Genre: Fighter | Developer: Dimps/Capcom | Publisher: Capcom/Nintendo (Europe)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS | Players: 1-2 | Rating: T (Teen) | Release: TBC March
When I was out at the Nintendo 3DS European Press Launch over in Amsterdam, the first title I rushed to see was Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Cordoned off into it’s own large area known as the “Ono Dojo” – named after Series Producer Yoshinori Ono – it was clearly a very important 3DS Launch Title to Nintendo.
Confession time: I’ve played a lot of Street Fighter IV. Booting up my Xbox 360 version of Super Street Fighter IV to check for this article, I note, with horror, that I’ve clocked over 200 hours on the game – and that doesn’t count the original Street Fighter IV, nor the PS3 version of Super that I also own. I’m the proud owner of several FightSticks, and even reviewed the Official Super Street Fighter IV FightPad and Stick here on TGV.
That, I think, qualifies me pretty well to speak about the Nintendo 3DS version of the title. I’ve taken the best part of a week to let my thoughts about the build I played over in Amsterdam at Nintendo’s 3DS launch settle, and now they have I’ve come to a simple conclusion: This is a very solid handheld port.
A glance at the game will at first reveal things that feel pretty good and instil more confidence than some of the other titles on display at the show – it looks remarkably close to its console counterparts considering the reduced horsepower, comes with pretty much all of the features from the console version and even packs in a few exclusive 3DS modes for good measure.
That means you’re going to have the full cast of 35 playable characters from the 360 and PS3 versions and 3 costumes for 25 of the characters, 2 for the remaining 10, all the stages, all the animated story cutscenes, all the music and, excitingly, seemingly all the online options from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.
In terms of new additions the big one is the new “3D view” mode that places the camera over the shoulder of the character you’re playing. This can be a bit bewildering at first as the controls remain the same as they are in the 2D view, but after a few rounds the whole thing quickly became second nature and my Cammy was able to pull off a few of the basic combos that are so familiar to her in the console version from a completely different perspective.
I think that view over combat isn’t something anyone will want to use in their actual serious bouts, but it’s a nice novelty feature for the 3DS version and without a doubt one of the game features that will be a great demonstration of how the 3D effect can be used to great success.
Whatever view you choose – traditional or 3D – you’ll find that Capcom has done an admirable job at making the game look great on the tiny 3DS screen. The reduced horsepower isn’t a problem, with the game maintaining a smooth framerate with the 3D effect the 3DS can provide on or off – though eagle-eyed gamers will likely spot that the framerate does drop a little when the game is running with the 3D effect on, regardless of what ‘style’ of camera you choose.
Another addition for the 3DS is the new ‘Lite’ mode, which provides touchscreen-based aids for players to hit during gameplay. The game controls similarly to the console versions without the touchscreen – you can use the slide pad or the d-pad to control character movement while the face buttons and triggers allow for six buttons – one for Light, Medium and Heavy for Punches and Kicks.
It feels pretty good. I use a FightStick, and while I don’t wish to sound like a fighting game snob few traditional controller experiences can match up to that, but I’d say the 3DS version of Super Street Fighter IV feels as good as it does with my 360 pad or DualShock 3. Some moves and combos are harder, though, and how closely-spaced the 3DS buttons are could cause those with larger hands problems.
For those where pulling off an Ultra Combo or even a normal Hadoken is an issue is where the new Lite mode comes into play. Four buttons appear on the touchscreen, and each can be mapped to specific special moves for each character. It essentially amounts to a shortcut, and with Cammy I found it easier at the show to perform regular moves with the buttons and trigger her Ultra Combo by hitting the shortcut – the best of both worlds.
For multiplayer Capcom have clearly understood that this could cause issues and so matchmaking is set to filter between Lite and Pro gameplay. Lite allows use of the touchscreen shortcuts, while Pro limits players to only playing with the ‘proper’ traditional inputs.
Local multiplayer was on show at the event with two 3DS consoles set up to use it set to Arcade Challenge mode. This involved starting up an arcade game like on the 360 or PS3 – and while you play, the consoles search in the background for any ‘challengers’ who are also set to Arcade Challenge mode. The consoles took a few moments to find each other, and then threw the pair into a multiplayer match against each other. It’s a clever system, and it works great on the 3DS.
There’s plenty of other 3DS features that just weren’t conducive to being shown off at the show, too – Spectator Mode lets you watch other players battle it out, while StreetPass allows you to collect Street Fighter Figurines and battle them against other players without even turning the 3DS on. These features seem cool in theory, but I’ll have to see them myself before passing judgement on the issue.
Overall Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition seems to be a truly impressive port of the visuals, gameplay and feature set of the console version of this generation’s most successful fighter, and while sacrifices are visible in the less-dynamic looking backgrounds and lower-resolution character artwork they’re all necessary and all ones that don’t compromise the core experience.
While 3D mode and the 3D effect both look good, the one complaint than can be issued against Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is that it doesn’t seem to do much with that tent pole feature of the 3DS – the 3D itself. Even without truly compelling 3D features, this appears to be a superb version of an already brilliant game as well as being one you can carry in your pocket – and as such seems to be destined to be a star of the 3DS launch line-up.
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is set to launch alongside the 3DS in the US and Europe on March 27th and March 25th respectively.