Street Fighter III: Third Strike – Online Edition Review
For fans that fondly remember the original Third Strike as well as fans who may have gotten into the series with its most recent iterations.
Capcom has often stated that Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition is a love letter to fans of the series. I completely agree with this statement. Not only is this version a faithful recreation of a hidden treasure, but it also caters to both Third Strike veterans as well as fans that may have gotten into the series with its later incarnations. Jam packed with features that most full priced retail games don't have, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition is a fantastic value, that also happens to be a fantastic game.
The original Street Fighter III introduced a brand new cast of characters, which threw a lot of fans off. With a few exceptions like Ryu and Ken, the cast was meant to be a brand new take on the series with a new main character, Alex, as well as other odd ball characters like Oro and Urien. The cast at first takes a bit of getting used to, but after you play for a while, you realize they do strangely fit in with the vast selection of characters that have been in the series.
Third Strike Online Edition is filled with content. The game has your standard Arcade, Versus, and Training modes but taking cues from recent entries in the fighting game genre, it also includes trials for both combos and parries, unlockable art and music, replay modes, screen filters, and of course various online modes. Pretty much anything a player could want in a fighting game is covered.
At the time of its original release, Third Strike was thought to be the apex of the fighting genre and the ultimate fighting game. Though the game never reached mass popularity due to a glut of fighting games at the time with declining popularity, the gameplay has always been looked upon as strategic, tight, and fast-paced. Fans who played the original Third Strike will be right at home. The game is said to be an “Arcade Perfect” port, meaning that every nuance that existed in the original arcade version of the game is translated over to Third Strike Online Edition faithfully. For those not familiar with the terminology, that's a good thing, meaning we get the most responsive and accurate version of the game.
Compared to the newer Street Fighter IV games, this is a bit faster paced, with stricter combos that require more precise timing. Combos must be done very quickly and accurately, which will definitely be off-putting for newcomers. As a matter of fact, those that got into the series with IV might have a hard time with it. That said, with a little practice, players will eventually become accustomed, hitting combos and parries just fine. The brand new trial modes provide enough to get people started, yet at the same time can be very difficult, so there is a lot of incentive to go back once players understand the game’s core mechanics.
Of course with the Online Edition subtitle, you’re probably asking, “So how is the online?” Well for starters, this game features the fan requested GGPO netcode, which limits online lag and aims to provide the best online fighting experience thus far. From my experience with it, it definitely is. The online matches that I played felt as though it was local gameplay, and I didn't notice any hiccups in the gameplay. A bad (meaning red level) connection will lead to a few frame skips, which does hurt gameplay at a competitive level, but moderate to great connections will lead to seamless matches.
The tournament mode is also very welcome, with players having the ability to watch and participate in online events. Players can customize the rule set completely, stating the amount of rounds, time limit and even banned characters. Along with the online is the replay functionality, which is a personal favorite feature of mine. With this, players can not only save and share online matches, but local matches as well. Even if you don't save the match right away, it is still saved in the game’s temporary history where you can look back to see if there were any good matches that may have been skipped over. On top of that, there is a feature that allows direct uploads to YouTube. While the format is at 240p, it's still useful and will help people get their best videos out for critique. It's a fantastic feature that I hope to be included in all future fighting games.
There’s little question, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online is a great package. Capcom stated that they saw this game as a love letter to Street Fighter III fans, and I can see why. Not only is it a perfect recreation of an arcade classic, but it includes all of the features and content that makes a fighting game relevant in this day and age. The only gripe I have with the game is that its learning curve is extremely high, which will be a turn off for some gamers. That said, the game is an excellent value and should not be missed by any fighting fans. As I've stated before, now is a fantastic time to be a fan of fighting games, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition is a prime example of why.