Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition
REVIEW: There's no denying SFIII: 3rd Strike is one of the best fighting games of all time. What 2D fighting game is more deserving of an enhanced, feature-rich update than good old 3rd Strike? While I can think of a few other deserving titles, 3rd Strike would definitely be at the top of my list. It's great to see 3rd Strike back in the limelight since it was considerably under-appreciated when it launched in 1999, and (some would say) "ahead of its time". I personally enjoyed the entire SFIII series since the beginning for its fluidity, solid gameplay, and interesting character designs.
SFIII: 3rd Strike Online Edition doesn't present anything "new" in the way of the game itself. Basically, this is the original arcade version of 3rd Strike with no balance or character changes. While it would've been amazing to see a new character or two appear in this classic title, the fact that Capcom left the game unchanged keeps the nostalgia and historical value intact. Of course this is an instant purchase for hardcore fans, but Capcom added some interesting new features which should appeal to aspiring new players.
Aesthetically, 3rd Strike Online features brand new character artwork by Stanley Lau and significantly higher quality versions of the classic artwork by Daigo Ikeno. There are several "HD" graphical filters to choose from and a variety of screen sizes as well (including a retro "arcade cabinet" mode). A few years back, I remember putting my PS2 copy of 3rd Strike (Anniversary Collection) into my backwards compatible 60-gig PS3 and being blown away at how good it looked. While this version looks good, I can't say that I'm equally as blown away for some reason. Overall, the filters give the character sprites a good clean look, but a few backgrounds appear "washed out" and low-res by today's standards.
Online Edition offers the standard Single Player, Multiplayer, and Training modes, in addition to Trial, Vault, and Challenges. Trial Mode features a set of 5 combos for each character, as well as basic and advanced parrying challenges. Trials are especially fun to do since you can quickly repeat the challenge if you fail (and you will). They're so fun, in fact, that I really wish there were a wider variety of them (future DLC maybe?). Worth mentioning, one of the expert parry challenges requires you to recreate the legendary Evo Moment #37 with exactly the same set-up. Going through Trials will give you an appreciation for the deeper mechanics of SFIII's engine, but is really only a "taste" of how to play the game on a higher level. If you truly want to master your skills, playing online against solid competition is your best option (if you don't have any local friends that are skilled).
By default, various tasks or "Challenges" are displayed onscreen as you fight, and the game will track your progress in real time. From parries, to projectiles, to cancels and taunts, pretty much everything the player does is tracked. When performing a certain task enough times, "VP" points are given which can be used to unlock various extras from the Vault. The Vault contains an interesting variety of official and fan artwork, remixed music tracks (which can be used in-game), and the classic character endings. The remixed music tracks are indeed a mixed bag... some good & some not-so-much. I like a few of them, but overall I still highly prefer the originals.
The main menu is straight forward, proudly displaying the awesome new Artgerm character art, and it starts off with the new "Knock You Out" rap remix. I have to admit I'm not a fan of rap music in general, and after listening to the track a few times through, I wanted to make it go away indefinitely (especially since the menu music plays and repeats during online battle lobbies). I was confused at first, because the Options menu only features one lonely sound option.... Sound ON or OFF. Uhhh... am I crazy, or do 99.9% of all video games have sound effect and music volume options...? So, why are 3rd Strike Online's sound options limited to doing the same thing that my TV remote does.... Seriously Capcom? Can I get some SF3: 3rd Strike Online Sound Options Edition please???
Anyhow, after I ventured to the Vault, I stumbled upon the music area which allows you to change the background and menu music to your liking (from the selection of remixes). Still, the fact that I can't change the sound effect & music volume levels is annoying (especially because it hinders my process of uploading match videos). However, on that note, Capcom actually included their own "Direct Upload to Youtube" feature within the game itself, which is a brand new feature to fighting games and works very well. At first, the video quality wasn't very good, but about a month after the game's release, Capcom released a patch which improved the quality significantly! I hope to see this direct upload feature used in more fighting games in the future.
