Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition Review

By Brian Leahy - Posted Mar 23, 2011

Capcom comes out swinging for the Nintendo 3DS launch with its marquee fighting game title, re-sized and tweaked for the new platform. Will it live up to its console brother or will it be KO'd?

The Pros
  • It's a portable console game!
  • Internet multiplayer works well
  • Great intro to SSFIV for new players
The Cons
  • Turned 3D off almost immediately
  • Controls are frustrating
  • The more you have played SSFIV, the less you'll enjoy this

Super Street Fighter IV 3DS Review:

The 3DS version of Super Street Fighter IV is, for all intents and purposes, a port of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game, though there are several notable changes and the addition of a new 3D fighting mode. Visually, the game looks great for a handheld the animations look just as crisp as they do on the console version. Sure, the backgrounds are static and the framerate drops when you enable 3D, but this is definitely a solid looking title.

If you’ve played Super Street Fighter IV on the console, you know what the expect here: Arcade Mode, Versus, Trials, Bonus Stages, Training, and Online Play. Throw in the new over-the-shoulder perspective and some StreetPass functionality and you get a nicely sized package for a portable.

A 2D Fighting Game in a 3D Engine in 3D… 8D’s?

Now, I’ve gone on record stating that I do not care for 3D. It gives me headaches and generally, I don’t much care for it in any form of media. The 3D effect used here by Capcom is decent and probably works best with the slider set halfway, but the effect on the framerate and the constant flickering as I naturally moved the 3DS around while trying to do complex input strings led me to turn the 3D off for good. Your results may vary on the 3D, but I couldn’t stand to have it on beyond the initial “let’s check it out” phase.

This also leads me to question what concessions were made to enable the 3D effect. Is this why the backgrounds are static? Could the character models have been higher-res if there was no 3D? It will be interesting to see what things get cut-back or diminished in other titles that are coming from the consoles, but that’s a discussion for another place.

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Four Face Buttons, Two Shoulders, D-Pad, Nub, Touchscreen…

Now, the game is playable, but for anyone used to playing the game on the console (with an expensive arcade stick), you are going to feel like you are fighting against the game to get it to do what you want. It’s very similar to my experience with the iPhone version of Street Fighter IV – I can pull off some of the fancy combos like Ryu’s now-classic FADC into Ultra Combo – but for the one-frame links and strict timings that rule high-level SFIV gameplay, there’s just no way to recreate that on a handheld.

Furthermore, my hands started to hurt a lot after very short periods of play-time. The d-pad on the 3DS isn’t actually that great for fighting game inputs and the analog nub is only okay for certain movements like 360’s and fireballs. The touchscreen can be mapped to moves like Ultra Combos, Super Combos, and other specials, but the time it takes to move your finger from the d-pad or buttons down to the touchpad doesn’t help you land combos with tight timing windows.

The Multiplayer, However, Is Surprisingly Good

The biggest surprise here was that the multiplayer portion of the game is incredibly functional, mostly lag-free, and easy to use. You can hop right in for some quick matches and play combatants worldwide through the Internet. Once your 3DS is connected to your WiFi network, it’s extremely seamless. Nintendo has made a lot of strides in bringing the 3DS online functionality up to an acceptable level.

The players, however, are another story. Since the game is so hard to control (or I just got matched up against some newbies), everyone was pretty much spamming the two special moves available on the touchscreen. These players aren’t difficult to defeat, but it isn’t that much fun to have an endless stream of Adon’s Jaguar Tooths.

You have the option of playing without special moves on the touchpad (only button combinations like all three punches, etc.) but then you’re at the mercy of manually entering things like Ultra Combos and other moves. It’s a path of least resistance thing so I don’t see the online environment turning into a truly competitive scene.

Now That I've Said All That...

I’m pretty sure the less you’ve played of Street Fighter IV prior to this version, the more fun you will have with this game. I’m being hard on it because I really love SFIV and I wanted a fully portable perfect port of the game for gaming on the go. If you don’t know target combos, mix-ups, and resets, you’ll probably have a lot of fun with this game. It’s a case of not knowing what you’re missing. Now, you may still have some hand-cramps, but I’m willing to bet you won’t be in too much pain if you aren’t trying to do tricky combos.

There’s a lot of content here and it’s definitely a great introduction to the series or fighting games in general for those 3DS owners that don’t have an Xbox 360 or PS3. The multiplayer is very well done if you’re up for it and the full Arcade Mode is available for all of its goofy anime storylines. However, if you’ve already put Super Street Fighter IV through its paces, there’s nothing new here that will make this worth your while, especially since the 3DS limits it from being a mobile practice solution for serious players.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?