A classic has never looked better.
I must admit... I always sucked at Street Fighter. I've played these games since SF2 at the arcades and those that came out for the SNES. Even though I've never been good at them, it still was a worthwhile for a handfull of friends to meet up in an arcade, spend an afternoon or party at a friends house, or even help waste the half hour or so at the supermarket while mom was shopping. I've never owned the game on the SNES nor had too much money to spend at the arcade to master any moves, or even figure out even what the hell the moves were in the first place, so generally the game was frusterating to me as I'd continually get my ass handed to me. This review is for those of you out there who over the past 15 years have been in this same boat and missed out on having the same love as longtime fans for this series. And coming from this perspective, SSF2THDR may be the first SF game to finally make me fall in love for the first time; mostly because for the first time in my life, this game has come in such a nice package I can finally have the chance to master to the best of my skills a game that I was once embarrased for sucking so hard at.
SSF2THDR is to memory really the same game as back in the day, but something seems better tuned about it. The high-res graphics are very nice and feel exactly the way it should be. Nothing is added to the character animations other than a very experienced anime styling that give the characters vibrancy and clarity to their moves. Graphics aside , there is something still smoothed out in the gameplay that helps me finally "get" the game. I couldn't nitpick the details, but I could explain how this has made my experience differ from the past. Back in the day, moves that required holding back and then pushing forward along with the concurrent button were damn near impossible for me to pull off. I would always hit up on the way from back to forward and make a fatal jump. This happened less on the SNES just cause I've found the D-pad more tactile, still it would happen WAY too freekin much. The moves that involved rotating the direction of the controller were easier, but still could only manage them half the time.
I'm not sure what has changed since then. I don't know if they tweeked the gameplay, or if its the better clearer graphics, or if its just the Playstation D-pad (which even though is the most accurate and tactile D-pad I've ever used, its protruding buttons are turning my thumb in to a painful pulp), For some reason now I am able to pull these moves off 90% of the time. With practicing each character in single player mode and constantly referencing the moves list, I can now finally play the game how its supposed to be. I can now finally realize how deep the game is with each character having a certain strategy and feel. I've always thought fighting games were about who could mash the most buttons in a second, but now realize how this one game in particular actually matches up pretty well certain tactics and reflexes that can be representative of real fighting. SSF2T still takes a lot of patience in being intimate with each character, but for once I want to take the time to do it.
The online is the most important part of this package. Really SSF2THDR would be worthless without it. Now that the doors of SF have opened up to me, It is a great experience to take an hour practicing one character in single player mode, and then taking those skills online to see what I can do against real humans. I only win one out of five matches, but OMG I actually win sometimes! and it feels great. Finally, finally, finally I get to enjoy this game. Its been fifteen freekin years I've had to conceed to being a total retard in this game. Now FINALLY I am starting to get it and can feel the greatness for what this game was. I know I'll be lightyears behind some, but now I have a chance to get a good run at it and understand what all the fuss is about.
I have made this particular review much more personal than I care to do, but I hope it illustrates a point that can't be illustrated by just matter-of-facts alone. Even though I always felt I was out of the loop, SSF2T has always been a great game, and HDR has made it into an even better game. Hopefully it remains to please its original fans, but to my favor has made it finally accessable. Still I give it only four stars. As a fighting game it still feels niche and wont please everyone. This is as good as I can imagine it though till SFIV is released.