Let's face it. The 3DS launch line-up is so-so. But more than dark horse Steel Diver or the Japan-only Professor Layton title, there is one 3DS title you should get. This is that game.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is the 3DS version of console-turned-arcade-game Super Street Fighter IV. It's...Street Fighter. You fight other people! But the 3DS version is loaded with goodies that make this title worth picking up even if you already own the home console version. If anything, this is the game that shows what the 3DS can do. And boy, what can it do.
This game, which features 35 characters from the get-go, isn't simply some 3DS cash-in. The game's developer, Capcom, is rolling out an array of new features. Besides traditional arcade, online and training/challenge modes that are found in the console version, there is a new figure collecting mode. Players can trade Play Coins for points that can be used to buy figures that can even be traded. The game also has a Street Pass mode, too. Since this is Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, there is a new over-the-shoulder 3D view.
Figures: Other fighting games allow players to collect trophies. So does Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. There are 500 figures that can be collected and viewed in a figure album. Players purchase them via a randomized slot machine, which makes collecting them fun as you can end up with a powerful figure at the same price as any other fig. But in SSFIV: 3D Edition, you can actually do something with them. With Street Pass, people you pass on the street with the game in sleep mode will automatically go to battle with your figures. After dragging the game around to a crowded station, a shopping mall and even an arcade, I still have not found anyone to do a Street Pass battle with, so I'm unable to judge it in action. I do like that this 3DS-specific feature is included.
Touch Screen: Fighting games need to be played with joysticks. That's just the way it is. The 3DS has a thumb-pad, which at times I loved and at other times hated. I loved how it has a joystick-like feeling, but hated how my thumb sometimes ended up slipping off of it. In an effort to seemingly overcome this or to even open up the game to more players, special attacks are mapped out on the bottom touch screen. Likewise, good use of the 3DS hardware by Capcom.
Graphics: At launch, this is one of the best looking 3DS games you can buy. It really is. The graphics aren't the same as the console or arcade versions, but they are far more than serviceable.
Online: I have horrible, horrible nightmares of when I tried to play others online in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It was not a good experience, and I was dreading the same for Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. Amazingly, that was not the case. Online was seemingly lag-free, smooth and painless. SSFIV:3D proves that the 3DS can do online and do it well.
3D View: Generally speaking, the game's 3D works well — best in the standard view. But I found the isometric over-the-shoulder view difficult to play, because it makes judging distance incredibly hard. What's more, this view caused eye strain — for me, at least. Other players might have no problem with it. I, however, did.
Lifeless Backgrounds: The people and the animals in the background are just...frozen. They do not move. At all. Bummer.
If you are getting a 3DS, make sure you get this game. It shows exactly what the 3DS is capable of with an array of portable and 3D-specific features. At its best, the game offers a peek of what gamers can expect from the Nintendo 3DS. Hopefully.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition was developed and published by Capcom, released on February 26 in Japan. Retails for ¥4,499. A unit was purchased by Kotaku for review purposes. Played through single player in arcade mode. Tested all other modes except the Street Pass mode, because nobody in a 30-foot radius of me had the game. Bastards.