Street Fighter has had quite a long history behind it. First releasing in 1987 in the Arcades, the series became popular once the sequel, Street Fighter II released on 1991 and pretty much created the Fighting Game genre and the competitive scene for it.
This now being the fourth iteration features a number of gameplay changes to the traditional Street Fighter formula as well as a slew of new and classic characters from past Street Fighter and Final Fight games.
The story (Yes it has a story) is set chronologically after the events of Street Fighter II but just before Street Fighter 3rd Strike. A new World Tournament is arranged after Bison's defeat at the hands of Akuma (SF2) in order to draw out Ryu and use his hidden powers and complete a project. Besides the main premise, every character has their own intros and endings after defeating the final boss, known as Seth - a new character to the Street Fighter franchise.
The gameplay's still top notch Street Fighter. The game's heavily based on pokes and footsies (throwing out safe moves and controlling distance to your opponent) rather than combography, like games like Marvel vs Capcom or Mortal Kombat. Almost every character plays differently, with the obvious exception of the Shoto characters like Ryu, Akuma and Ken.
Street Fighter has a 6 button layout, divided by Light, Medium and Heavy and each by Punch and Kicks. (Eg - LP - Light Punch or HK - Heavy Kick). Unlike in games like Marvel vs Capcom, however, these inputs can't be linked by just dialing-a-combo, they have to be timed as the animation ends or you use an old trick found out that helps players link together these moves known as Priority Linking or Plinking. Every character also possess their own Special Moves, most of them CAN be linked from normals, however. Motions also vary per character as well as the requirements for executing these moves - for example, Ryu's Hadouken has the standard QCF motion plus a punch button (QCF stands for Quarter Circle Forward or in NUMPAD motions - 236), likewise, Ryu's Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku (Spinning Kick) has the motion reversed or QCB plus a kick instead of punch and Ryu's most complicated move, the Shoryuken has a "Z" like motion, (..or in Numpad reference: 623). Other characters, like Bison, have Charge moves. Charge moves are moves that require a direction to be held for a set amount of time, for example Bison's Scissor Kicks require you to hold back for a few seconds, then when you're ready to use the move, tilt forward and press any kick button, Bison will then execute the move. Kick motions are usually written in Numpad reference as: 4Hold 6+Button.
NOTE: The Numpad References mentioned above require you to, of course, take a look at the numpad on your keyboard, an analog stick or a joystick go by that to divulge input information easier to Fighting Game Veterans and Newbies alike. In Numpad - 8 would be Up, 2 would be Down and 4/6 would be Front or Back depending on your positioning in the game.
There's more stuff characters can do to further extend their offenses:*L,M,H Alterations to Special Moves:
Almost every character, if not all of them - can slightly alter their special moves depending on the designated punch or kick used. For Example, using QCF+LP can result in a slow moving Hadouken, whereas using QCF+HP can result in a faster Hadouken. Some moves also come with different frame numbers, so maybe a Light version of a move is safe on block, but the heavy version of the same move is very punishable after you use it haphazardly.*EX Attacks:
EX moves are that require meter to pull off (Read below) but are, essentially, buffed up Special Moves. EX moves are executed by holding two of the same button when inputting a special move. For example, Ryu's EX Hadouken would be QCF+LP+MP/HP.*Focus Attacks:
Focus attacks are done by holding the Medium Kick button and Medium Punch button. Focus moves, if charged enough can soak up certain moves up as a counterattack and cause a Crumple State on your Foe (Crumple State means that your character is in an animation where they can't move, defend or attack). After a successful Focus Attack, if you input a dash, you can cancel out the residual animation and continue your offense or escape a failed Focus Attack before you get punished, some characters, however are unsafe even if they cancel out. A Focus Attack cancel into dash is widely known as "FADC" or Focus Attack Dash Cancel and these can be used to cancel out of some special moves. NOTE: Some moves WILL break through a Focus Attack, when they do, you'll hear a shattering sound, be mindful of this when haphazardly throwing out focus attacks.*Super Moves:
Super Moves can be done when you have a Full Meter. Just like Ultras and Special Moves, they have their own input that varies per character. Using a Super will drain your entire Meter. *Ultras:
Every character has 2 Designated Ultras, you can, however only choose one in the character select screen after choosing your fighter. In game, you get the meter to use your Ultra moves as you take damage. It is possible to use 2 Ultras in the same round.*Throws/Command Throws:
Every character has a designated throw move. A throw can be done by pressing the light Punch and Kick buttons. Throws can be teched out of (Escaped) by pressing the Throw buttons just as you're being thrown. A throw can come out instantly and is often used for mix ups in an on going match. A Comand Throw, however, is only usable by certain characters, like Abel and Zangief. These have their own motions plus a button press, same as Special Moves, however, these throws are untechable and often deal high damage, but they aren't as easy to land as a regular throw.
In game, you have three meters you need to keep track of as well!
These being your health bar at the top, your Super Meter (Has 4 rectangles - each indicate an EX move that's now usable) and your Ultra bar by the side, which, when it lights up, means your character's Ultra is now useable.
The game itself looks great visually with a lot nice visual effects that still look great to this day. The character models are a little bulky looking, but it's more or less to do with the game's own art style. The stages in the game look great as well, some are very vibrant and colorful and some have more animated backdrops in the stage to give it more authenticity to what you're seeing on screen.
Soundwork is great aswell. Every stage has it's own theme to fit what you see on screen and helps further the authenticity of it, as well as some stages have their own added background noises. Each character also has their own theme songs and can be chosen to play them instead of Stage themes in the options menu as well as changing the character's Voices to English or Japanese. In game, everything also has it's own little chime that helps the player to identify them. When you gain a block of Super meter, it usually has a little 'puff' sound that helps you identify that you or your foe have a new block of meter to use. Hit noises are also fairly well done and help identify the more solid moves to give it more impact, likewise, the weaker moves, like light punches and kicks have their own sound that sounds less impactful but serve to help you identify that you hit your foe or viceversa.
Overall, this is an amazing fighting game that no fighting game fan should miss. Not much to say other than it's Street Fighter. Great mechanics, a healthy selection of characters with high variation to them and of course, the game ALWAYS has something new for you to learn, even if you're seasoned veteran.
+Lots of Character Variation
+Has an amazingly balanced roster
+Amazing Visual Effects
+Amazing Soundwork and soundcues help give the game authenticity and impact
-Dodgy Online System