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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 03/21/06 ] = In Defense Of Final Fight: Streetwise .01

Since its surprise showing at E3 2005, magazines and critics have had something against Final Fight: Streetwise. Now that the game is finally out, I've read a ton of bullshit reviews by stupid assholes who don't know what they are talking about. From coast to coast, magazine to magazine, site to site, there have been a ton of uninformative, misleading rants about the new Final Fight. The assholes at shit like GameSpot and PSM have exaggerated on and on about FFSW like little drama queens. They've made a mountain out of a molehill, blowing up and making a big deal out of stupid shit. Their influential reach went even farther than expected, creating a trend for braindead "gamers" to follow. It has thus, quickly become a trend to hate FFSW. You're talking about "gamers" all throughout the (now-ridiculous) scene hating FFSW because some prick magazine editor hates it, or because some other assholes (who don't know shit) also hate it. Aside from showing that hardly anyone can think for themselves anymore, this trend has given birth to a rash of inaccurate, misleading reviews and commentary. Most of the "gamers" and reviewers who try to come up with "intelligent" reasons to bring FFSW down don't even know enough about the game to do so. In reading recent reviews of side-scrolling fighters (like BeatDown and Urban Reign), it is apparent that the media and the scene both hate the side-scrolling fighter genre (unless it's made by Rockstar); one could have easily predicted the poor ratings Urban Reign and Final Fight: Streetwise received just by looking at how BeatDown was rated. The fate of these games was sealed before they were even released. With this in mind, leave what you've heard about FFSW at the door; there's a lot more to the game than you have been led to believe. This is the beginning of a progressive series of articles that will debunk unfair and misleading FFSW reviews while accurately covering the game.







In the past EGM and GameSpot (among other Ziff-Davis media affiliates) have been the nastiest critics of great Capcom titles (Giga Wing and Strider 2, to name a few), and with FFSW it's been no different. As a whole, media reviewers have exaggerated about every aspect of FFSW, but most notably the graphics. As seen in the screenshot above, the graphics in FFSW aren't bad at all, but critics have been hell-bent on getting everyone to believe otherwise. This bullshit review calls the character models "ugly during gameplay," and says that the 3-D environments are "nondescript," and that "the generic look of everything can be exasperating." OK. First of all, we have to look at the source of where this criticism is coming from, which happens to be from the same assholes who say Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "delivers a really impressive-looking graphical package." This is stupid not only because GTASA looks like absolute shit, but because they say that it "still looks great," even after citing numerous examples of how bad the game looks. They admit also that The Warriors (also by Rockstar) looks like dogshit, too, but still gave that trashy game a higher score than FFSW. What the hell is going on here? Does anyone else see this shit?

Now, if these assholes can make exceptions for those games and give them "superb" and "great" ratings, how the fuck can anyone trust what they say about the graphics in FFSW? So, they can make an exception for GTASA's visuals, but they can't do the same for FFSW? Fuck that shit. And as far as the buildings in FFSW's 3-D environments being "nondescript," it is apparent that we are dealing with a bunch of dumbasses. The interactive buildings in FFSW are clearly labeled with big signs (Tiger's Gym, Augie's Restaurant, Vito's Restaurant, the Karaoke Bar, electronics stores, pawn shops, liquor stores), or distinguishable by architecture (the Porn Theater, Church, Japantown Dojo, Metro Diner, subway stations). The signs really aren't hard to see during daylight, and are even illuminated in neon at night. How big and bright do the signs need to be for casual gamer critics to see them? The review also says, "the fight effects are pretty generic, too," when it is actually quite the opposite.


The effects in FFSW are awesome; dramatic slow-motion effects and flashy hit sparks compliment counter moves, trash spills out of garbage cans when enemies are knocked into them, powerful hits and weapons leave splatter blood on the pavement, baseball bats break into jagged pieces, gunshots glow as they streak through the air, and with violent explosions grenades vaporize enemies into pools of blood. Not only that, but enemies expire in a variety of different ways depending on what techniques you use to beat them; some stagger and fall to the ground slowly, while others fly through the air, flip, or roll on the ground. Characters also take damage; both Kyle and the opposition get black, blue, bruised, and bloody during fights. Andore looks particularly horrible when he get his ass kicked. One of the coolest, though, is when Kyle performs a Strong Attack Instinct Counter; the screen stops when he parries the oncoming attack, and then it speeds up as he strikes with a well-placed side-kick that sends the opposition across the screen at mach-speed. It looks truly awesome in all its destructive glory, but of course you won't hear anything about it in reviews.

