Hands-on with Street Fighter IV PC

First, I’ll come out and say it: Street Fighter IV for the PC is a tremendously impressive port. If you weren’t paying attention to Capcom’s efforts when they did a bang-up job porting Devil May Cry 4 to the PC, then Street Fighter IV may come as a bit of a surprise to you. But those of you who experienced the remarkably well-optimized DMC4 PC version will no doubt still be pleased at how well Street Fighter IV runs.

As a casual fighting game enthusiast (strictly 2D, not a fan of 3D fighters), and a long-time fan of the Street Fighter franchise, Street Fighter IV had threatened to force me to purchase a next-generation console to play it, and the options there are pretty dismal. First, you have the grossly overpriced Sony PlayStation 3, which thus far is pretty much the black monolith representing Sony’s unending hubris. The PlayStation 3 tends to have inferior ports of games that show up on both the PC and Xbox 360, and worthwhile exclusives for it are few and far between. So at the end of the day, given I have a plenty capable PC and a media center for HD playback, Sony’s glorified Blu-ray player wasn’t for me. On the other hand, while I’d definitely be happy to pick up Microsoft’s Xbox 360, moronically high hardware failure rates (I’ve read as high as 30%) coupled with an obnoxious system fan rule that system out for me. My former roommate had a 360 and I could hear it coming down the stairs; likewise, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had one fail.

Thankfully, Capcom made the unusual decision to port a fighting game—their flagship fighting game—to the PC, heretofore a fighting game wasteland relegated to quality programming like FX Fighter. So Street Fighter IV appeared late to the party but fashionably so, running beautifully and delightfully bug free (at least in my experience.)

First, as far as gameplay goes, it’s pretty excellent and a lot of fun. The AI can be very cheesy and throw-happy, I’m not sure how I feel about how Chun-Li has evolved (she’s actually one of the slower female fighters now, at least as far as I can tell) from SFII to SFIII to here, and I’m really not happy with Capcom taking a page out of the SNK "all of our bosses are grossly overpowered" playbook with Seth (though it’s not much of a surprise, given what a pain Gill was in SFIII). But the game is fun, a lot of the characters play the same as they always did, and the revenge gauge mixes things up just a touch. I’ve never been very good at anything other than Street Fighter Alpha 3 (X-ism Chun-Li), so a low difficulty level has worked out fine for me. Any higher and the game just gets too throw-happy for me. Capcom’s developers have said they tried to make the game casual friendly, and for the most part, they’ve succeeded. I’m not sure how much more casual-friendly it could be made without turning into a brainless button masher (Soul Calibur, I’m looking at you.)

As for the visuals, I’ve actually found myself to be a pretty big fan of the new art style. While some of the male characters are grossly over-ripped, the female models are uniformly excellent, with very expressive, intelligent faces. All of the characters ooze personality in ways their traditional 2D couldn’t. As much as I love classical sprite artwork and backgrounds, the move to 3D for the engine (while maintaining 2D gameplay) has paid off in spades here. The care taken in producing the game shows. Visual artifacts are also pretty rare. The game just looks good.

Fair warning, though: anti-aliasing takes a big toll on frame rates. My old 512MB Radeon HD 4870 couldn’t hit 8xAA without massive chugging; my new 1GB one can do it fine. But the 512MB Radeon HD 4670 in my media center can’t even enable it at 720p, and the game chops at 1080p without several settings being reduced. I think the performance feels about as good as it could, and the media center could very well be CPU-limited by the Phenom X3 8750 (a hand-me-down from a friend). As an afterthought, the filters available to the PC version are cute, but none of them look any better than the regular game does, in my opinion.

Unfortunately I can’t write a blog post without complaining about something, and with Street Fighter IV, there are two major issues that are delightfully intertwined with each other.

Though I purchased Street Fighter IV off of Steam, it comes with Games for Windows Live’s tentacles penetrating its every nook and cranny like a hentai monster. You actually can’t play with your unlocked characters or saved settings without it logging into Games for Windows Live, which makes no sense at all. On more than one occasion, I’ve been unable to login, and as a result, the game was rendered not necessarily unplayable, but shamefully limited. My favorite character is Cammy, one of the unlockables; if I can’t login, I can’t use her. That’s insane. And unlike some kind of useful service like Steam Cloud, I was disappointed to discover that the unlockables aren’t even saved to my Games for Windows Live profile. Upon installing the game on my media center after having unlocked everything on my desktop, I found that, even after logging in, I still had to go back and unlock everything again. Ridiculous. So apparently I just can’t have nice things the way I want them.

