Time to fight dirty
Game pedigrees dont come much more distinguished than Street Fighter, the franchise that put 2D beat em ups on the map and caused arcade coffers to swell throughout much of the early nineties. This latest update sees Ryu, Ken et al line up for yet another bout, this time with stylised, next-gen visuals thrown into the mix.
Those who baulked at the nerve-shredding test that was countering super attacks and pixel perfect parries in Street Fighter III will find IV far a far more welcoming affair. While veterans can still plough hours into mastering its nuances, even the greenest of gamers can jump straight in, throwing dragon punches and executing monster finishers with the best of them. Button mashing dominates fighting games, while convoluted special moves rule the rest - here its all about strategy. Go in with fireballs blazing but little else and a half decent opponent will leave you flat on your back. SF rewards feints and cunning - mastery of your opponent requiring more than simple skill with a gamepad.
In a world of bazillion hour RPGs and increasingly narrative-focused titles, something as superficial as two characters beating the snot out of each other may seem rather shallow. But, with gameplay that could easily take a lifetime to master and frenetic VS battles that never get tired, SFIV is guaranteed to be in your console long after those deeper titles are left gathering dust.