Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
The Street Fighter series' relationship with handhelds has always been mixed. They've improved hugely over the original, crippled GameBoy versions, yet even years later problems remain. Crappy D-pads, squished character rosters and a lack of buttons are recurring issues.
So what about Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition? Well, it may still fall short of the home console versions, but it's also in with a chance of becoming the finest handheld fighting game ever. For entirely traditional reasons.
You see, the 3D is largely pointless. While it provides a little visual flourish, it adds nothing to the game itself. Indeed, in a effort to shoehorn a purpose into the extra-dimension, Capcom have created a new Dynamic Camera view.
This view swoops in and around your character as you fight, often sliding over your shoulder to accentuate the depth of the 3D. It flows fluidly and the camera movement itself isn't as obtrusive as you may think. But the locked, over-the-shoulder view is, blocking your view of your opponent a little and confusing the direction of your attacks. Not ideal.
Of course, you can turn it off. That's probably the best approach.
Then there's the touch-screen. Divided into four, the touch screen allows you to click on mapped super or ultra combos, executing these previously tricky moves at will. It fits with Nintendo's never ending desire for inclusion, but learning those moves should be part of the fun of the game.
Street Fighter is a series famed for its accessibility, yet revered for its depth. You could spend weeks perfecting those moves. Mapping the combos and ultras in such a way bypasses much of this. You can choose to drop this feature during versus play, but it still bristles against my SF purism.
That out of the way, let's concentrate on the good stuff. There's lots of good stuff.
First up, it looks great. The big, colourful, chunky characters are very impressive, retaining all of the heft and physicality of their home console counterparts. This applies across all of the 35-strong character list. They all look fantastic, with all of the three costume packs sold as DLC on console available straight out of the box.
The backdrops are static this time around, but all of the flashy, over-long special animations all in place. It looks far better than the screenshots would suggest. And I'll begrudgingly admit that yes, though it makes no difference ever to the actual game, the 3D does look quite pretty.
The moves are all replicated too, obviously. In fact, from what I've sampled Capcom seem to have squashed everything that is great about SSFIV into the 3DS, with basically very few concessions. There may be a slight graphical downgrade, but everything else is here. Plus there's some extra features too.
Local and online multiplayer is in place, though I didn't get to test it out. Capcom promises that the online component is ultra-slick and requires little faffing about. More specific details were not announced.
There's also the rather brilliant idea of 'download play,' a feature that allows you to share and compete with friends who don't even own SSFIV 3D. Those friends can only play as Ryu, and only have access to one stage, but it's a nifty little feature that also doubles as a genius piece of marketing. Clever stuff.
Oh, and it has a StreetPass enabled versus mode too, that odd thing that allows you to compete against passers by while your 3DS in tucked away in your bag. Still not sure about the point of all of that.
Ultimately, what you get with Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is SSFIV with a few bells and whistles. Let's not forget, SSFIV is one of the greatest fighting games in recent memory. Squash that into a handheld console, chuck some extra features on top, no matter how superfluous some of them may be, and that makes for a quite brilliant package. Among the very best of Nintendo's launch window line-up, SSFIV 3D is terribly exciting.