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Street Fighter IV Will Meditate And Then Destroy You

We almost forgot to write this story because we've been pretty busy playing Street Fighter IV.

Before we get into the game itself, Capcom held an event where Street Fighter aficionados collided on the PlayStation 3 version of the game. Our cameras were there and caught this:


Well, I guess we should actually take a break from playing Street Fighter IV to say some stuff about Street Fighter IV. We received a build of it last week that, unfortunately, doesn't contain any of the additional modes being placed into the home version of the game. So I don't really have much to add there other than the mode that will supposedly train players on how to play Street Fighter sounds like a great idea. Watching people play fighting games really well probably seems like arcane mysticism to people who didn't come of age during the golden age of fighting, and concessions like these are things that can help people get into the genre.

Out of 150 captured screenshots, this was the best.
Out of 150 captured screenshots, this was the best.
But the version of the game we got does have all the fighting, and some of the console-only characters. So in addition to playing way more Street Fighter IV, we've been able to get a feel for how Sakura, Gouken, and Seth will handle.

I've never been a big Sakura fan. I should probably get that out of the way up front. Other than the way her wind-up dragon punch hits multiple times with a bevy of satisfying smacks, I've never cared for her charge-up fireball or her not-quite-a-hurricane kick. She also has the jumping punch move from Alpha 3, the Sakura Otoshi. She feels roughly the same to me here as she did in the Alpha games, but I'm not enough of a Kasugano-phile to notice minor differences in the way she plays.

Gouken is one of those storyline characters from the Street Fighter universe that hasn't actually appeared in a game until now. He's the guy that trained Ken and Ryu, and he's also Akuma's brother. But that doesn't mean he's yet another clone-like character along those lines. He's actually quite different, and I'm really enjoying him a lot. He throws a one-armed fireball that can be charged, and using medium or fierce punch shoots that fireball up at an angle, knocking down airborne attackers. Instead of using a dragon punch as a special move, he has a palm strike that lunges forward. And instead of having a hurricane kick that carries him forward, his Tatsumaki Gorasen launches him up into the air, making it good against jumping attacks. He has a version of Akuma's jumping kick special, and his super and ultra are big, damaging shoryukens. His ultra is essentially the same as one of Ryu's super arts from Street Fighter III, right down to the way it pauses a bit to show you the force of all three hits when you land it up close.

No, wait, this one is better.
No, wait, this one is better.
Seth is the game's final boss in arcade mode. So far, he feels pretty powerful. He takes bits and pieces from the arsenals of the other fighters, so his limbs can stretch out a bit, Dhalsim-style. He has a dragon punch that will hit multiple times, he can throw one-armed sonic booms using a fireball motion, and he's even got a spinning piledriver. After messing around with him for awhile, I don't feel like any one attack seems overpowered, but taken together, he feels very potent.

Beyond that, this is roughly the same Street Fighter IV we've been telling you about for the last year or so, except now we're playing it with 360 and PS3 controllers. The graphics still look great and the consoles don't seem to lose anything in the translation from the Taito Type X2 hardware that powers it in arcades. In a word, I'm stoked. In two words? Totally stoked. Now I'm just left wondering if the online play will be as smooth as it was in Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.

Here's an unsettling number of screenshots we took while we were in the act.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+