A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is an updated version of the 2009 game Street Fighter IV. Like last year's Xbox 360 update, the game is a series of nonstop battles in which opponents use their hands, feet, and mystical attacks (like fireballs and electrical strikes) to knock out their opponents. The game does not feature any blood or gore, but enemies yelp with pain when hit. Female fighters often wear skimpy outfits. Players can compete with strangers via the Internet, but the system does not offer any personal identification other than a username chosen by the player. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.
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What's it about?
Players can choose from one of 35 characters and guide them through a series of fights with other characters. Arcade mode is the most story-intense part of the game, with each character having a different story (but all of them are rather one-dimensional). Training mode lets players hone their skills. But the real appeal is the game's multiplayer options, letting them compete against players around the world and friends across the room. The matchmaking system isn't quite perfected yet, though, so you may end up facing a player whose skills are much better or worse than yours when playing via the Internet. This is quickly noticeable when they attempt special attacks that deliver extra damage, often via fireballs or electrical bolts.
Is it any good?
While Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is one of the best (and most elegant) multiplayer games to ever appear on a Nintendo platform, it's worth remembering that this is, at its heart, the second update of a two year old game. That means the graphics aren't as impressive as you might expect from a launch title for a system whose main selling point is its graphical differences. In 3D mode especially, the backgrounds appear incredibly static -- almost cardboard-like.
At its core, though, the game remains a good fighter. The action moves quickly, and there is a tremendous variety of moves among the large collection of characters. Finding a random online opponent is easy (though the matchmaking service isn't fully up to snuff yet), as is connecting with friends. Fighting in the system's 3D mode takes some getting used to, but it's a nice (though unnecessary) addition, letting the characters stand out as they battle. Longtime fans of the series don't need to buy yet another version, but for new 3DS owners looking for a quality game for older teens, this isn't a bad choice.
Online interaction: The game will let you play with strangers over the Internet, but no personal information is exchanged and there is no voice chat. Similarly, you can play against someone close via local wireless. And the system's StreetPass mode lets your system compete with other players on its own. Again, no personal information is exchanged.
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