There is no denying that there is a great deal of buzz going around about the upcoming release of Street Fighter IV. Even though some of us long-term fans would have liked the game the feature hand-drawn animations in pure 2D, SF4 looks to maintain much of its heritage in terms of overall style and gameplay.
We have learned a great deal since the games official announcement back in October. Even though I can’t quite keep up the pace of updates that some sites offer, I wanted to post an overview of what we have seen so far via a collection of videos, screenshots, and links.
The Newest Trailer
To get the quickest feel for the game and most of the announced players, take a look at the new AOU 2008 Amusement Expo Trailer (high-def version here):
As you can see, all of the original eight characters from Street Fighter 2 are featured in addition to two new characters, Crimson Viper and Abel. While there hasn’t been an official “announcement” that I have seen so far, both Sagat and Balrog (the Boxer) have also been spotted in the arcade test units and, subsequently, various videos online.
Real Gameplay Video
Considering the use of 3D graphics, I was surprised to see how similar the character animation has been to previous Street Fighter games — primarily Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3. The trailers show too much zooming in and special angles, but if you look at normal gameplay videos captured by those who have tried the game out, it will look much more familiar to you. Take a look at the video links below to see your favorite characters in action.
- Blanka: Vs Guile, Vs Abel, Vs Dhalsim,
- Chun-Li: Vs. Abel, Vs Ken, Vs Guile
- Dhalsim: Vs Guile, Vs Abel, Vs C Viper
- E. Honda: Vs Guile, Vs Ryu, Vs Zangief
- Guile: Vs Zangief, Vs Blanka, Vs Abel
- Ken: Vs Ryu, Vs C. Viper, Vs Chun-Li
- Ryu: Vs C. Viper, Vs Ken, Vs. Abel
- Zangief: Vs E Honda, Vs Guile, Vs Sagat and Balrog
- Crimson Viper: Vs Ryu, Vs. Blanka, Vs. Ken
- Abel: Vs Guile, Vs Blanka, Vs. Chun Li
- Sagat: Vs. Zangeif
- Balrog: Vs Zangeif
If you want to see more detail of the graphics, you can take a look at this collection of 720p screenshots of various characters courtesy of GGL Wire on Flickr. (You can also see them in Slideshow Mode)
The Gameplay Engine
We’ve heard a bit about the gameplay engine a bit as well and it will most closely resemble Street Fighter II, but will have Super and Ultra Moves in addition to the new system known as “Saving” or “Revenge”.
As the Wikipedia entry for the game states, “The system features a four-segment “Revenge” gauge that builds up as the character takes damage. A player can use one segment of the gauge in combat by simultaneously pressing both strong punch and strong kick to unleash a special attack that will deal instant damage and render the opponent immobile for a short time. The buttons can also be held down and charged to unleash a devastating unblockable attack at the cost of 3/4s of the full “Revenge” gauge. The gauge can also be used to fuel EX Specials — stronger versions of regular special moves — at the cost of one stock of the gauge. Both the Saving move and EX Specials can be “canceled” by dashing towards the opponent (the move will still be performed and will still do damage however), this dash can again be “canceled” by performing another EX Special or Saving move, this however will require pinpoint timing so that only skilled players may execute this kind of combo.Ono has stated that this system was incorporated in order to shift the emphasis away from combos and toward a more realistic system he has compared to boxing, in which “the skill is in reading your opponent’s move before he starts moving … We haven’t forgotten about combos and linked moves, but saving makes it so that you have to read your opponent.” The system aims to make ground attacks as viable a way of approaching opponents as jumping was in previous games.”
My Impressions So Far
I was rather worried about this game initially due to the original images and videos or Ken and Ryu, but now that I see actual gameplay video without all the zooming and effects, I am much less concerned. The gameplay does seem solid, but I’m still a little disappointed that parries and such are missing, but it will be interesting to see how the Revenge system makes up for it. I like the fact that the overall style and character animation seems like a blend of Street Fighter II and the Alpha series.