Street Fighter IV for Xbox 360 reviewUpdating a fighting game series, especially a well-regarded one, is always a delicate proposition. Ideally, the game you’re starting with is already a well-balanced rock-paper-scissors battle, where every character, move and tactic can be countered by someone skilled and/or quick enough. Adding new content onto this framework, as sequels must to stay fresh, could potentially topple the entire house of cards, making the original game unrecognizable to fans and inaccessible to newcomers.

This is arguably what’s happened to the Street Fighter series over the past 15 years. After achieving popularity with the seminal Street Fighter II and perfecting the balance and roster with the still-popular Super Street Fighter II Turbo (SSF2T), a chain of reinventions erased most, if not all, of that familiar fighting system that the developers had worked so hard to achieve. Sure, there were a few memorable gameplay additions amongst the cavalcade of new characters, moves and mechanics introduced in the Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Ex, Capcom Vs. and Street Fighter III series, but all these new layers introduced unnecessary complexity and overly technical emphasis to the near-perfect balance of the original SSF2T.

So we come to Street Fighter IV, a game that adds to the heritage of the series by taking away most of these distracting layers and coming close to recapturing the nostalgic ideal of the old SSF2T.

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