I took a break from trying to convince myself to love Fallout 3 last weekend long enough to head down to San Jose and play Street Fighter IV for the first time. It was…pretty good!
…well, the game was pretty good, at any rate. I was awful. I’ve never been any good at fighting games -– I never owned any as a kid, only occasionally tried SF2 in the arcades — so this development wasn’t too much of a surprise. The best I could manage was firing off a Hadouken 9 times out of 10, which I must say is quite the personal accomplishment.
The graphics, though, impressed me. Like many people, I’ve been down on the game’s art style; I think the characters all look too beefy for Street Fighter, as if the guys from Gears of War decided to take their armor off and brawl. Having played it, though, I now have a much higher opinion. The strange thing, though, is that this is easily the most extreme case of “you need to play it to appreciate it” I have ever encountered. Pictures and videos won’t do it justice; you need to get your hands on the sweaty joystick to actually like it. I’ve thought about this over the past few days, but I still can’t put my finger on why that is, exactly. I suppose it’s something to do with the subtle animations on each characters, which look (or “feel”) much more impressive when they’re the result of your input. They felt incredibly alive when I was in control. In fact, when I watched someone else at the cabinet, my opinion began to fall again; but as soon as I was in control, I thought it was totally great. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.
Luckily (?), I was roped into promising to picking up the game when it comes to consoles and dedicating myself to learning how to at least be competent, so I guess I’ll have more time to contemplate this phenomenon when I revisit the game sometime next year. Since I missed out on the SFII hysteria back in the day, I’ll enjoy participating this time around. Dan’s a top tier character, right?