Final Fight: Streetwise PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

We sometimes wonder if it’s fashionable to attack a game that contains immature profanity. It’s certainly correct to think that such unnecessary language isn‘t a requirement, although if it attracts the buyers then who can blame the publishers. To return to our original point, Final Fight: Streetwise has been slated excessively, and we feel that it has been an undeserved mauling.

We believe in freedom of speech and all that and value the opinions of others, although we are still left wondering whether many of the games critics are blind to a decent enough game underneath all of those offending words. The many changes may upset many of the series’ nostalgic fan base, although it does share the same principles of fighting your way through waves of identikit enemies – something that the 2D incarnations did so well.

Capcom felt the need, or perhaps the pressure to reinvent Final Fight as a “mature” game. This unfortunately means that the graphics are a lot blander and grittier then any of the 2D games and lack the cartoon charm of yesterday. It is a sad state of affairs when publishers have to go to this length to sell games, but we still won’t be marking Streetwise down because of it.

Make no mistake about it this is still Final Fight; it’s just a little different than you might remember. The fighting is basic and brutal, although not as shallow as the simple mechanics found in its predecessors. You can mix light and strong attacks to build effective combos, make yourself stronger with the instinct attacks and also use an assortment of weaponry (guns, baseball bats etc). New moves can also be purchased from the Metro city gyms with cash earned from side missions or scrounged off the ground, although it has to be said that wildly bashing the buttons never seems to fail.

There’s more to the game then using your bare knuckles to do some bruising, as Metro city allows you to roam four urban areas, enabling you to hunt down side missions (smashing cars up, playing darts, beating people up etc) and cash. Yes it’s another one of those games with an open city to explore, which is most probably an attempt to drag the series and its genre into the 21st century, much like Beatdown then (which we liked a lot).

The plot gets sillier and sillier as the game wears on, although it does acknowledge much of the series‘ past. The pit fighting character you control in the story mode is none other than Kyle Travers, brother of Cody from the original game. When Cody is kidnapped it’s your job to break some bones, get to the bottom of your brothers disappearance, and seek answers about a radioactive drug at the same time. Cody makes several appearances, as do Hagger and Guy, who’ll even teach Kyle some of their trademark moves. The original Final Fight is even included as a bonus, although the emulation isn’t up to the standards of the version included on Capcom Classics Collection, so if you crave the original you know where to go.

If all you wanted was a 3D version of Final Fight then the arcade mode delivers all you’d expect. You’ll have to play the story mode to unlock all the arcade stages and characters (besides Kyle, Cody, Hagger and Guy are also eventually playable) , which is a task worth undertaking if you want to play it the way it was always meant to be played. There’s none of the silly puzzles, side missions or instinct attacks of the story mode to be found here, and another player can even join in the action for what is a throwback to the classic trilogy.

Final Fight: Streetwise may not capture the spirit of its predecessors, and suffers from problems such as a camera that is a little too close to the action, and the arguable fact that the genre just doesn’t work the same when it’s not limited to a 2D plane. With all the latter said, we still think that Streetwise is brutal, brainless bruising fun that is well worth a play if you aren’t seeking a massively deep experience.

We sometimes wonder if it’s fashionable to attack a game that contains immature profanity. It’s certainly correct to think that such unnecessary language isn‘t a requirement, although if it attracts the buyers then who can blame the publishers. To return to our original point, Final Fight: Streetwise has been slated excessively, and we feel that it has been an undeserved mauling.

We believe in freedom of speech and all that and value the opinions of others, although we are still left wondering whether many of the games critics are blind to a decent enough game underneath all of those offending words. The many changes may upset many of the series’ nostalgic fan base, although it does share the same principles of fighting your way through waves of identikit enemies – something that the 2D incarnations did so well.

Capcom felt the need, or perhaps the pressure to reinvent Final Fight as a “mature” game. This unfortunately means that the graphics are a lot blander and grittier then any of the 2D games and lack the cartoon charm of yesterday. It is a sad state of affairs when publishers have to go to this length to sell games, but we still won’t be marking Streetwise down because of it.

Make no mistake about it this is still Final Fight; it’s just a little different than you might remember. The fighting is basic and brutal, although not as shallow as the simple mechanics found in its predecessors. You can mix light and strong attacks to build effective combos, make yourself stronger with the instinct attacks and also use an assortment of weaponry (guns, baseball bats etc). New moves can also be purchased from the Metro city gyms with cash earned from side missions or scrounged off the ground, although it has to be said that wildly bashing the buttons never seems to fail.

There’s more to the game then using your bare knuckles to do some bruising, as Metro city allows you to roam four urban areas, enabling you to hunt down side missions (smashing cars up, playing darts, beating people up etc) and cash. Yes it’s another one of those games with an open city to explore, which is most probably an attempt to drag the series and its genre into the 21st century, much like Beatdown then (which we liked a lot).

The plot gets sillier and sillier as the game wears on, although it does acknowledge much of the series‘ past. The pit fighting character you control in the story mode is none other than Kyle Travers, brother of Cody from the original game. When Cody is kidnapped it’s your job to break some bones, get to the bottom of your brothers disappearance, and seek answers about a radioactive drug at the same time. Cody makes several appearances, as do Hagger and Guy, who’ll even teach Kyle some of their trademark moves. The original Final Fight is even included as a bonus, although the emulation isn’t up to the standards of the version included on Capcom Classics Collection, so if you crave the original you know where to go.

If all you wanted was a 3D version of Final Fight then the arcade mode delivers all you’d expect. You’ll have to play the story mode to unlock all the arcade stages and characters (besides Kyle, Cody, Hagger and Guy are also eventually playable) , which is a task worth undertaking if you want to play it the way it was always meant to be played. There’s none of the silly puzzles, side missions or instinct attacks of the story mode to be found here, and another player can even join in the action for what is a throwback to the classic trilogy.

Final Fight: Streetwise may not capture the spirit of its predecessors, and suffers from problems such as a camera that is a little too close to the action, and the arguable fact that the genre just doesn’t work the same when it’s not limited to a 2D plane. With all the latter said, we still think that Streetwise is brutal, brainless bruising fun that is well worth a play if you aren’t seeking a massively deep experience.

7/10

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