This is all compounded horribly, of course, by the fact that Street Fighter IV just hasn’t played well for me online. I’m sure fifty posts will pop up saying "but it worked great for me" and if it did, kudos to you, but with something as timing-sensitive as a fighting game, anything but a perfect connection is really going to be felt. I’ve found the online experience so hit-and-miss that I honestly just lost any interest in it, which effectively ruins any reason to have Games for Windows Live attached. Unless you’ve gotta have those gamer points and achievements, Games for Windows Live is basically worthless. And with all of your unlockables chained up behind it, it’s actually a detriment to the game.

The disaster that is Games for Windows Live’s deep ties in Street Fighter IV PC keeps this port from being a home run, and that’s a shame. I wanted to recommend it unequivocally and even encourage people to buy it to support the quality of the port and to suggest demand for more games like this on the PC, to prove that the PC is a viable platform for fighting games, too. Games for Windows Live is the fly in that ointment. If you think you can put up with something that ludicrous, then I definitely recommend the game. It’s nice to have a 2D fighter floating around again that doesn’t require obscene technical knowledge the way King of Fighters and Guilty Gear can, and it’s even better to have it gorgeously rendered on the PC.

Comments closed
    • Aihyah
    • 10 years ago

    the thing is the ps3’s resolution is even lower than the xboxs.
    thats a nice factor.

    as for legs, in motion the game looks excellent. its just a bad screen cap.

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    These blogs crack me up….
    l[

    • KoolAidMan
    • 10 years ago

    I already have it on the 360 but I picked it up on Steam anyway. Excellent port, I really couldn’t be happier, now I can play it in my home office as well as my living room!

    I will say that you should still be playing this game with a stick instead of a keyboard. I just use the same stick I have for my 360, works perfectly in Windows, no drivers or anything needed: §[< http://www.amazon.com/Xbox-360-Real-Arcade-Pro-EX/dp/B001GDONZS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1247816220&sr=8-1< ]§ For those that want to save a few bucks, this one is also really good: §[<http://www.amazon.com/Xbox360-Fighting-Stick-EX-Xbox-360/dp/B000V02P6Q/ref=dp_cp_ob_vg_title_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1247816220&sr=8-1<]§

    • Pettytheft
    • 10 years ago

    I wish Capcom had got their act together with PC ports a while back. Since the 360 they’ve been pretty rock solid. I’m looking forward to playing RE 5 on the PC.

    • I.S.T.
    • 10 years ago

    I apologize, Damage. I didn’t realize cursing of any kind was banned here. I don’t recall what I said(I have a poor memory…), but I’m sorry I said it.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Feel free to repeat the same garbage at the Shack though, anything goes there.

        • I.S.T.
        • 10 years ago

        A one time mistake is garbage? how silly.

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          No, I mean the language. Shack is a free for all.

    • idgarad
    • 10 years ago

    #$@*@ son of a !@#(%@$ gonna then @#)(@%@ your !#!()!^$ with a soup strainer then @$#)($@ in your @@#($@)$ Betty White @@#$ @#$@)#$@( Asian Kid #$%#)$ #%!!)(%$ With another @#)$@(*@#$ and when I am done @#)(*$@# your @#@_)(@#$ berkenstocks @#$)@(#$ with a @#($*@)$ I’ll @(#$@)#($ your #@$)(*)@$ @#)($@)#( with a #%(#)$(% in front of your mother you @)#($@ !)(#)@#$ @)#($)@#$( @#)($@#)$ Ethel @(*$@)#$ @(#$*@)#$ with a fist full of spaghetti.

    So in short I love the game as it brings back fond memories of the arcade….. 🙂

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Anyhow it’s nice to see at least one company doing quality console ports for the PC. It’s too bad that GFWL screws it all up. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that MS is trying to make Windows a worse gaming platform.

    • Damage
    • 10 years ago

    I.S.T.’s post nuked for profanity. Man, the potty mouth is everywhere lately. Let’s try to act like we’re in public here, folks.

      • Trymor
      • 10 years ago

      Mabey he was…

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Now that i’ve read the rest of the blog post, it’s been reported everywhere that if either you or the guy you’re playing against have the framerate set to “variable” instead of “fixed”, and if the framerate drops below 60fps, it’ll cause problems online. Capcom recommended in their forums that everyone set it to fixed, but for some reason variable is the default.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Man, the PS3 FUD is pretty thick in this here blog. I mean, the only worthwhile exclusives are…

    Resistance 1 and 2
    Ratchet and Clank ToD
    Heavenly Sword
    MLB the Show
    Disgaea 3
    Uncharted
    Little Big Planet
    Warhawk
    MotorStorm 1 and 2
    inFAMOUS

    And they don’t really have anything innovative or fun on the PSN…flOw, Pixel Junk Monsters/Racers/Eden, PAIN, echochrome.

