Street Fighter IV for iPhone/iPod Touch Review
graphics, top notch controls...one of the best iPod games
The mobile game marketplace suffers from clutter,
and from the player’s standpoint, low expectations. With
most games costly only a few bucks many of us have learned to
expect little and are satisfied with something that actually just
works. Sure, there have been a few great games that have come
along, but I’ve been hoping for a day when the iPod functions
more like a PSP than the ill-fated gaming phone (fill in name
here) Look, I am not saying the PSP is a tremendous success cause
it surely isn’t. That hardware, however, is designed to
play games and it does so fairly well. Can’t blame the hardware
for poor software.
Anyway, I digress. Games for the iPod have been
a mixed bag at best, with a few shining stars in an otherwise
dark sky. Well, Street Fighter IV shines like the freakin’
sun. I’d learned of its development about six months ago,
and would have been happy with something like looked like the
1991 arcade version of SF2. Well, let’s just say this goes
way above and beyond that. SFIV looks like a miniature version
of the Xbox 360 game I have at home. It’s that good. Capcom
put their time and effort into this game.
The first thing you’ll notice are the graphics.
The opening movie blows up the screen. Yet, even with its quality,
it does not give you a hint as to how the game itself is going
to look. I’ve been teased by great game movies before, and
I put aside all expectations when it came to this. So, I decided
to jump right in. Even the game menus are crisp, and display plenty
of polish. I think that’s the first thing you walk away
from this game with, the notion that Capcom really fine tuned
this game until it was worthy. And worthy it is.
There are eight characters to choose from, along
with four game modes, Tournament, Free-Sparring, Dojo, and Training
Room. A cool feature is the ability over a network to play against
a friend, not unlike what you can do with a PSP. All the modes
are customizable, though I suspect most people will stick with
the standard three rounds. The best option is Tournament mode,
which will feel a lot like playing in the arcade. I fired it up
and went into battle, choosing Guile, a character I know pretty
well. I wanted to not be overly critical about a control scheme
I highly suspected was going to be limited, at best.
You’d think by now I’d have learned
to keep such silly suspicions to myself, or eliminate them altogether.
There is a virtual joystick and four buttons (knocked down from
the six that were in the console versions) At first look, the
joystick appears too big, taking up too much of the screen, but
this is clearly done on purpose. Once I started playing, the stick
felt natural. Well, as natural as sliding my thumb across a flat
screen can. I was really impressed with the fluidity of the controls.
Guile reacted immediately, and there were few times where my move
didn’t execute. I tried Dhalsim and Ryu as well, with the
same results. As a matter of fact, it seemed easier than using
the analog stick on my Xbox. Really. This is why Capcom took so
long to release the game. The controls were the most important
part of the game, and they wanted to make sure they felt right.
They d. Nothing to worry about here at all.
The in-game graphics are no match for the Xbox and
PS3 versions of the game but are far better than anything I have
seen on the iPod so far. I’ve played or demoed nearly a
hundred games, some costing a lot, some not, but this game looks
prettier than any of them. So, take that great control scheme,
add in amazing graphics, and in my opinion, you have the best
game on the iPod so far. Of course, you have to like the genre
to feel this way. All I can say is that I like fighting games.
I love SFIV for the iPod. I am still playing it. That says a lot.
The sounds are also impressive, between the character
noises, the ambient sound, and the music. It’s electrifying.
Nothing I have played comes close to the fit and finish of this
title across the board. I played it through the speaker and everyone
around me asked what it was, that it sounded so good. When I showed
them the game, they couldn’t get over it. No one could believe
an iPod could do something like this.
Obviously, I recommend the game to anyone who wants
to kill some time with their iPod. If they keep making games like
this for the platform, instead of the silly clones a la Gameloft
(not hating on them, just a fact) or word games and the like,
then the iPod truly can be a successful game platform. If this
is the future, then convergence has really hit its high point.
Here’s to hoping.
Highs: Amazing graphics, perfect recreation of a
great console title. Controls are spot on, way better than could
be expected. Fit and polish are top-notch.
Lows: I found it to be a little easier than the
console version. Some features are taken out for the iPhone version.
Some might balk at the $9.99 price, but it’s Street Fighter!
Overall: Don’t miss out on the future of gaming
on the iPhone. If someone is going to challenge the handhelds,
and software like this keeps coming out, then the iPhone/iPod
might just be the perfect convergence appliance. I can’t
imagine what this would be like on the iPad.