition needs for gaming. While some of the characters look even bigger than past models, and this will be pretty clear when you see the size of Ryu and Ken, the models themselves are still very well done.
The background for each stage is what truly impressed me the most. All stages have been redone almost completely from scratch, although Capcom kept the primary idea behind each stage intact. So, for those who really love seeing the China street vendors in Chun-Li’s stage, never fear as it is still there, just given a face lift graphically.
Staying with the backgrounds, you’ll notice that even though the game maintains the 2D side screen view, it has the 3D feel to it. This is largely in part due to the way each background is modeled. In past versions, I never truly felt that the game was trying to pass itself off with 3D models. This version, however, really does give you that feel, even though you are always going left or right.
Controlling the characters is a little tricky, however. Talking with a couple of the Capcom representatives, they chalked up the sensitivity to the fact that most Japanese arcade games are very sensitive. When asked if this would be changed whenever the game itself makes its way over to the United States, I wasn’t given a straight answer. So, this could be a concern.
The primary cast of characters remains the same, with the original twelve from Street Fighter II (eight main characters and four bosses) still in the game, along with four new characters as of the current time.
Street Fighter IV looks to be one of the best titles at this year’s E3. My only concern is the control scheme, as the motions stay the same but it seems harder to pull off moves. The game is beautiful, though, and you can easily lose yourself in it for a long span of time.
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