In my opinion, it’s important to have at least one fighting game in any video game collection. Fighting games are great for multiplayer sessions and provide a certain kind of stress relief that you can’t get from other types of video games. After much consideration, I finally decided to get a copy of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition:
There were three games that I thought about getting, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, and this. I ended up with Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition because it was cheaper and I prefer the Street Fighter style of fighting games. Did I make the right choice?
First of all, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition feels just like the console or arcade editions, with all the necessary bells and whistles intact – a total of 35 characters all playable at the onset, all the fighting mechanics like the Focus Attacks and the Super/Ultra combos, and the requisite Arcade and Versus modes.
More than just a port of the console versions, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition has several features that are exclusive to the 3DS. The first feature is the 3D Battles mode where, instead of viewing the battle from the side, your perspective is shifted over the shoulder of your character. This perspective, together with the 3D functionality, adds some depth to a traditionally 2D game. The 3D Battles mode is limited to Versus battles, so you can’t complete single player Arcade in this mode. To be honest, it doesn’t improve the experience that much, but it’s an interesting take on playing fighting games.
The second, and probably the most game-changing feature of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is the use of the touchscreen as four additional buttons that can be used as shortcuts to various moves. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition has two control settings – Lite and Pro. When using the Pro setting, the four touchscreen buttons can be mapped to the normal attacks or to the different button combinations such as the Throw (weak punch and kick), the Focus Attack (middle punch and kick), the Taunt (strong punch and kick) or the triple punch/triple kick that is used in Special Combo moves.
When using the Lite control setting, on the other hand, you can map actual special moves to the touchscreen buttons. This makes the game accessible to novices because special moves that normally required complex button combinations can now be used at a touch. Additionally, the normal attack buttons can also be mapped to special moves, so you can configure your controls to consist mostly of special moves.
Another feature for novices is the Auto Block setting. Normally, blocking attacks in Street Fighter games required you to hold the backwards direction. Getting caught off guard would result in being vulnerable to an attack. Enabling the Auto Block feature means that you don’t have to worry about pressing a button to defend – just stand still like in Tekken and your character would block attacks automatically.
The combination of Lite controls and Auto Block makes Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition very accessible to fighting game novices. People who stayed away from fighting games because they had difficulty pulling off the special moves or Super Combos can do that at a press of a touchscreen button. Characters like Zangief can now be played effectively, and let me tell you that I’ve been playing Street Fighter games since Street Fighter II and I still can’t execute a Spinning Pile Driver three times in a row to save my life, but with the touch screen shortcuts? No sweat.
This feature is truly game-breaking, and from what I’ve read online and personally experienced during online play, it can get very divisive. Put features in a game that’ll make it easier, and people will exploit it. A lot of people dislike this feature because it allows for cheese tactics like special move spamming and it becomes less of a skill-based game. Before, players had to spend a lot of time practicing the special moves and all the combos just to be competitive, but now almost everything is available at a press of a button. It has changed player vs player matches so much that rather than involving the skill of who can perform the moves on a more consistent basis, it involves the skill of what’s the best special move to use and when.
The last significant additional feature is the figurine collection and battles. Taking a page from Super Smash Bros., you can now earn points from fighting in different matches and then use those points to get different figurines of each Street Fighter available. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition takes this concept a step further and provides a Street Pass minigame where players can form teams of figurines and have them fight whenever you get a Street Pass tag, which rewards you with more points to get even more figures. You can also trade figures with other players to round out your collection. Honestly, I think it’s an unnecessary feature that gives you something else to do aside from fighting but I think very few people care about this (I barely get any Street Pass tags for this game even though I know that there are enough people who have this in their collection.
Now, let me move on to the core gameplay. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition offers single player and multiplayer modes. There’s Arcade mode where you see a short cutscene explaining your character’s motivations for joining the tournament, fight a series of battles including one with your character’s rival and the final boss, and then an ending cutscene that shows how your character’s story would have been resolved if they had won the tournament. There are pre-fight and victory dialogues which vary depending on who your opponent is. And they even threw in the classic bonus stages from Street Fighter II where you decimate a car and destroy falling barrels.
Multiplayer mode is where it’s at though, and Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition kind of disappoints in that regard. The game only offers local and online Versus mode and doesn’t have any “tournament” modes so if you’re thinking of doing a tournament with your friends, you’ll have to work out the logistics manually. When playing online, you’re given the choice of having a “quick match” where you’re matched up with a random person, a “custom match” where you’re set up against a person who has the same preferences, or a “friend match” against someone on your friend list. Custom matches can be configured based on number of rounds, the time limit, the region, skill based on your player points (either same as yours or better than you) and control type (either Lite or Pro).
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is a solid handheld version of Super Street Fighter IV. The graphics are excellent, especially for a 3DS launch title, and the gameplay is crisp. Multiplayer is somewhat lacking, but it does enough to satisfy your fighting needs for a portable game. The addition of the touchscreen shortcuts has made single player a good experience for me (now it’s possible for me to beat the game with all 35 characters!) but has resulted in a mixed experience in terms of online multiplayer. All in all, I can appreciate having a game where I can just pick up, beat other characters up, and stop. Definitely a must-have for my collection.