The Street Fighter series can be arguably one of the better series to come out for the fighting genre. Though they drove the series into the ground when it comes to the same game but with different 'things' added to it (new characters, added super abilities, etc...). The series seemed lost with no hope of returning after Street Fighter III came out.
When word of Street Fighter IV was circling around, I don't think anyone was expecting the game to be what it is now. The trailers and gameplay videos looked wonderful and the pictures just instilled good thoughts in player's minds. Now the day has come for gamers to actual see the gameplay for themselves.
The first thing that just needs to be said is the graphics are really, really nice. The mix of 3D graphics and playing in a 2D type environment works out well with this game. Certain moves will mix the two environments but not in a confusing way. You will always know were your character is at all time (if you are performing the move or not). The backgrounds look stellar and just add to the eye friendly feeling of this game.
The gameplay feels like an other Street Fighter game in the series. To perform moves are similar to previous versions of the game and the movement is also similar. Using a normal gamepad can be done but I have found it to be sometimes difficult at times as well (this opinion is only for the 360 version of the game). If you really want to perform the moves better, a arcade stick would be preferred (or a fighting game pad).
The type of gameplay to pick from is similar to other fighting games. They have a story mode, verses mode, Live mode (online), challenge mode and training mode. Each mode has its unique feel and should be able to keep gamers interested. The story mode goes through the story for street fighter as you get to battle your way through with the characters in the game to complete it. Verses mode is to battle friends/family on the local machine. Live mode lets you battle people online and keeps track of other players to see who is the better fighter for this installment. Challenge mode gives gamers a way to beat challenges that Capcom has set up like a time trail or survival match. Training just helps gamers who wish to practice moves/combos with a character without winning or losing involved.
The sounds were surprisingly good for the game and I really enjoyed the main theme of the game (Exile - The Next Door). Fighting sounds were basic but still accurate with each hit placed. The English voice acting was also not bad for a Japanese based game but you can unlock the Japanese voices for the game as you keep playing. The level music as well is enjoyable to listen to (if you take the time to actually listen) and keeps the game flow exciting.
The game itself is a wonderful standard for 2009 Fighting Game of the Year and anyone in this genre will have to find a way to beat out a legendary series like Street Fighter.