Review: Super Street Fighter IV 3DS
I never thought that fighting games should be put on portable devices. I'm not saying that because I don't think it can be done, it's more that they would never be comfortable to play on such a small device. The other big reason being playing opponents online is still an issue on portable devices due to companies not properly having the infrastructure in place to handle online play. Let's face it, playing a fighting game is so much better when playing against a human opponent. Just getting a 3DS in my grubby little hands I wanted to see if Capcom could deliver that console experience in a portable package with Super Street Fighter IV 3DS. Booting up SSFIV 3DS, I was hoping that the issues I had with the game would be washed away this time around. I was surprised that everything in the layout design of SSFIV 3DS felt just like the console versions. I decided to jump into arcade mode first since i didn't setup the wireless connection on my 3DS yet to play online. Before starting the arcade mode, I was presented the same options you get in the console version. Difficulty level, match length, rounds, bonus rounds, etc were all there. However, a new option called "Dynamic View" was listed and immediately I remembered my time at PAX East 2011 playing SSFIV 3DS and was about to turn this over the shoulder view off but that wouldn't be fair to reviewing this game. So I decided to give this another shot. Maybe the show floor was not the ideal place to play in this mode since it was difficult to angle the system the way I wanted to.
Picking my favorite spamming character Ken Masters, I jumped into my first match against Guile. I ended up losing, badly. Not wanting to blame it on the dynamic view, I proceeded to do a rematch using Ken. Again, I was met with a losing effort. I did better this time around but still lost. Doing this 5 more times I was able to eek out a victory but realized that dynamic view is not for me. I was having too difficult of a time judging distance between the opponent and me to accurately jumping over the projectiles. I totally understand why dynamic view is in SSF4IV 3DS and it does make the 3D in this game shine more but for a game that relies on timing, this mode has a steep learning curve for me.
Switching to the standard side view mode made me feel more at home. The 3D was still prominent with certain things like the health bars and special meters in the foreground while the fighting happened in the background. Making it through the arcade mode was made a little easier with the lite control scheme that is new in this version of SSFIV. In the lite control scheme, there are four buttons on the bottom screen that can be set to whatever you would like them to be. The defaults are two special moves that use the hard attack and two buttons assigned to either the super attack or ultra attack for that character. Just for fun, I tried only using the buttons on the bottom screen to make it through the arcade mode. Not surprisingly I did it with ease. Now you may think you can spam them consistently against the A.I. but it seems Capcom made the A.I. at least a little smart against that so you will have to use a some sort of strategy when using just the bottom screen buttons. There is a pro mode that doesn't turn off the bottom screen buttons but instead it only lets you select normal moves to be assigned to one of the four buttons. I found the pro mode to be more fun since it let me play as close the console version as possible.
Having my fill of the arcade mode I wanted to dive into the online play of SSFIV 3DS since that is going to be the main draw of this title. Setting up a match was dead simple and it wasn't long until I found a match. No need to worry about people spamming lite mode controls in online play since you can filter out what control schemes you want to face online. Thank you Capcom for this. I did try lite control mode in online play and I won every single match using Balrog by trapping my opponents in the corner using his dash punch special. Yes, I felt dirty doing it. Pro control mode matches were more of what I was use to on the consoles, getting my ass handed to me by perfectly executed combos. Not sure how some of these people are doing complex combos on the 3DS since the circle pad is near impossible for me to use and the d-pad is a little small to be precise. I am not sure that the shortcut inputs from the console versions were added to the 3DS version since that would make sense. I also ran into trouble with the 3D getting in the way of my matches. Since you have to hold the 3DS at a certain angle for the 3D effect to work, having the 3DS moving while trying to pull of complex moves in SSFIV 3DS is distracting to the eyes. Not enough to throw your game off but enough to annoy you at times.
If you happen to find yourself in an area with a plethora of people with a 3DS and SSFIV 3DS, your 3DS will auto battle that person if they have Street Pass enabled in the game. Little figurines that you can purchase with points you earn in the game as well as use play coins to convert into points do the fighting for you behind the scenes. You pick out a team of five figurines to be your street pass team. Living in an area that seems to have no one with a 3DS sucks for testing this feature out. I went to get Subway today and a Gamestop was right next door to the place. I hoped for at least one street pass battle but alas, no one was found. Other little things that are found in SSFIV 3DS is achievements. You don't get anything for them that I see but it's nice to see that Capcom tried to replicate the console experience for their game as close as possible.
Have I told you how sexy this game looks? It's hard for me to tell that this is a handheld game. Some people will say that it looks on par with the PSP and I would have to agree, if it was out on the PSP. It's more than likely due to the small screen but mt brain could barely tell the difference between the graphics on the 3DS version versus the console version. I am sure if the 3DS version had a 10 inch screen we would see that is was inferior but it doesn't, so to me it's respectably the same. Having some issues with SSFIV 3DS still didn't make me regret getting a 3DS. I love being able to play a near perfect representation of a great Capcom fighting game on the go, not to mention the non-laggy online gameplay that I experienced. If you have a 3DS, more than likely you have this game already since there is not that much out there yet. If you are still waiting for that game that will push you over the edge, don't forget to pick up SSFIV 3DS at the checkout when you get a 3DS.