I wasn't impressed with Online Mode at launch, but Capcom seems to have cleaned up most of the connection issues. However, there are still some freaky sound glitches during Multiplayer, including "incorrect" sound effects and the music going completely silent. For instance, a "connected hit" sound is heard during a block or whiff, or a "KO" sound is heard before the last hit is even landed. I even saw my opponent's 100% life bar decrease after "hitting them" (accompanied by the "hitting them" sound effect), but then it abruptly decided that, in fact, I did not hit them... and their life bar returned to green (100% health). I guess it's a GGPO thing. Lastly, where the hell is Twelve's altered character voices when he uses X.C.O.P.Y.??? That's just unforgivable. Capcom, you seriously seriously need to fix that.
Despite the weird and disappointing sound issues, online mode is straight forward and gets the job done overall. There are tons of skilled players to meet online and there's no doubt that playing online will improve your game... especially for players who don't have much local competition. Thankfully, I've able to have some very smooth and "parry rich" matches with many people on PSN. I've heard the Xbox 360 online mode is better, but I personally haven't noticed too much delay on PSN overall. (Verizon FIOS!)
Last Updated: 2/6/2013 Developer(s): Capcom Publisher(s): Capcom Artwork by: Stanley Lau, Daigo Ikeno Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360 Release Date(s): August 23rd 2011 (PSN)
August 24th 2011 (XBLA)
Characters: Ryu, Ken, Dudley, Alex, Yun, Yang, Ibuki, Necro, Sean, Oro, Elena, Hugo, Urien, Remy, Chun-Li, Makoto, Q, Twelve, Akuma, Gill
Related Games: Street Fighter 3: New Generation, Street Fighter 3: 2nd Impact, Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, Street Fighter 4, Super Street Fighter 4, Super Street Fighter 4: 3D Edition, Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Street Fighter X Tekken, Blazblue: Continuum Shift 2, The King of Fighters XIII
Gameplay Engine 10 / 10 Story / Theme 8 / 10 Overall Graphics 8.5 / 10 Animation 9.5 / 10 Music / Sound Effects 7.5 / 10 Innovation 8 / 10 Art Direction 8.5 / 10 Customization 8 / 10 Options / Extras 7.5 / 10 Intro / Presentation 7.5 / 10 Replayability / Fun 9 / 10 "Ouch" Factor 10 / 10 Characters 9 / 10 OVERALL SCORE
8.9 / 10
Review based on PS3 version Final Words: The original 3rd Strike scored a 9.8 and is still one of my personal favorite 2D fighting games. I expected a bit more out of Online Edition at launch, but if Capcom fixes the sound issues, cleans up Online Mode a bit, and adds some satisfying DLC, I'll gladly raise the score.
Again, I'm glad 3rd Strike finally got its online version. I'm looking forward to bringing back (and improving) my skills with other players across the country and maybe uploading a few awesome match videos in the process. Aside from the online aspect, I was really hoping for some more bonus features. I understand a full-fledged Color Edit Mode could be abused by those "less artistic" gamers out there, but maybe they could've designed one with certain "limitations" (like the upcoming console version of KOF XIII). The DLC color packs offer some variety, but could've been a lot better.
I would've simply gone crazy if the classic New Generation and 2nd Impact stages made their epic return (even if I had to pay for them), but unfortunately... they didn't make the cut. I couldn't imagine those beautiful, hand-drawn backgrounds looking "worse" than 3rd Strike's backgrounds... but maybe the old resolution just couldn't transfer over (or Capcom is just being lazy). At least they added the New Generation & 2nd Impact soundtracks via DLC, which can be set to their "respective" stages... but unfortunately the soundtracks don't loop between rounds like the used to.
All in all, 3rd Strike is a must have for any 2D fighting game connoisseur, and is still a very fun game to this day. Whether or not you want to purchase this Online Edition depends on if you plan on playing online, or just want a convenient, shiny upgrade on your next-gen system. For only $15, there's little to no reason not to pick it up. ~TFG Webmaster