The Manifesto's doing things a bit differently this week. We're focusing on Street Fighter IV (and how amazingly good it is) by offering capsule reviews from two perspectives: the casual gamer and the pro.
They aren't giving scores (trust us, it's that good, just get it!) but rather general impressions.
The casual player: Will Wood Jr.
It's hard to say what's so good about Street Fighter IV at first.
Initially it feels like Street Fighter II, simply because the game is played on a two-dimensional plane. This is perfect for me; I always liked the simplicity of a 2-D playing field. That's where the nostalgia stops, though, because every other element of this game — from the graphics (environments and models all rendered in 3-D) to the music (buy the soundtrack) — is done to near perfection for a next-gen fighting experience.
I have spent a lot of time playing against various opponents — computer, Xbox Live and friends in my living room — and I can attest that this game plays well with everyone. New players will have a great time learning the moves, throws, blocks and more, while the veterans can spend time perfecting the super moves, ultras and combos.
Capcom has struck some kind of magical balance with Street Fighter IV, not alienating the hardcore players with too many changes, nor making it too difficult for new players.
Street Fighter IV is a definite requirement this year for any fighting fan.
The veteran: Mike Helms
So what's new? What's different? Let's have a look, shall we?
To sum it up, we have returning to us the cast (sans T-Hawk and Dee Jay) of Street Fighter II Turbo. Also we have four returning characters from the Alpha franchise (Gen, Sakura, Rose and Dan). And there are six new characters (Gouken, Seth, Abel, Crimson Viper, El Fuerte and Rufus).
Parrying moves are out, but in their place is a new focus system. By hitting the medium punch and kick buttons together, you can do a focus attack that when landed will stun an opponent for a short time. It can also be used quickly to negate projectiles coming at you or to block a move or counter a combo and start one of your own.
Supers are still in the game, as well as EX moves, but this time there's only one super per character.
Newly added, though, to give you more awesome super moves, are the fighters' Ultra attacks. Based on your Ultra Meter, the ability to do it grows with the more damage you take.
This is an incredibly balanced game. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses, which keeps one or two characters from running too far ahead of the group.
From someone who put in over 2,000 matches in the first week, I'd say this is definitely a fighter worth picking up. Street Fighter returns!