Review: Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition
I’m terrible at Street Fighter III. I can’t parry to save my life, I don’t have the muscle memory to pull off a hadouken every time, and I just can’t get the hang of charging, no matter what move I’m trying to pull off. Yet I still find myself eagerly retrying after every loss, hoping to better myself and figure out exactly which character I suck the least at playing. However, even with my utter lack of skill at the game, I can acknowledge where a lot of love has been poured in to an update, and Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition (SF3 hereafter) is about as lovingly crafted as you can get without redrawing all the artwork in pixel perfect HD.
First off is what everybody came here for, that being the online play. Much fuss has been made about the use of GGPO in this fighter, and I’m happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Matches felt smooth and responsive, and the scaling back of frames to counteract lag wasn’t frustrating in the least, even if it did mess up my timing in one game I played. The online comes with a whole host of features, including a tournament mode and both ranked and unranked matches. Of course, offline play is here too, and the game doesn’t even use ludicrous PSN DRM, meaning you really can play offline. I guess the everlasting fury of all the SF3 fans was enough of a discouragement this time, go figure. Suffice to say the online play won’t disappoint you if you’ve come looking for a fight.
The game makes sure to present itself in about as slick and seamless a presentation as you can get, with stunning art by Udon taking pride of place in all the menus, and the usual host of visual filters in game. They’re mostly for you to look at and then promptly ignore in favour of sticking the game in a 4:3 box resembling an old arcade screen, and then adding scanlines. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The game itself still holds up magnificently, with some of the best 2D animated sprites this side of a Capy game. It’s lovely to see the game presented with such class, as opposed to just sticking a box up on the screen with some scrolling text wrapped around it. SF3 uses the dead space either side of the screen to great effect, displaying challenges that the player edges ever closer to completing. It’s a good mark of progression, and these challenges are everywhere, permeating every inch of the game.
Of course, if you’re looking to come in to SF3 having never played the game before, as did I, you’re going to be in for a fairly rough ride. The built in tutorials, while extensive in terms of making you perform simple parries to advanced cancels, overlook the importance of timing. It’s all very well saying “do this”, but without an actual way of knowing what exactly you have to do and when, they quickly devolve into frustration. An onscreen controller or a “how to” video for each challenge would have gone a long way towards helping me learn how to parry Dudley’s EX uppercut. They’re a decent way of measuring where your skills are at if you’re jumping back in, but you’re not going to find much in the way of actual learning here.
Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition is everything a fan of this particular installment in the series could ask for. It has smooth online play, a load of dip switches to tweak (for a price, damnit Capcom), and enough challenges to keep you busy for quite some time. It’s an admittedly rough time for newcomers, but if you feel about ready to take down Gill again, now is the perfect time to do so. Just don’t worry if you can’t parry.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- A lovingly done update of a classic fighting game
- Wonderful online with GGPO netcode.
- The challenges are remarkably addictive.
What I Dislike:
- Tutorials, while extensive, do little to actually teach you how to play.
- The menu music after the first few times.