Game Rant’s C.J. Smillie Reviews Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition
When people talk about the best game in the Street Fighter series, chances are you’ll get one of two answers. Older gamers will point to Street Fighter II, the one that truly kicked off the fighting genre in gaming – with memorable characters and innovative gameplay. Where as, newer gamers will say Street Fighter IV, which showed that 2D-style fighting could still work with 3D graphics in the current generation, and helped revive the fighting genre on modern consoles.
Yet the game that came in between the two, Street Fighter III, is often overlooked – at least outside of the tournament scene. Now that it’s been rereleased as Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition, perhaps a new generation of gamers can rediscover the classic brawler.
Perhaps part of the problem, regarding Third Strike‘s lack of acknowledgement, from most Street Fighter fans is the roster. Outside of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and Akuma, none of the famous characters from Street Fighter II are present. Instead, the majority of the roster are all new, unrecognizable characters. A couple of them, like Necro and Remy, are mostly copies of familiar faces (in their cases, Dhalsim/Blanka and Guile, respectively), while others, such as Q, aren’t unique enough to really stand out. That’s not to say the entire roster is uninteresting – if the popularity of Ibuki and Makoto are anything to go by, there are still a decent amount of fighters to enjoy.
In terms of gameplay, this is your standard Street Fighter fare. Punches and kicks ranging from light to heavy, moving back to block, quarter-circle forwards, and so forth. A couple of unique additions are in this game, though. The super bar that’s expected of any fighting game these days has been tweaked from previous Street Fighter games – in that you don’t have to use it only for super combos. Rather than wait for the gauge to max out and use your finishing move, Street Fighter 3 was one of the first titles to allow players to perform a more powered-up version of a regular attack. Also, instead of having to memorize three different button combinations for super moves – players get to pick one at the character select screen and stick with it for the entire match.
The biggest addition to the gameplay is the Parry System. As mentioned, players typically have to push backwards on the analog stick/directional pad to block oncoming attacks, decreasing the amount of damage inflicted. The Parry System allows players to stop oncoming attacks by pressing forward instead of back, at the exact moment the attack makes contact with the player character. This negates the attack and any damage the player might have taken, allowing for an easy counter-attack. It’s pretty simple, and I actually found myself performing a counter-attack by accident, on occasion. However, mastering the technique requires precise timing – but, once a player has it down, they’ll be able to easily decimate competitors in multiplayer.
Anyone looking for a good single player game may not be too happy. This isn’t to say the single player campaign is bad but it’s just a standard arcade mode. That might sound okay – until you attempt to tweak the settings to suit your play-style: say you prefer to play arcade on a lower difficulty, with the timer off, and only one round (instead of two out of three). Despite a myriad of customizable options – none of them actually affect arcade mode. It wouldn’t be a huge problem, except for the fact that the default (i.e. only) difficulty isn’t very forgiving for more inexperienced players – meaning players may be very lucky to make it to the final boss.
Overall, though, Third Strike is more than a worthy addition to the Street Fighter series – challenging and intuitive while providing plenty of fun for multiple players. If you’re into the tournament scene at all, it’s highly recommended that you get this – as the gameplay system is very deep and can provide some real challenges when mastered. Players who want to hop online with friends will also find a worthwhile package here. However, casual gamers should take heed: the difficulty curve is pretty steep, and unless you’re willing to put the time and effort to practice, it might be hard to get a lot of enjoyment out of the title.
Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition arrives August 23rd for 1200 MSP on Xbox Live or $14.99 on PSN.