Further, the article says that the game "attempts to deliver nonlinear action in a free-roaming environment," that "you'll always have a primary destination that will move the story along," that "you'll also run into citizens in need of help who'll give you the occasional side mission," and that "the side missions all seem to be fairly dumb, especially the ones that don't involve fighting." Similar to Final Fight 3, the "occasional side-missions" are just alternate paths to change it up each time you play through the game, and the player can choose to skip them. These alternate paths through the game really aren't bad at all; they do have relevance to the game's story, and range from tracking down (and beating) thieves and purse-snatchers to saving innocent people cornered by thugs. There's even one where you're up against gun-toting thugs wreaking havoc in a restaurant! What's so "dumb" about that? These alternate paths are cool because they not only give you different ways to play through the game, but show you exactly why you are walking the streets and beating the hell out of these guys in the first place. In other words, the game is different each time you play through it, making for infinite "replay value" (for lack of a better term).

The review further addresses gameplay with, "you go from one spot to the next, beating people up and triggering cutscenes," and then spouts out, "if the action were interesting, you'd probably be able to look past the busted story." Right. You "go from one spot to the next, beating people up and triggering cutscenes." What the fuck is so hard to understand about that? It's a side-scrolling fighting game; that is the way they're supposed to play (dumbass). In another part of the review the game is criticized for having side-missions "that don't involve fighting," but then it's criticized for being uninteresting? In FFSW, Capcom diversified the gameplay by adding cool interactive action sequences that include arm wrestling, repeatedly slamming a thug's head with a door, and even manning a turret gun! In the latter you rip through and mow down countless enemies with the destructive power of a turret gun, littering the stage with bodies, shrapnel, and debris. Similar to the APC vehicle stage in Alien VS Predator, this part of the game is chaos, and an absolute blast! So even though Capcom changed it up diversified the side-scrolling gameplay of FFSW, it still gets criticized in shitty reviews like this? What the fuck? Also, FFSW doesn't allow the player to continue in 2-player co-op; why didn't they give this aspect of the game any recognition, when it's precisely what Ziff-Davis media reviewers have held against other Capcom games in the past? These fuckers can't even stay true to what they rate games on. Could Capcom have won either way? With these assholes, probably not.

The most misleading part of GameSpot's whole review is probably when they try to get in-depth about the gameplay, stating that "the fighting system is awfully basic," that "opponents will go down if you simply get in their face and slam on the weak attack button over and over again," and that even though they attack "in quantities," they "don't all attack at the same time." Anybody who has actually played the game knows that this is completely inaccurate. The fighting system is not at all basic, and "simply" getting "in their face" and hitting Light Attack "over and over again" will not get you to the end of the game without dying. The review says that "in some spots you'll go up against around eight or 10 guys at once," which is exactly why their "pound one button until everyone around you is dead tactic" doesn't work; enemies come in swarms with knives, baseball bats, and guns, often hitting Kyle out of the aforementioned Light Attack combo because it lasts too long. Enemies do not watch on the sidelines; they will hit you in the back (or side) when you are fighting other enemies, and they even hit you on the ground after being knocked down (sometimes even with baseball bats). This game will kick your ass all the way home and back. True, "your attacks can (and will) hit multiple enemies in many cases," but enemies attack from all angles (since the game runs on a 3-D engine), making difficult to do it consistently. Not to say that hitting multiple enemies is random or near-impossible, but it's noticeably harder to land in FFSW than in previous entries; it's situational, and takes a lot more planning and positioning. A good example is Guy, whose combo-ending, destructive roundhouse kick has about the same reach as it did in previous games, but only hits surrounding groups of enemies within a 180° radius. Attack changes were made in the series' transition from 2-D to 3-D, but the list is too long to explain in this article alone, and may be covered in future coverage.

