Walking into Nintendo World 2011 was quite overwhelming. We were in one of the first batches, having arrived an hour early, but already lines had formed and there was so much choice. All previous plans fell to pieces and we made a mad dash to the closest game that had a short(ish) line: *Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition*.
It was a good choice.
Given that this was the first game that we played on the Nintendo 3DS, Rollo and I’s opinions may be tainted by the initial cool-factor of 3D gaming, but I still think picking up Street Fighter will elicit the same response in most gamers: it looks like they’re fighting in a box!
…because that’s exactly how it is. I selected Ryu to fight with and was instantly struck with how it appeared as if I was controlling a relatively little man who was fighting for my amusement, as if I was a puppet-master in some sadistic fight to the death, that just happened to be in theme of Street Fighter. I loved it.
I wouldn’t consider it the most inventive use of 3D. In fact, the portion of the game we played felt quite unambitious overall. It’s really just Street Fighter on a handheld with 3D effects. But that’s enough for me, and if you like fighting games or want to get into them, then it’ll probably be enough for you. Don’t mistake unambitious for bad. But also don’t mistake this remake for anything particular innovative.
The advantage of this, however is that the 3D effect had no effect in regards to eye strain. Whereas some other demos (most notably Pilot Wings Resort, or more relevantly, Dead or Alive Dimensions) caused a few problems in a short amount of time. Not so with Street Fighter. It just felt like I was looking at any regular LCD screen. Maybe that would pop up if I spent more time with the game, but because it relied solely on creating a sense of depth (at least as far as I could tell), I doubt this will be the case.
The matches were designed to be won, so it’s difficult to judge the fun-ness of the fighting as the sense of urgency with attacks just wasn’t there. It also made it look sluggish, but I believe this was mostly my lack of experience with fighting games and my general lack of certainty of what I was actually doing. Either way, it drew me in made me want more challenging opponents and the need to improve my skills. Unfortunate that the combat couldn’t bring out a more dire situation though.
Controls felt invisible. Which is great. I suspect there’s a lot more depth my inexperience caused me to miss out on, but after just a few seconds I was mashing the buttons instinctively and wasn’t drawn out of the experience because of said mashing. As far as I could tell everything was perfectly responsive too.
And riding on the casual gaming wave is the inclusion of touch screen controls that allow you to perform various combos (up to four) by simply tapping them. This seems like the noob-option (because honestly, it is) but as a noob myself, I appreciated their presence and don’t feel they’ll detract from multiplayer when dealing with more “serious” gamers. Co-ordinated button pressing will without a doubt be the quicker option, but the touch screen offers a solid alternative to play through the game.
Given that Street Fighter is one of the few solid launch titles in Japan it’ll be a day one purchase for me. But even if it wasn’t a launch title I’d pick up the game based on the demo simply because it felt polished. It may be an unfortunate sign that one of the best games at Nintendo World 2011 is a port/remake, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it was a worthwhile experience.
If you’re keen for more Street Fighter-ing then I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
**Update:** You may have noticed that I didn’t write about the game’s graphics when I wrote these impressions. Why? I simply forgot to. And I think that’s the most telling signs. Street Fighter on the 3DS is by no means a bad looking game, it just had a certain un-specialness to it. This didn’t detract from the experience, but the look also didn’t add to it. I know this sounds negative, but I don’t intend it to be. You won’t be disappointed with the graphics, and the screenshots we’ve seen are accurate representations of the game, but I think the box-effect of the 3D simply takes hold of your attention and doesn’t let go.