ESRB Rating: T
Release Date: August 23 (PSN), August 24 (XBLA)
Platforms: PSN, XBLA
Regular readers may know that I have a bit of a beef with the boys over at Capcom. And it’s really hard not to with the things they’ve pulled recently. Cancellation of two huge Mega Man projects, an expansion to MvC3 when the game isn’t even half a year old, refusing to bring Monster Hunter Portable 3rd to the west. For someone like me who grew up with their games, it’s a very drastic change of direction.
But, even with all the gripes I have with them, I am willing to admit that when they get their sh*t together, they can make great things happen. And releasing Street Fighter 3 3rd Strike for current gen consoles is, without a doubt, one of them.
Now For Your HDTV
One of the best decisions they made with Online Edition was keeping the original graphics intact. Sure, the edges have been smoothed out and the interface got an upgrade, but everything you see is exactly the same as it was when it originally came out. Which is a good thing! The original SF3 was lauded for having well done 2D sprites and beautifully drawn backgrounds that are still revered even today, and all of that has been transferred to Online Edition near flawlessly. They even added newly drawn hi-res images of the entire cast, which you can view in the menus, to coincide with the release, and other than all the characters looking like they’re flying for some silly reason, they look simply brilliant.
The audio has also been smoothed out, and you can hear all of the character’s voices with crystal clear clarity. The original music has also been brought back, only remastered and in better quality than before. You’ll be able to hear all of your familiar tunes, and can even set them to the menu music if you don’t care for the newer stuff they added in.
Parry Parry Parry
The beauty of 3S:OE is that it’s essentially an arcade perfect port. Every combo you knew over ten years ago, be it Ken’s basic low mid-kick > Hadouken > Super combo, or Urien’s many juggle options, are all still intact, so you can pick up right where you left off. For the people that never got a chance to play the original game, or want to brush up on their skills, then OE offers a fair amount of modern amenities as well.
Unlike Capcom’s attempts to do so in Street Fighter IV and MvC3, however, these tools actually do help in making you a better player. The Trials mode, for example, offers up numerous challenges for you to try out, each of them having a place in a real match, whether it’s basic bread-and-butter combos, or character specific tricks. They even included a very special EVO moment that players can replicate, which is both a handy learning tool, and an Easter egg at the same time. If you want to brush up on your parry skills, then the Parry Training mode allows you to record the attack you want to practice against, and then set yourself to work on countering it. It’s really handy to help you learn how to completely negate a particular attack or combo that gives you a hard time.
Obviously, the main draw here, as per the title of the game, is the online mode. And it lives up to the name. The game uses GGPO networking, which essentially means lag-free online skirmishes. It’s already in use by players all over the world to play classic fighting games with virtually no lag, and seeing it in use in 3S:OE is a real treat. Player connections you would normally have troubles with in other mainstream fighters are almost nonexistent here, making playing online a worthwhile venture for more than just looking for ways to troll people (though technically there’s nothing stopping you from doing that as well). You can even save replays of your matches, and upload them to either the game servers or youtube for all to see (though while PS3 users can upload directly to their personal youtube channels, as of this writing at least, Xbox360 users are not given this option, which is hopefully something that will be patched soon).
One of the major points of contention for the game, however, is the lack of balance changes. Some may argue that the game is “broken” because of how strong Yun and Chun-li are, while others are more than willing to point out the Japanese competitive scene for the game, which has a very wide variety of players that use lower tiered characters and are able to overcome these adversaries. I say, who the hell cares? The game is over a decade old, and it’s not even played at major tournaments anymore. Sure the top tiers could be toned down and the bottom tiers can be given some extra perks, but for the most part, no one is expecting the game to be making a return showing at EVO anytime soon. It’s for those that wanted to be able to play against their buddies, but don’t have an arcade nearby, and if you happen to want to try to reach a competitive level, it gives you the tools to set you on the right path. Besides, I doubt anyone wants a repeat of the mess that HD Remix’s balance changes ended up causing, including the fall of the Super Turbo community. Other than maybe David Sirlin, but, he’s kind of a jerk anyway. Point is, save the balance changes for a brand new product, not a port of a ten year old title.
There’s a Story Here?
Wait, you’re expecting a story in a Street Fighter game? Seriously, go play Guilty Gear or King of Fighters if you want story. The most you’ll get out of here is some short ending cinematics. You can also unlock some comic pages pertaining to different characters, but that’s about the extent of the story you’ll find here.
Can’t Blame This On Lag
While the game itself is put together incredibly well, it doesn’t come without its share of problem areas. Of course, most of them are centered on the online component. The primary one is that finding accurate room data is hard to do, since rooms don’t update in real time. Expect to run into a number of “The room no longer exists,” messages before finding an occupied lobby. There are also extreme inconsistencies with disconnect rates, as some users will be showing percentages over 200,000%. Overall, these are fairly minor, and one can probably expect these and other little misfires to get patched up soonish. Everything else is solid, and you shouldn't have any problems playing either solo, with a buddy, or some random guy on the other side of the country. Only thing I really recommend if you want to be serious is getting an arcade stick. This game isn't exactly pad friendly, unless you're someone like Vangief.
Also, why is Gill not banned by default in player lobbies?
I’ve Been Waiting for This!
The only reason question that remains is how much of a fan you were of the original title. Obviously, if you’re not, then you’re not missing out on much. However, for the fans that want to be able to play with their friends online, or even those that have yet to be introduced to the game proper, you will find more than ample reason to stick around. It’s one of the deepest games in the entire Street Fighter franchise, and most of us are simply glad to see that Capcom is giving it some well deserved attention.