Virtually speaking, if you’re one of those worshippers of melee combat chances are that you saw yourself forced to purchase a console in order to rid of your brawler tendencies [pun intended]. While console gamers have been "Generation Spoiled" during recent years in the area of beat ‘em up games, the PC platform has seen few, if no blockbuster titles at all.
Fortunately, the wait has now come to an end. It took Capcom slightly more than four months to finish the PC conversion, but Street Fighter IV represents a tour de force on the PC as it does when enjoyed on one of its console siblings - end of story [provided that you’re the proud owner of a quality gamepad, naturally]. As the icing on top of the cake, Capcom found it suitable to enhance the visual appearance of the game [think Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, and above-HD resolutions as compared to the console versions] plus add a benchmark function revealing exactly how many FPS [Frames per Second] your hardware achieves when delivering that old skull-breaking Hadoken to your favorite adversary. Our Intel Core i7 Extreme 965 based test bed with 6 gigs of DDR3 memory and an XFX Radeon HD 4890 video card delivered a consistent framerate in the vicinity of no less than 100 FPS at a 1920x1200 resolution with all the visual settings maxed out. Just for the fun of it, we also threw in a monstrous three EVGA GTX 285 FTW Edition cards and achieved in excess of 240 FPS, just to get that vindictive Ultra Combo right… whoever says that higher framerate doesn't make the difference never played a fast paced game such as this one.
Legendary Ryu is back in Street Fighter IV - albeit featuring a younger and more visually slick appearance (press photo from Capcom)
Online game play spans across the globe and is driven by the well-known and badly executed Microsoft Games for Windows Live initiative, promising to solve your need for the occasional adrenaline rush through matchmaking. Regrettably, my game disc was delivered without a valid key for playing online, and seeing that the game is still unreleased at the time of writing I simply couldn’t venture online. Provided that the matchmaking is equivalent to how it all plays out on my Xbox 360, further refinement would definitely have done the game some good; occasionally, you are up for a serious ass-whooping simply because the system pairs you with a considerably more adept opponent.
More than two decades since its inception, the newest contribution to the Street Fighter IV franchise still holds true to its origin. In focus: A classic fight between Ryu and Ken (source: Own make)
In spite of a few flawed titles in the Street Fighter franchise (quality has not exactly been the predominant characteristic of this series since the third installment), Capcom’s latest release offers gamers nothing short of a redefinition of the something-of-a-cult fighting game. Traditional one-on-one combat has never been as purified and joyful an experience as here, yet one should avoid the obvious caveat of oversimplifying the game. That is, while newcomers are likely to find it satisfying and fairly straightforward to battle their opponents with traditional attacks, i.e., dragon punches, fireballs, and the assortment of throws, hardcore players will work at understanding the highly technical elements of the game in order to move one step closer to fully mastering it.
Abel - a fighter without memory of his past - seems fond of tossing Ryu around (source: Own make)
Besides the new Focus system - e.g. allowing players to deliver a dreadful charged attack simply by holding down Medium Punch and Medium Kick - the Super and Ultra meters deliver attacks capable of breaking this reviewer’s jaw in two. In order to charge the Super meter, you must land attacks on your opponent and unleash so-called Super Combos. Yet, the most dazzling maneuvers are seen when the Ultra meter is fully charged, providing you with the opportunity to perform both an avenging, eye-catching, and extremely destructive Ultra Combo capable of turning the state of things upside down. A Fighting Stick is highly recommended in order to carry out the most complex combos optimally, albeit a gamepad will work for your Average Ryu.
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