Storyline (3 out of 5)
Street Fighter IV is set between the events of the second and third installments of the Street Fighter series. The game features a tournament which all of the characters of the game have joined, each with their own motives and reasons for doing so.
Street Fighter IV PC foregoes a complicated story in lieu of a quick introduction to why each character has entered the tournament. This is most certainly a good thing, as fighting games with overcomplicated storylines most often leave the player feeling lost and confused as to “why that character hates that other character and thus wants to kill him with that weapon at noon in that building”. By throwing a complicated plot away, Street Fighter IV leaves players more able to focus on the action rather than the reason behind it.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
Street Fighter IV PC has taken a different approach to its predecessor, and the game play of this installment is far more accessible to the regular gamer than in the previous installment.
Instead of requiring split second timing and lightning fast reflexes, players are able to play through the game in a more relaxed way. Gone is the difficult to master parry system, which was almost unusable for many players. This doesn’t mean that players aren’t rewarded for these kinds of skills, but that the game is completely playable to those looking for a casual match.
A new feature in the game is the Focus Attack feature. When executed, the player is able to withstand a hit from their opponent and counterattack with varying strength. If the attack is charged up long enough, the rival will be knocked to the ground by a powerful attack, allowing a few free hits.
Multiplayer (3 out of 5)
Players are able to log on and jump into a match against another human player if the game’s AI is not enough for them. The game features surprisingly stable net code – we found a very small number of disconnects. There is still a certain amount of lag in online games, but this is to be expected with a game that requires good timing to perfect.
Despite this, the Street Fighter IV PC release’s multiplayer is much more stable than its PS3 and 360 counterparts, both of which are plagued by massive lag spikes and frequent dropouts.
Graphics (5 out of 5)
Street Fighter IV’s graphics feature a stylised cel-shaded style where most of the characters appear to have taken enough steroids to make even the best Olympic weightlifters proud. The over the top and bombastic visual style employed in the game is just what is needed, and while the ridiculous physiques may bring a laugh from players, this serves to keep a light-hearted mood surrounding the game.
The effects used for energy attacks are stunning, with balls of fire spewing from the fighters’ hands in trademark Street Fighter fashion. These attacks are completely overdone, but this simply adds to the comic charm of the game, and players will enjoy seeing all of their favourite attacks played out in high definition.
The graphics are constructed well, with all environments and characters featuring flawless texturing and shading, bringing the series to the current generation of gamers but still retaining the charm of the previous installments of the series.
Sound (3 out of 5)
Street Fighter IV PC features a vast variety of sounds, ranging from the simple thud of feet upon the ground to the trademark scream of Ryu unleashing a Hadouken upon an unsuspecting opponent. The sounds take advantage of surround sound, and players will find themselves surrounded by the sounds of fighting should they have the right hardware setup.
The sounds in Street Fighter IV are well recorded, but otherwise unremarkable in a game, and do not necessitate any further description.
Verdict (4 out of 5)
Street Fighter IV PC stands head and shoulders above the opposition as far as PC fighting games are concerned. The ease of control, tidy graphics and return of fan favourite characters will keep long term fans of the series interested, while bringing enough improvement from previous installments to pull new players into the mix.
Street Fighter IV PC is out now.