    What’s worse is there’s no Uncharted 2, Gran Turismo 5, Little Big Planet 2, MAG, God of War III, or Fat Princess to look forward to.

    I mean, this console has absolutely nothing to play! You’re right!

      • rythex
      • 10 years ago

      I know!!! Nothing to play on the PS3… I have a box here that says Killzone 2 and it does nothing!! it just sits there!!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        Totally forgot about the lack of Killzone 2.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 10 years ago

      Okay, uh, Resistance 1 sucks. The human-made guns fire dodgeable bullets. It’s like DOOM 1 imp fireballs all over again. Laughable. What were they thinking?

      Edit: and I have a feeling things are still woefully the same in Resistance 2.

      • yogibbear
      • 10 years ago

      I don’t own one of the current-gen consoles… but you missed Metal Gear Solid 4 and Valkyria Chronicles

      Probably the only two games that i might be interested in a sub-200 dopllar ps3 for in 5 years time…

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 10 years ago

    OP has got to have some issues with his PC as this is what I get when I run it

    SCORE: 8014
    AVERAGE: 92.47FPS
    OS: Windows Vista(TM) Ultimate
    CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8500 @ 3.16GHz
    Memory: 8190MB
    Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series
    b[

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      don’t mind him, he’s just an anti-console fanboi. You can’t get through.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 10 years ago

      I get 16159 with no AA, which is like 148fps.

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      l[

    • I.S.T.
    • 10 years ago

    i’d like to mention the failure rates you heard of didn’t take into account the new/newer models. The Falcons mostly solved the problem, and the new Jaspers have pretty much killed it(Beyond the normal console failure rate, of course. There are always a few off ones… I had two dead PSones to prove it back in the day). They’re also quiet as fuck. I have one of these, and they’re quite nice. my first X360.

    Still, the result would have been a much less prettier game, so the PC port wins out anyway. I just wanted to make certain the X360 wasn’t slandered when it no longer deserves the bad press. >.> Just don’t buy a used one.

    • 5150
    • 10 years ago

    Don’t ever knock Soul Caliber, it’s the only game I could beat my friend at.

    And Cervantes is not “cheap” no matter what his bitter mouth says.

    • VaultDweller
    • 10 years ago

    l[

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    the online play has been very disappointing
    you would assume they would step up from SF2turbo HD
    however, this is not the case, even a spectator mode is missing

    not only is it a chore to find a match due to the need to constantly refresh a player list but there are no tier systems.
    you also have to pay for downloadable content that was created before the game was even released. I wish steam had a refund policy because I would have took it.

    now, to be fair online play is amazingly smooth and responsive. the jumping mechanics feel floaty but overall it has the original SF2 touch.
    In my case, that is a bad thing. I have had enough remakes of this franchise, I was looking forward to something new. G4TV said this was revolutionary in fighting games, yet they are mistaken. This game may be pretty but it did not change the landscape like DOA2 on dreamcast did.

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    No wonder Chun Li has got slow, it looks like her legs were exposed to some of the radiation from Half Life.

    And are the characters finally 3D for smooth motion, or still jerky 2D animations?

    Why does everyone look like they’re not part of the scene they’re supposedly part of?

    • Silus
    • 10 years ago

    Your HD 4670 can’t handle the game @ 720p ? That’s odd. My laptop with a 9600m GT handles the game with max settings, no AA @ 1280×800 pretty nicely (45-50 fps on average).

    It must be the drivers, because that card should handle the game quite nicely.

      • scpulp
      • 10 years ago

      Not with AA. Without AA the 4670 screams.

      • Naito
      • 10 years ago

      Athlon X2 5600+ with 512MB HD3870 runs maxed out at 1280×720 w/2xAA…..Vista x64 w/6GB RAM

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    I demand More games like this on the PC.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 10 years ago

      Good luck with that.

      At least Capcom is being good to the PC with its console ports. Can’t say if any other studio will follow their example.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      pay for this one and you’ll get more.

        • DrDillyBar
        • 10 years ago

        Promise?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          well they won’t make games they know won’t sell. For whatever reason (and I don’t care what it is, TBH) publishers don’t see this as a market with high sales. If SF IV sells, Capcom will reward you.

    • yogibbear
    • 10 years ago

    Yeah i’m really enjoying it while not playing TF2 or Dead Space. Though i find the server browser for the online play is silly how it only lists 3 options and usually they are all bad bad bad ping. So i end up just creating my own ranked match and kicking people until they join with orange/yellow/green connections (though even then i think people must be faking their ping somehow as sometimes i get a 100% green join and the game turns into a 1 frame every 10 seconds fest.)

