The eternal competition between consoles and PC has always been positive for us, gamers. If I wanted to play a RPG or a strategy, I turned on the PC. If I was craving for a fun jump’n'run title or a two-player sports game, I turned on the console. Many genres are common to both platforms, but we must admit that each of them excels in its own way, creating a little envy on the “other side”.
And although most of them don’t admit this even if they are asked, the PC fans lately felt an acute lack of fighting games. All this while consoles host titles like Virtual Fighter 5, Soul Calibur IV, Tekken 5 Dark Ressurection, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and since February 2009, the fourth part in a series that doesn’t need any presentation: Street Fighter.
"We are preparing a surprise for PC owners" (Yoshinori Ono, producer)
Even before its release, Japanese publisher Capcom announced that Street Fighter IV will also be released on PC, fact which caused a big uproar in the gaming community. Honestly I enjoyed this news, especially because there is a large category of players who still dukes it out in old, but immortal fighting games, using the GGPO system.
Also, shortly before the console launch, Yoshinori Ono promised PC owners that they will receive a well deserved surprise, because of the time differences between the releases (approximately four months). I didn’t forget his words and therefore I had high expectations that we will get new options, or at least some improvements to the ones found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Given that we talked extensively about the console edition in a previous article, I believe we should now examine the game’s evolution in these four months on its way to the PC.
The most important modification was made to the graphics. If on the consoles the maximum resolution was 1280×720, here it was raised at 1920×1080, and the quality difference is considerable, especially since we’re talking about an excellent level of detail. If you thought that on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 it looked gorgeous, you should try the PC version using a full HD monitor or TV. Moreover, everything runs smoothly, at a constant 60 fps. On the other hand, for such performance you will need a processor that’s at least decent (read Dual Core), supported by a video card with 512MB RAM and 2GB of system memory.
Another novelty is the implementation of three graphical filters, which can be applied for a different visual impact: Watercolor (more diffuse color by adding “steam”), Ink (vibrant colors and more artistic designs) and Posterization (highly saturated colors). And although I enjoyed the extra options, I was hoping that this wasn’t the only surprise for the PC version, since I had higher expectations.
Shall we duel on the consoles or the PC?
Time has shown us that Street Fighter IV is fast approaching its maturity, the proof being the many tournaments in which it did a great job. The balance between characters impressed me the most, especially because many new fans have already learned to use the fighters at their maximum potential.
If the Americans are more conservative about their choices, the Asians (fanatics, as we know them) raised the strategies for some of the weak characters to higher levels. It’s true that we rarely meet the likes of Rose, Fei Long or Guile in tournament finals, but the ability with which Japanese players can control them is impressive nonetheless.
Unlike other fighting games, the control scheme in Street Fighter was never simple, and the fourth installment isn’t any different. There are rotation movements, others which need pressing a button for several seconds, but the most difficult moments appear when using Zangief, which requires very complex circular motions. One thing is certain though, the game was created for arcade stick, or in the worst case scenario, for controllers similar to the console ones.
While it’s not impossible to use the keyboard, I think that only a small percentage of players using it can hope to reach a higher skill level. So between the two players of equal level, one using a keyboard and the other a controller or an arcade stick, it’s pretty obvious who will be the winner. I know, most of you will say that there are many gamers who have trained on GGPO using the keyboard, but we don’t take into account the hundreds of hours spent there, in the company of competitive opponents. So if you don’t have an arcade stick or a controller, get one, because I’ll bet that you’ll put the keyboard aside.
Moreover, the training mode hasn’t been improved in any way, fact which can create problems to newcomers or those using the keyboard. Even a small experience with one of the previous Street Fighter titles will make a huge difference, since the "shortcuts" for certain more complex moves, such as the Ultras of Guile or Vega, which requires special skills, even for arcade stick owners, aren’t mentioned anywhere. In this regard, more information to help beginners along would have been an important upside.