Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary Review-A Warrior not Ready for the World
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection attempts to be a celebration of the franchise’s legacy, porting all the original games with “arcade perfect” gameplay, online play, and a museum chock full of art from the various games. Unfortunately, poor UI design and netplay make 30th Anniversary a local affair.
30th Anniversary is a compilation of twelve games from Street Fighters early days, starting from the original Street Fighter and ending at 3rd Strike. From the main menu, you choose which mode you want to play (arcade, local, or online) then pick the games from the applicable list, allowing you to jump straight into the action. Unfortunately, the collection is a bit too worried about keeping you in the action, that certain details are lost during local vs. and online play. For example, win quotes are completely removed when fighting against a human player. Instead, you are taken to a rematch screen and upon selecting no transferred back to the character select screen. You cannot select a new stage unless you back out completely from the game. While this does get you back in the action quicker, it also loses a part of the charm of Street Fighter. Seeing your character’s win quote gave a sense of pride, and to have that removed takes away some of the impact of winning.
Gameplay is sound. Each entry maintains its own unique features, from the first Street Fighters overall lack of polish, to Super Turbo’s speed, to the Isms of Alpha 3, it’s all here. Each entry is the base game, so players unfortunately shouldn’t expect to see characters from the Alpha 2 gold or Alpha 3 max make an appearance (though Alpha 3 does list some ways to play as hidden fighters and other modes). While everything seems reminiscent of arcades past, the difficulty has been found to be much higher for Super Turbo than it was originally (now found as a bug, thanks to the community at large). This doesn’t dampen the experience with the overall collection however.
Anniversary Collection supports online multiplayer for Alpha 3, Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting, Super Turbo, and 3rd Strike. Modes include standard ranked, casual, and lobby matches, as well as options that allow you to take on challengers while going through the game’s arcade mode. Unfortunately these options are heavily impacted by the game’s poor UI design and shoddy at best netplay. For one, the game supports no options on who you want to fight, whether it be fighters of higher rank or better connection. You’re paired at random, leading me to get opponents with much worse connection and many more wins under their belt. The way you’re paired is rather dull, with two rectangles at opposite corners of the screen displaying your user names to one another with generic “wooshing” sounds and no music. This takes you out of the experience and kills a lot of the excitement, only to put a little bit back when you go into the character select screen. It’s annoying and I wish it was implemented better. On the PlayStation 4, the netplay is decent. Matches run smoothly, with 2/5 experiencing some sort of stutter or lag, but this isn’t praise. The Switch version is abysmal, with almost every match I played having some sort of lag or stutter issue. This lag lead to many frustrations both with dropped inputs and poor reads on opponents.
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary collection succeeds at compiling arcade games from the fighter’s legacy together in one package but fails on delivering everything that fans wanted. While it is nice being able to play games like Alpha 2 and New Generation (and taking said games on the go with the Switch), the poor netplay hinders the joy to what can only be experienced offline, which is going to be the Arcade mode unless you have friends who enjoy playing classic Street Fighter. If not, you’re enjoyment will be worn thin after a few playthroughs. For now, this is a warrior not ready for the world.