A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a reimagined version of the classic fighting game. Players use their fists, feet, and a series of special powers to beat down opponents. There are occassions where blood is present, but it's not frequent. Some special moves show the damage to your opponent. Also, some of the female fighters are scantily clad, showing plenty of cleavage and some portions of their undergarments. One level places the fights inside of an alcohol distillation plant. You can play with others online.
What's it about?
STREET FIGHTER IV is the long-awaited sequel to the 20-year fighting franchise. So far, it has yet to show its age. Much like the previous iterations, players take control of one brawler and guide him to victory in the Street Fighter tournament. Each fighter brings their own unique story to the mix and incentives for entering battle.
Fighting is broken down with six buttons: three punch attacks and three kicks. Combining button presses with movements on the analog stick execute special attacks. Ken, for example, can throw fireballs by pressing the punch button while moving the stick from the down position forward in a quarter-circle motion. As you perform these combinations, a Super meter builds that, once filled, lets you perform a Super move for greater damage. There's also a Revenge meter that fills when you take damage, and allows players to perform an additional powerful strike. Matches are decided in a best-of-3 rounds format. Beyond the single-player Arcade Mode, players can also fight opponents online or through local multiplayer.
Is it any good?
The biggest and best change in Street Fighter IV is the visuals. The fighter steps away from two-dimensional graphics in favor of gorgeous 3-D visuals. The extra dimension also adds some weight and heft to each character and their moves. Heavy punches and powerful kicks look really painful. Environments are more vibrant and lively than in previous versions.
The franchise has also made the brawler more accessible to rookie players. The Training Mode lets players practices their moves and combos at their pace. The easier difficulty options are also more gentle on novices. Street Fighter fanatics shouldn't fret, as the game provides just as much challenge as its predecessors. Battling opponents online is very easy to accomplish. Players can tweak Arcade Mode so that opponents online can challenge you to a fight at any time. Gamers can also record fights using the Replay Mode -- available as a future, free download -- and share them with others. Street Fighter IV is smashingly good by sticking to its roots while adding some fresh features.
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