Genre: Fighter | Developer: Dimps/Capcom
Publisher: Capcom (JP, USA), Nintendo (Europe) | Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Players: 1-2 | Rating: T (Teen) | Release: Out Now
Here in Europe, a key sign that Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition was something special came when Nintendo announced that they’d be picking the game up from Capcom and publishing it themselves – a sure-fire sign they saw something special and new. That puts SSF43D in the same boat as titles like Dragon Quest IX, and made it one of the key flagship launch titles for the Nintendo 3DS.
As a huge Street Fighter IV fan, I was skeptical when Capcom said they were going to put their top fighter onto a handheld. Would it look good enough? How many features would be cut? What about the controls? The number of worries was stacking up, but thankfully Capcom have done a bang-up job porting the 360 and PS3 title over to the 3DS.
In terms of the core gameplay Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is near-enough identical to its Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts. There are the same 35 characters, the same 22 stages, the same two bonus stages, the same move sets, super combos, ultra combos and even costumes – as while Capcom have included some extra costumes for each character; they’re merely the DLC from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.
That core gameplay is still absolutely brilliant and incredibly addictive, and the great news is Capcom has built in a similar number of multiplayer options both on and offline to the console versions – but we’ll touch on that more later on.
The important thing in any fighter is the controls, and Capcom have done an admirable job in making the most of the 3DS control methods. The D-Pad and Circle Pad both perform well in terms of being easy to perform the familiar Street Fighter moves on, and I actually found the Circle Pad to be easier to use from the off than a proper analog stick.
Surprisingly, my problem came with the buttons – with four face buttons and two triggers those are easily mapped to the three punch buttons and three kick buttons, but for some reason I found EX moves, which require two buttons to be pressed at once, harder to perform than on any other platform. Likewise for Ultra Combos, which require all three punch or kick buttons to be pressed at once.
This isn’t ideal, but I also noticed my ability to pull off these moves increased significantly as time went on and I became more experienced with the game. Nothing on a handheld is ever going to compete with an arcade stick, but I think the options Capcom have put on the table for this game are pretty solid.
Past traditional controls, there are also the ‘Lite’ controls, which allow you to shortcut entire moves onto four different panels on the bottom screen. Ryu, for example, has his Tatsu (Hurricane Kick), Hadouken and Super and Ultra Combos on the lower buttons, and hitting one shortcuts past the command for that move and makes it happen on screen.
This will be seen by some as a cheat, but the Lite controls can be configured to use something more simple – like if you struggle to pull off EX moves, you can just put those on the screen. For Ultra Combos, you can either shortcut the full move or just shortcut all three punch or kick buttons at once, giving you the option of performing the stick motion or not.
That will probably just make Street Fighter purists shake their heads even harder, but I really believe what they’ve done is a clever thing. This simple addition has made the game far more accessible to a massive audience of people, and the ‘Pro’ controls are still there for those who want the original experience.
In terms of modes, 3D Edition has all the single player modes from the original including Arcade, Challenges, Bonuses Stages and of course the ability to hit the Training Stage. For multiplayer, there’s on and offline matches using either Local Wireless or Internet play.
Going online is as simple as hitting the Internet Play menu and joining or creating a lobby. There are only 1v1 lobbies, so there’s no Endless Battle here – you just enter a match against one person and compete to increase your rank. PP tracks your overall performance while BP tracks your performance as each individual character, and that helps to determine who the game matches you against.
All my online matches ran incredibly smoothly for a handheld, so the netcode seems very competent, and the game has options that let you choose if you want to fight people using the shortcut buttons on the bottom screen so you can lock out those using the simpler control method if you so please.
There were a few things I missed in multiplayer – a strange omission for me to miss were the flags which tell you what country the person you’re facing is from and the lack of multi-man lobbies is a shame, but overall the online experience is tip-top on a handheld.
There are also some StreetPass features in the form of a ‘Figure Collection’ mode. Every battle you compete in earns you FP – Figure Points – that can then be spent on a slot machine to earn little mini figurines of the Street Fighter cast. The figures have basic stats, and then the rest works a little like a trading card game – you create a team of five figures and when you pass others they ‘fight’ and the results are based on the figure stats.
There are restrictions on how many powerful figures you can use and winning fights earns you more FP to get more figures with. You can also trade figures with people via Local Wireless. It’s a fun mode, and I enjoyed collecting figures for a few days – but now the reward of more Figure Points for fighting seems a little slim, as you have to press a button twice for every time you want to spend 200 points for a figure – and when you’ve got 20,000 points to spend that’s a lot of idle button pressing.
Past all those features there’s also a new ‘3D view’ mode which essentially places the camera over a shoulder of the character you’re playing, letting you see depth into the back of the stage. It’s a fun distraction, but not how Street Fighter is meant to be played by any means.
In either mode 3D Edition is a great showcase of what the 3DS can achieve graphically – the models for the cast are very close to the 360 and PS3 versions of the game, but that comes at the cost of the backgrounds. While they have a great deal of cool-looking 3D depth, they’re now all static so there’s no movement at all.
There’s a lot of value packed into this cart in the end, with a ton of modes, characters and options both on and offline. It’s a great fix for Street Fighter IV fans like me who can’t always be at home and near their huge arcade stick, and the touch screen implementation is ballsy but brilliant.
There’s a few disappointing elements in the port and in the new 3DS features, but Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is a really competent version of what is to me one of the best and most complete fighting game experiences for a very long time. It may not be perfect, but it definitely stands out from the crowd as one of the very best 3DS launch titles.
- 9 / 10
A copy of this game was given to The Gaming Vault by the publisher for review purposes.