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E3 2011: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition hands-on

E3 2011Street Fighter

On the record as Capcom’s highest budgeted downloadable title to date, there are some super high expectations for the impending release of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition. Having gotten the chance to spend some time with the game firsthand, it pleases me to say that I’ve come away very impressed.

Rather than redraw 3rd Strike and risk the same community backlash Capcom found with HD Remix, Online Edition strives to deliver the game many of us know and love – and a whole lot more. Menus have been fully redone, featuring a slick new UI with original illustrations by Capcom’s Shinkiro. While I’m not the biggest fan of Shinkiro’s work personally, his super detailed, clean like work is ideally suited to Online Edition’s streamlined presentation.

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Exploring the menus a number of all-new modes and options are quickly revealed. Previous console versions of 3rd Strike have been rather bare bones, but Online Edition packs in challenges, parry trials and character trials, which teach specific character’s moves and combos. Challenges are a lot like achievements, netting you VP (vitality points?) for doing things such as mashing out of stun or performing X number of super arts. VP can be exchanged in the all-new gallery section for tons of concept art, music and other promotional artwork. As VP is accrued your overall Online Edition profile ranks up.

But enough about Online Edition’s bells and whistles, I know you want to know how it plays and looks. While I’m only what my friends and I like to refer to as a ‘high level casual player’, Online Edition feels right. Capcom is claiming the game will be 100% arcade perfect, and considering they delivered on the previous port of 3rd Strike back with Anniversary Collection, I’m inclined to believe lighting will strike twice. As for the game’s visuals, purists will be happy to know the ‘Crisp’ and ‘Smooth’ filters can be turned off easily, even mid-match, and scan lines can also be toggled. As far as I saw the high-resolution HUD elements, such as super bars and vitality meters, could not be reverted to their original resolutions, but I’m not completely sure. The game can also be played in its native 4:3 aspect ratio, or in the new 16:9 mode.

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Since the game was setup for local multiplayer there was no way to test the online portion of Online Edition, but Capcom confirmed the title would support GGPO. Additionally, during the game’s boot up, the GameSpy logo was among the opening credits, leading me to believe the technology is utilized for matchmaking. The representative on-hand mentioned Online Edition would ship with 8 player quarter match lobbies and tournaments.

Finally, in the main menu there was an option labeled ‘Downloadable Content’. Of course nothing at this point has been announced concerning that, but the concept of Online Edition DLC has already got my mind churning, speculating, salivating. Could Capcom release New Generation and 2nd Impact DLC? Could those Street Fighter IV character sprites from Shoryuken be turned into fully featured characters for download? The answer to both of these questions is likely no, but the potential for interesting DLC makes the mind wander – and hope.

Get ready to ‘Fight for the Future’ again, later this summer.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @_seankelley.

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