My review in brief: zero out of ten.
As a demonstration of the game, this is the biggest failure in the entire XBox 360 marketplace. A caveat, first: I am a long-time fan of Street Fighter II. Many quarters were spent on it in convenience stores and many, many more quarters — and I had to save for a long time — were saved to purchase Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES. It cost a little over $100 after taxes (you think games are expensive now?) but it was a great purchase, used well into the night during many a sleepover at friends’ houses. I even own the SF2 collection (on PS2,) its strategy guide, and the previous XBox Live game despite the shitty (for 2D fighters) XBox controller and the game’s atrocious online multiplayer. I like Street Fighter 2.
I like what Capcom is doing with HD Remix. I appreciate letting the community produce the soundtrack and letting them release it for free. I like a lot of Sirlin‘s design philosophies with the game. I like his approach to balancing the game with high-level tournament players in mind (he is one) but also making the game easier and more accessible for casual players (like me.) But a demo that’s local multiplayer only?
At first I thought the game was glitching out somehow. Maybe I was logged in with the wrong profile. Maybe I was missing something completely obvious. No. After I realized that this really was intentional I had to dig up my second controller, plug it in, sign in with my sister’s account, and select a fighter on both of my controllers to even see the game.
What is a demo for a one-on-one fighting game that has no online multiplayer and no single player mode supposed to demonstrate? I don’t have friends to play Street Fighter II with anymore; this isn’t 1993. I need to be able to play against the computer or people online. I understand that it’s a demo and that it’s supposed to be limited, but all I ask for is to be able to battle against an opponent to get a sense for how the game plays. It doesn’t matter if there’s only one level and only one character and even only one round as long as the opponent fights back. Fighting a lifeless dummy is a poor showcase for the much-hyped about improvements to the mechanics and balance of the game.
I tried so hard to play as both Ken and Ryu — I was Ken, my feet were Ryu — but my toes aren’t agile enough to pull off a shoryuken no matter how much easier the controls are. If this was a game I wasn’t familiar with, this demo would never have converted to a sale. But it’s Street Fighter II.