It Ain't Perfect: Street Fighter IV
"Street Fighter IV merits, at best, an afternoon rental." (1) "In some respects, the game feels too old school for its own good." (6) "This is essentially the same game most of us played nearly two decades ago. ... It's still This Guy vs. That Guy." (1) "If the Street Fighter scene (or perhaps, more precisely, the fighting game scene) has bored you as of late, I don't see you finding a revolution in this one." (9) "Once fans have relived their virtual-martial-arts glory days ... once the patina of nostalgia has worn off, most will wonder whether they needed to spend $60 on a game they already own." (1)
"The animation quality is Saturday-morning-cartoon-level bad" (2) and "the quality of the cartoons is uncomfortably close to bad early-'90s anime." (8)
The "anime cutscenes are a bit incongruous ... and lame." (3) "The animation quality is Saturday-morning-cartoon-level bad" (2) and "the quality of the cartoons is uncomfortably close to bad early-90s anime." (8) "The cringe-worthy English voice acting ... won't be to everyone's liking" (5) as "the various characters spout their idiotic dialogue" (1) and "many nonsensical, we-don't-need-no-stinking-writers taunts [are] uttered." (1)
What's more, the "individual anime style intros and conclusions for each brawler [are] too ambiguous to figure out." (6) They "tell you almost nothing about the story or the context for each character's participation in the tournament" (9) and culminate with "shrug-your-shoulders endings" (4) that "usually don't resolve anything at all, leaving you with no answers and only more questions." (4) "For a game clearly designed to appeal to new players, these cutscenes are surprisingly convoluted." (9) "As for the rivalries, Capcom never explains why certain characters (Ryu and Sagat, for example) hate each other." (6) "[Rival fights] often add nothing to the character's storyline because some fighters clearly don't even know why they hate one another." (7)
Street Fighter IV's "thin selection of modes" (5) "features overused modes that appear in other fighters." (6) "We were slightly disappointed to find that no bonus levels have been included, especially since we had high hopes of reliving our car and barrel smashing from Street Fighter II." (7) There's "no crazy role-playing adventure or Tekken-style bowling game," (6) either. "To be honest, we would have liked to see some kind of more involved mode included." (3)
The "mostly dull soundtrack" (4) starts off with "the cheese-rock theme song," (1) an "obnoxious intro tune" (5) that sounds like an "awful boy band track ... Eeshk!"
"Training Mode, ... is your standard 'beat up a dummy' fare [that] will teach you nothing; you're on your own if you're looking to learn more advanced techniques." (5) It "would also have been better if it showed an example of the combo being performed along with the exact timing it takes to execute every move in the string." (4) "There's also no online tournament mode to be found here, a surprising omission given its inclusion in the downloadable game Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix." (7) "We're also disappointed that the Replay mode -- a vital inclusion to be frank -- didn't make it in time for launch." (3)
"The A.I. for the final boss Seth ... will give most everyone migraines." (4) "In true Capcom fighter tradition, he's cheaper than a pound shop carrier bag." (8) In other words, "Seth is far too cheap." (3) "Round one against [him] is a breeze on most difficulties [but] round two will have him spamming teleportation moves, and rocking some seriously over-powered combination attacks that may have you attempting to crush your controller in frustration." (5) And "given how imaginative the rest of the crew are, going toe-to-toe with a bald, blue baddie that bears more than a passing resemblance to BioShock's Fontaine feels like something of an anticlimax." (8) In short, "we're not huge fans of Seth (can anyone say gimmicky?)" (3)
"We're still a little disappointed by how boring a lot of [the backgrounds] are," (3) and "we observed a few ... character-model clipping errors during play, such as legs passing through each other and the odd missed sweep when we were sure that we should have landed a hit." (7) "Our biggest issue, however, has to do with the command lists that display each character's moves. For whatever reason, the text is much too small to read. We had to squint and get close to our TVs to read them." (6)
"If reviving Street Fighter II is the priority, then the music should have played off the nostalgic melodies much more." (4) The "mostly dull soundtrack" (4) starts off with "the cheese-rock theme song," (1) an "obnoxious intro tune" (5) that sounds like an "awful boy band track ... Eeshk!" (3) Overall, "the J-pop soundtrack and cheesy intro theme will be driven into your head within minutes," (7) "a point that is made worse by the fact that you can't turn the music completely off." (4)
Welcome to the inaugural edition of "It Ain't Perfect." Much like the Nega-Review before it, "It Ain't Perfect" takes negative quotes from a variety of generally positive reviews for a well received game and assembles them into an absolutely blistering smackdown. The positive context surrounding these quotes has been deliberately removed here, but rest assured, each complaint here was definitely meant as a complaint in the original review. The point isn't to deny the quality of what's generally regarded as a great game, but to call attention to the small sticking points that can be easy to overlook amidst the waves of praise for the biggest, most anticipated titles.
It's interesting to note that different reviewers had different takes on the Street Fighter series' return to simplicity. While most applauded the new, pared-down fighting as a return to form, a few thought it was a bit too familiar and not worth an entirely new purchase (as shown in the first paragraph, above). Which side do you fall on? Let us know in the comments!
For a slightly more balanced look at Street Fighter IV, check out our review.