Final verdict: S
Final playtime: At least 100 hours (ongoing)
Ok, I’ve been playing this game for almost 2 months now so I think it’s about time I reviewed it. First, some background is in order. I generally don’t like fighting games. I don’t hate them, but I don’t really like them either. So this review is coming from someone who not only doesn’t particularly enjoy fighters but also had never played a Street Fighter before. Oh sure, I played SF II once when I was like 7 but I had no idea what I was doing, how to pull off any moves or even had anyone to play with so that definitely doesn’t count. For all intents and purposes I was completely new to the SF series.
When Street Fighter IV was announced I decided I would check it out. I bought HD Remix about 2 days before SF IV came out to prepare for it. To get me in the mood, if you will. It would just be a little side dish before the main event that was SF IV.
Never did I expect my plan to backfire so completely. Street Fighter II proved to be so much more fun that IV is basically obsolete to me. A phenomenal waste of 70 bucks or however much it was. IV was excruciatingly slow by comparison, everything felt clunky and just wrong. Damage was greatly reduced so rounds took a lot longer and somewhat took away the feeling of being in constant danger. The netcode was a lot worse. The announcer pissed me off and would never shut the fuck up. The ultra moves were unnecessarily cinematic. I kept getting a shoryuken when I tried to ultra. And what the fuck is Rufus? Oh my fucking god. Suffice it to say, I quickly returned to HDR.
But seriously, this game is so good that I would even go as far as saying that it’s the best game on 360. Yes, a $10 downloadable is the best game on 360. The HD graphics are very pretty (you can choose to play with the old ones but why would you?), better than SFIV’s. The music’s great, and it’s pretty amazing that it was made by fans.
But all that’s just icing. Gameplay is where HDR excels. I guess SF II is pretty much the fighting game for a reason. I’m not the kind of player that spends a very long time with a single game. I play something to the end (unless it really sucks), then put it away and move on to the next thing. But this one is special. Like I said, I’ve been playing it for almost 2 months now and it’s still just as fun as ever. At a glance it might seem like it’s too simple, too primitive (actual stuff that I’ve heard), that it can’t stay interesting for very long. But that’s all bullshit. This game is deep (I’m still learning new things even after all this time), and yet it also has a certain elegance in its design that might make the uninitiated think there’s not much to it. This is the kind of game that takes years to master.
I’m not about to say the cliche that it’s “easy to learn but hard to master” though. This game isn’t easy to learn. It has a barrier of execution that’s almost unheard of in single player games. A simple shoryuken motion forward, down, down-forward punch might sound easy but when you pick this game up for the first time you will not be able to pull it off consistently at all, especially during the heat of battle. Hell, I still fumble moves every now and then even though I can do everything a lot better than when I started. And that’s just common stuff. Then you have reversals. A dragon punch is child’s play compared to reversals. You have to pull off a special move at just the right time and the window is so tiny (just a few frames) that it’s hard as fuck to do consistently. You have to practice a lot before you can even begin to play this game properly. And once you can play properly it takes an even longer time to get decent.
All of the characters in HDR are fun to use and each have their own unique playstyle, but at the same time the game is so well balanced that they are all viable to use. Nothing like, say, Melee where you only see Fox and Marth. Even Ken and Ryu who share much of the same special moves play differently. The only bad thing is that the unlockable character Akuma is broken, but a player has to be good to really take a advantage of him, and most good players don’t use Akuma so most Akumas are usually easily dealt with.
Another thing about this game is that the netcode is surprisingly good. Nothing like SFIV and certainly nothing like any of the shit Nintendo tries to pass off as online. Sure, lag is always going to happen if you’re playing someone in another continent who is also downloading porn on the side, but for the most part lag ranges from bearable to imperceptible. Definitely the best online I have seen in a game.
That being said, the usual online problems still apply: a stupid amount of people who rage quit when they’re losing, retarded messages from butthurt losers accusing you of being cheap, noob, gay, or whatever. Fuck you. Even when I’m being annihilated I still take every loss like a man instead of disconnecting like a bitch.
And speaking of getting annihilated, that’s another problem with this game: it’s a lot of fun when you’re fighting people around your skill level, but every once in a while you go up against someone way better than you and then it’s no fun at all when you get destroyed ten times in a row and it seems everything you try to do is futile. That’s what happens in this game. The skill gaps can be huge. But I guess these things aren’t really faults with the game itself. Just comes with the territory in fighting games. Generally speaking the skill level in ranked matches is a lot lower, while the better players tend to hang around unranked player matches.
And obviously none of this is a problem if you just play with friends instead of strangers. Unless your friends are rage quitting pricks?
But yeah. Like I said, I don’t even like fighting games. But HD Remix is just too good. Almost 2 months of playing it and it’s still just as much fun as ever. This right here is the best game on 360 (though it’s also out for PS3, even though it is quite a bit worse than the 360 version). And at such a cheap price it would be a crime not to download it for anyone who even has a slight interest in fighting games.
Final Verdict: S
Final Playtime: Still gonna be playing this for a while. As of this writing, though, who knows. Around 50 days and 1-3 hours per day so I’d average it at around 100 hours.