Street Fighter 4 is amazing. It’s a perfect blend of 3D graphics and classic 2D fighting gameplay. It’s gorgeous in execution, and I feel it brings what was so great about Street Fighter 2 into a new generation with incredible amounts of polish.
That said, I suck at it and I hate the digital shit out of it.
I kid. I went into the game knowing that I was not a Street Fighter champion. There are certain genres of games in which I have some measure of skill, and then there are certain genres that I enjoy but I am just not any good at. Fighting games, by and large, are one of these genres. I enjoy them, I have fun with them, but without inordinate amounts of practice (specifically focusing on a single character), I’m no good at them.
However, before Street Fighter 4, I’ve never really had trouble facing off against the computer AI. More talented players will trounce me, sure, but I’ve always been capable of playing through Arcade modes against the computer with a measure of success and enjoyment. This has changed with Street Fighter 4. In particular, C. Viper, one of the new characters. She has become the absolute bane of my Fighting Game existence.
The computer AI goes above and beyond being “tough” when I face off against her. The AI seems to go out of its way to completely humiliate and demoralize you. Pretty much any other character I can manage, can find a strategy to counter them. Not C. Viper.
“Oh, I see you’re jumping. I’m going to electrocute the shit out of you. Oh, you’re attacking. How do you like my rocket boot in your face. Oh, I see you’re standing there, on the ground. How’s this earthquake feel?”
It can be an exercise in frustration, and more than once I have stalled out an entire Arcade mode session because I just could not get past her.
And yet, after I’ve put down the controller and cooled off, I still find myself wanting to fire it back up and have another go. Because as infuriatingly impossible as I find the AI sometimes, Street Fighter 4 is just so well done that I cannot help but want to come back for more.
And you know what? This tough love approach from the game’s AI is also making me a better player. Slowly and painfully, but it’s forcing me to learn all of the deeper gameplay systems it has to offer, forcing me to pay attention to and learn the timing.
I’ll never be a great Street Fighter player, but pretty soon I might be good enough to get trounced in online matches instead. Either way, it’s a ton of fun, and worth checking out if you were a fan of Street Fighter 2.