The review goes on and tries to go in detail about the gameplay, but ultimately falls flat, saying that "as you play, you learn new moves and are given the opportunity to purchase more combos," but that they "are rarely useful." This is yet another thing that GameSpot's review is completely wrong about, since an efficient stun combo (the High-Kick Finisher) that allows for linking, as well as Kyle's best counters (the screen-clearing Hurricane Kick and crippling Nose-Breaker Counter Time moves) are attained through this method. Saying that the purchased combos are "rarely useful" is just plain ignorant; purchased combos help Kyle survive the onslaught of more powerful enemies toward the end of the game, and are especially useful in boss fights. It's an uphill battle going after tough bosses like Andore, The Skin, or Blades without the efficiency of purchased, mid-hitting combos and powerful counters. Not only that, but high pit-fight rankings might not even be possible without utilizing purchased techniques like the Crack-Kick combo or Hurricane Kick Counter Time move. Moreover, this review calls "the fighting system" in FFSW "awfully basic," failing to even mention the depth of the counter system. The counter system in FFSW is divided into two types (Counter Attack and Counter Time), both of which require critical, split-second timing to perform. The counters take a lot of practice to learn, mastering them is rewarding, and with them the player has several different defensive options at their disposal. There are four different counter moves total (a Light Attack and a Strong Attack version for each type), and the depth of the counter system lies in execution; one is performed by blocking an incoming attack upon the exact moment of impact, the other during an incoming attack. It is truly amazing how these bad reviews never mention the depth of the counter system in FFSW; it really seems like critics would have hated this game no matter what. However, amidst all the garbage coverage of FFSW, I have seen recently that there is one magazine that actually knows what's up, and that magazine is Tips & Tricks. Their April 2006 issue features a well-done strategy guide that actually addresses the counter system and the importance of performing them. You can tell that these guys actually played the game.

The review also tries to explain bonus stages, saying that "in a couple of spots, you'll encounter people who won't help you out until you help exterminate the vermin in their shop," that it "means you'll get to run around and stomp on rats and cockroaches to an up-tempo ska beat, and that "it's just stupid." What the fuck?! They're basically just like the car, glass, or flaming barrel-breaking bonus stages in previous games. Sure, some can also call busting a car "stupid," but a great many would agree that it's fun. And contrary to what these assholes say, the bonus stage where you stomp giant cockroaches and rats (!) is awesome, and funny as hell! I'm militant about animal rights, but even I have to say that this bonus stage is hilarious; the rats have glowing eyes, and are so inflated that they run like dogs! Seeing them run frantically about the screen from a rampaging Kyle still has me rolling on the floor every time I see it. So the game has a funny bonus stage with funny background music; what the fuck is so bad about that? Why is it that lame-ass jokes and dry shit in other games are so ha-ha fucking funny, but a joke in FFSW is "just stupid?" These kinds of complaints usually come from assholes who think that fairy pansy shit like "Chocobo raising" in Final Fantasy is cool. Give me a fucking break. Moving on, the other new bonus stages include destroying trash cans (similar to the second bonus stage in FF2) and SUVs (my personal favorite), in addition to more unorthodox bonus stages like shooting galleries, darts, and matching cards.

And how is the story busted? Does these assholes even know the whole story? Moreover, have any of the reviewers criticizing this game even played past the first stage, or even through the game? The one thing that these shit reviews have in common is that there have been no references to the later parts of the game or story. There's more to the story than just Kyle saving his brother Cody; by the end of the game I was shocked at the unpredictable turns the story had taken. When reading the shitty reviews for FFSW, you can tell that these idiots haven't gotten very far into the game because none of them go into detail about the story. To go with it, these little drama queen critics all copy each other and exaggerate about the dialogue in FFSW; this review says that, "the dialogue and speech are almost universally awful," and that it's "just packed full of lame, gratuitous cursing." Funny, because the dialogue in FFSW is some of the best voice-acting in a Capcom game, ever; sure, there is some swearing, but it's not out of context and there are plenty of parts where there is no swearing. Plainly put, the swearing in FFSW is not out of place, and the dialogue sounds natural as a whole (probably because the game was developed at Capcom USA), ranging from serious to sarcastic and humorous. All this complaining about the game being "packed full of lame, gratuitous cursing" is petty and exaggerated; bystanders on the street also say things like, "I have a hot sister, if you want me to introduce you to her," and "props for your last fight, Travers!" Last time I checked, people really did say stuff like this in real-life, so what's the problem? The voce-acting in FFSW really is good. You want to talk about "lame?" Just look at the bullshit reviews hardcore-wannabe assholes like these idiots are writing on the game...

Capcom did a good job making a new, 3-D side-scrolling Final Fight game, but their efforts are being drowned-out by the lisps of idiot magazine reviewers and false elitists (who hated the game before it was even released). More people would see that FFSW is a great game if they would just try it. And for those who refuse to get the game because some "professional review crew" motherfucker said so, they don't deserve a good game, anyway. Why? Because if they can't think for themselves, they don't deserve to have or play a great game. Don't let some pathetic jerk who knows nothing about the game make the decision on your purchase. I'll say it again, as I have said so many times before: only you know what you like.

[ Extra ] = Features
[ 1 ] = Official Final Fight: Streetwise Site
[ 2 ] = GameSpot Review
[ 3 ] = Tips & Tricks