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The good parts
Capcom did a good job getting of removing some of the extra baggage the Street Fighter franchise has accumulated over the years and they returned to their roots with a video game for the PS3 based purely on arena combat. Plus they added a few space-age improvements to ramp up the game play and rev the entertainment a little.
One on one combat in which you pick a character from the available roster of characters, each with their own unique moves and attacks makes this a chess game that has a nice balance between brains and brawn.
The focus system works nice to add even more playability to a very playable game and roster of characters.
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The parts that need improvement
The few cut scenes they added for each character at the beginning and end are poorly animated; they don't provide any history, motivation for entering the tournament, or any kind of basic story line.
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The game graphics
The muscle-bound physiques of the characters are appropriate for fighters, but they may have gone a little over the top, which adds a little humour. Certainly the 3D character animations are almost as much fun to watch as play, fluid and smooth, fast when appropriate, and providing very entertaining combat sequences.
The visual effects are spectacular with amazing projectile effects that immerse the eyes in another world, brightly colored, fun and entertaining to see.
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Sounds in the game
Street Fighter IV has an interesting twist on things; it allows you to switch between Japanese and English voice acting, which added a different layer that I found very fun.
Nice up-beat pop music on the sound track had me tapping my foot to the combinations on screen and helped to increase the entertainment level.
The cheering of the crowd, rattling of old trains, even the barking of dogs in alleys are done pretty well and help to create a sense of immersion that I have seen in a handful of video games being developed today.
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This game has unending playability depending on your entertainment requirements; you can try any number of different characters, each with their own style of combat, fight tactics, and roster of attacks.
Street Fighter IV comes with a single player mode, multiplayer mode, energetic training mode, interesting and engaging bunch of challenge modes, a trial mode that introduces you to the beginning and more advanced attacks for the characters, and on line play that played great and was a very positive experience. All the modes were fun to watch or play, very engaging for the senses and a breeze to learn, especially if you've played a game in the franchise before.
Array of unlockable items and characters really is a fun element that all games should implement when possible, at least until they think of something better. You can collect things you can use on line, new colors and even verbal taunts for the characters, which gives you even more reason to play.
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The bottom line
Street Fighter IV is great fun for people who remember the good old days and a real kick in the pants that's extremely interactive for gamers who haven't played the original Street Fighter arcade game. Capcom has made a title with nice balance and fine tuning of the entertaining game I remember combined with a few new twists that improve on a formula that's already run and enjoyable.