Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Takin' it to the street
My review of Street Fighter IV is up now at thephoenix.com.
I had an epiphany while writing this one: I don't explain games on technical terms very well. I'm not sure whether I lack the ability, but in the case of fighting games, I certainly lack the understanding. Lots of words pop up on the side of the screen while you're playing Street Fighter IV, notifications of "counters" and such, none of which I ever conjured on purpose. The manual makes mention of arcana like "hyper armor" and "armor breaks" and "focus dashing." Again, while I might have executed some of these during play, it was never due to anything more than good fortune.
And yet, when we talk about whether this game is accessible or not, I think it's worth mentioning that you don't have to master those advanced skills in order to enjoy it. I had a blast playing this game, moreso than with any fighting game in recent memory -- maybe since Virtua Fighter 2. That's without having progressed in ability beyond the Street Fighter 2 days, when we all performed as many special moves as possible, regardless of what our opponents were doing. This method led to many more defeats than victories, for sure, but I never felt marooned as I have in so many other fighting games -- not even when that d-bag playing as Ken rattled off two perfect rounds against me in under thirty seconds.
That makes Street Fighter IV a success in my book.