One of the first things you’ll notice about Street Fighter IV is that you can pick it up and play straight away. If you used to play as Ken or Blanka you can select those characters and all the old moves will come flooding back to you. The entire original cast is here: Ryu, Chun-Li, E.Honda, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim even the baddies Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison. They are joined by a host of characters from other Street Fighter releases including Dan, Fei-Long, Sakura, Cammy, Gen and Rose. There are also hidden characters Seth, Akuma and Gouken and finally four entirely new characters, Abel, Crimson Viper, Rufus and El Fuerte. The choice and variety of fighting styles is staggering and the new characters make for really interesting additions. You can unlock characters by completing the game with each of the original cast.
While the game-play is similar to previous Street Fighter games and you can still pull off the majority of moves in the same way you always did, there are some additions. Chains of attacks can now be run together to produce devastating combos provided you slot them together correctly. Capcom have also introduced focus attacks, these are unblockable counter-attacks which can be charged up and unleashed on your opponent. Super combos and Ultra combos can be activated when your meter is charged up, either by taking damage, or by successfully beating up your opponent. They are fairly easy to pull off and they trigger the 3D camera cinematic view for special moves which are seriously destructive.
The game feels deceptively familiar but as you play through it the additional depth soon becomes apparent. The balance is excellent, characters have very specific strengths and weaknesses and it can take several games to really master a specific set of tactics. On the other hand the moves are easier to pull off than in earlier versions of the game and even novices will be able to enjoy the action immediately. To unlock all of the content you’ll need to complete the game with each character so there are hours of single player game-play here.