Of all the games that I got to demo at Nintendo's 3DS press event, the one that impressed me the most was not one of their own, but Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. I was informed that it won't be out at launch, but in the "immediate launch window." Which is good, because this thing could be a system seller.
With 35 playable fighters, the 3DS version includes everyone from the console versions, and looks just as impressive. Especially when you add the 3D effects!
There are two play modes that you can choose from, and I'm not talking about tag team or arcade modes. No, there's Normal, which is the traditional side-view of the battle, or Dynamic, which places the camera just over your fighter's shoulder to enhance the depth of the 3D imagery. Controls in Dynamic mode take a little adjustment because of the angle, but I found that using the D-pad instead of the control stick helped keep me from jumping around like a lunatic constantly.
The game also features a Light Mode, where four buttons are placed on the touch screen for easy access to combos and special moves. In Pro Mode, you can actually customize specific button combinations to the buttons if you like. And while Light Mode makes it easier for non-fighting gamers like me to pull off some impressive moves, you can set your game to only play against opponents in Pro Mode. That way you won't get into a multiplayer match with someone who can cheaply combo his way to victory!
There is online and local multiplayer, and there's even a Spectator Mode so up to six people can view a battle between two opponents. It's way easier than trying to look over someone's shoulder, and the 3D effects will be better, too! With local multiplayer, you can turn on a fight request, and then if someone comes into your vicinity playing SSFIV3D, the games will automatically connect and offer you up as opponents. This way you can fight strangers on the train without having to look like a total weirdo leaning around to see what they're playing and then awkwardly asking if they want to fight you. So if you ride the A train to work every morning in New York City, you might just find yourself fighting li'l ol' me! (And kicking my ass, no doubt!) You'll find even more challengers by going online, because online multiplayer is worldwide.
When I first heard about the way SSFIV3D was using the Street Pass functionality of the 3DS, I thought it sounded really lame. But it's actually a rather involved little side-game. Basically, through playing the game (or even using the 3DS pedometer) you earn coins that you can use in slot machines to try and win figurines of the Street Fighter characters. They all have different levels with different HP, attack and defense skills, so you want to collect as many as you can so you can build up a team of five that's as strong as possible. With your 3DS in sleep mode, you don't even have to have SSFIV3D in the system to use Street Pass; your team is saved to the system memory. And once you've tagged someone, the next time you play the game, you can see whose team came out on top. It's actually really cute the way they do it: You see the two little 3D figurines come at each other from the left and right sides of the screen to bang into each other like they were being wielded by little kids. Depending on the stats involved, a victor is decided, and whoever's team racks up the most victories in the five battles will earn more currency to buy more figurines. (Don't worry, the loser still gets a little something just not as much!) There are tons of figurines to collect, and you can even trade them with your friends.
As you'll see from the screenshot above and the ones below, the graphics are truly amazing, even without the 3D. It's really impressive what Capcom has managed to accomplish, and it bodes really well for the new system. The 3DS is capable of some surprisingly good graphics. And even though I'm not the biggest fan of fighting games, I went back to play SSFIV3D at least three more times, and I'm actually really anticipating its release!