    Still good though. I am a Sakura addict.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      Sakura has a nasty air juggle to dizzy combo. Learn it, use it.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      Some dingdong is playing with the “variable” framerate. For online, you should be set to fixed to fix at least some gameplay issues. Capcom should really issue a title update that enables it by default.

    • floodo1
    • 10 years ago

    did I mention that Games for Windows Live can suck it? As much as I hate Valve, Steam wins, and GfWL will prevent me from buying this game. Maybe I’ll email Capcom about it.

      • YeuEmMaiMai
      • 10 years ago

      lol did i mention that your post has no bearing in fact? I have several GFW and they run just fine

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        I actually like GFWLive. It’s great on Gears of War. It’s also nice to feed my achievement/trophy addiction.

    • floodo1
    • 10 years ago

    I love how people dismiss the PS3 in one word “overpriced” then say that they don’t buy an XBox because of hardware problems. How much more would people pay for an XBox that worked right, and how much cheaper than a PS3 would that be? I guess then they’d BOTH be overpriced 🙂

    Umm, Chun-Li’s legs look RIDICULOUS! Seriously look how huge and long they are!

    Also can you clarify whether are 4870 (512 or 1gb) can do 1080p (with or without 8xAA)? I gather that your media PC can’t do 1080p but I’m wondering specifically about 4870 512 since I have a 1920×1200 monitor to match that card.

    Thanks for the review though, I’ve been wondering about this game for awhile now since I 1st heard about it.

      • scpulp
      • 10 years ago

      Chun-Li’s legs have always looked ridiculous. I’d be upset if they WEREN’T huge. She’s had huge thighs since Street Fighter Alpha; I think they’re actually smaller now than they were in SF3.

      The 4870 512MB can do 1920×1200 with 4xAA no problem, but it needs the 1GB to hit 8xAA.

        • dmjifn
        • 10 years ago

        Word about the thighs.

        But, curious: Where /are/ those fireballs coming from? That screenshot leaves me wondering if Chun-Li’s got some hidden upgrade…

      • Decelerate
      • 10 years ago

      Wait, you *expect* the X360 to have ridiculous failure rates at that price point? Wow…

      PS3’s answer is simple: 100$ cheaper, then the flood will come. However the current generation’s time is almost up imo so I’m not even sure if Sony can save themselves at this point in time. Basically, I don’t think a comeback is probable.

        • clone
        • 10 years ago

        Xbox360’s don’t fail anymore…. so how much will ppl pay for a quality reliable Xbox 360….. the asking price.

        as for PS3’s price…. it will have to drop more than $150 not only because it’s price is far to high but because of the bad reputation that needs to be overcome althoug I’m inclined to agree that Sony missed the boat and the remaining market isn’t large enough even with a price drop to boost sales all that radically.

          • Scrotos
          • 10 years ago

          Bad reputation? Worse than the 360’s reliability and $1 billion writeoff? Really?

            • cynan
            • 10 years ago

            Speaking of bad reputations.. The hardware configuration that was the main culprit behidn the Xbox 360’s overheating issues and infamous Red Ring of Death has been absent for almost 2 whole years now – yet the Xbox360 still suffers from its reputation of poor reliability.

            As I recall, Zephyr, the codename for the first HDMI-laden 360 debuted around August 2007 and contained a much beefier heat sink that drastically improved reliability. (I think some units released shortly before Zephyr may also have included this upgrade). More recently, Jasper was released which included a process shrink…

            Now, Microsoft deserves entirely to reap what they sowed after trying to beat the PS3 to market with a clearly unready-for-sale product. But lets set the record straight. I highly doubt that 360s sold in the last 2 years or so are any less reliable than PS3s. I, for one, purchased my Xbox 360, a Zephyr, in September 2007, and have had zero problems, and I suspect that most others with systems sold in the past 2 years or so are having similar experiences.

            • cynan
            • 10 years ago

            Chun-Li legs ridiculous – sure. But its a cartoon. Just look at Zangief’s fists – they’re the size of his head! How may real people have fists that large?

      • VILLAIN_xx
      • 10 years ago

      +100 for you.

      x-) i hadnt seen that one yet.

    • Thorburn
    • 10 years ago

    Game shouldn’t be CPU limited by a Phenom X3, a Celeron 560 can give 60fps in the benchmark when paired up with a quick graphics card.

      • floodo1
      • 10 years ago

      except that his system doesnt have a quick graphics card

        • Thorburn
        • 10 years ago

        Yes, hence I said it isn’t CPU limited.

        My point was a faster CPU won’t improve performance.

          • potatochobit
          • 10 years ago

          any high end game would run slow on a computer with no graphics card :/

          I am using a phenom II X3 with a 4890 and it crushes the benchmark test.
          This game is nothing to be afraid of and the benchmark is far harder than the actual game on your system. turn a few things down and you should be golden.

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