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Review: Street Fighter IV Champion Edition – mobile fighting genre takes a step forward

Featuring MFI controller compatibility and widescreen to fit plus-sized smartphones, Capcom’s latest addition to its Street Fighter IV mobile series is what we’ve been waiting for – though the graphics could do with a polish

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 1:15pm

Street Fighter IV Champion Edition

Capcom

4/5 stars

There’s never been a great mobile fighting game, as the console originals tend to rely on joysticks and gamepads. Even Street Fighter, the most famous fighting game of all time, has had a patchy history on mobile formats.

Street Fighter IV was first released on mobile devices back in 2010, and it wasn’t half bad, a decent virtual approximation of the necessary control scheme. Capcom amped things up by adding multiplayer in Street Fighter IV Volt the following year, but then their ambitions fell apart with a stream of retro releases, crossover titles and blatant cash-ins, meaning the 2010 game was the peak of the franchise’s mobile performance.

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However, Champion Edition (available for Android and iOS) understands the limitations of the format and keeps everything within a good fighter’s simple but sophisticated boundaries.

Widescreen is the most obvious improvement, so the game can finally be played border-free on a multitude of decent sized screens.

There are also three new playable characters, apparently with six more to come in updates. Modes follow the tried-and-tested fighter pattern: arcade, survival, training and championship in single player, and a range of free-play, ranked and friendly matches in multiplayer. That gives Champion Edition an overall variety that’s hard to beat.

But what really gives the game its edge is its controller compatibility. The game is one of the first fighters compatible with MFI controllers – those keypads and joysticks that can wrap around your phone, be connected to its backside or just plugged straight in.

For many obsessive players, that’s going to be a game-changer, allowing them to finally embrace their skills on a portable format. The virtual buttons still aren’t to be scoffed at, but it’s a huge step forward nonetheless.

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But considering it’s Capcom, that’s also the only step forward. The graphics, for instance, look like seven-year-old blocky, jagged figures that rarely resemble their 3D console brethren. The developer could have put some effort into overhauling them – and no doubt will with the sure-to-be upcoming Super Ultra Gold Champion Edition or whatever.

Come on guys, just slap a higher price tag on it and let us have it now.