With a lineage like Street Fighter IV’s, the thick cloud of anticipation that’s been looming over it since its announcement is all but expected. With the numerous successful sub-series and cross-overs the franchise has spawned, there’s been a whole lot of hope and skepticism alike amongst fans. Will the franchise harness the pace of the Alpha series, or will it be the boring sloth fest that EX was?
As you might know, Street Fighter IV moved away from the traditional sprite-based 2D art style and found its way into the arms of 3D cel-shaded character design with full 3D backdrops. It made a lot of us leer and sneer at it, since the last 3D transition of the series – Street Fighter EX – failed miserably. The biggest flaws in EX were that it was painfully slow, and the fact that you could sidestep almost every special attack (since the game played out on a three dimensional plane) made it the least tactical of the lot.
Thankfully though, Capcom hasn’t made the same mistake a second time; so while Street Fighter IV is in 3D, all combat takes place on a 2D plane. It pretty much sticks to what worked best for the franchise, so all you skeptics and purists can breathe a sigh of relief. If you’re looking for the blazing pace of the Alpha series though, you’ll be a little disappointed.
Street Fighter IV has shed the insane pace that the Alpha series popularized, and has instead stuck to the Street Fighter II pace. While I loved the pace of Alpha, this change works incredibly well for SFIV since there are so many layers of tact introduced, that it would be close to impossible for all but the elite to play the game without button mashing if the pace was any faster.