| paleface [sys=PS3; cat=Fighting; loc=NA] |
|A 720p version of the PS2 version (see entry 1374) of the Dreamcast version (see entry 1357) of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, with online play added. The online play runs via the now defunct as a business but still popular among aficionados GGPO 3rd party rollback netcode which, as far as I've read, is regarded as superior to that of the PS4 version in Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (see entry 1368), and it has about 1 frame less input lag (2.5 frames vs ~3.5 frames; the PS4 version has about 4 frames of input lag, and the DC version has 5-6 frames of input lag), making this, in the eyes of some, still the best console version of the game to date.|
It does omit some things the DC and PS2 versions had, rather mystifyingly; VERSUS mode is gone, so you can't do one-off VS CPU battles, and the Extra Options menu is gone, so you can't tweak the UI elements (turning off part or all of the HUD, for instance), or do things like change the overall HP scaling, or turn off Arcade Mode's bonus games (PS2 only for that one).
It's also got some surprisingly obvious bugs: just trying to set things up, I found that many of the "Music Pack 2" stage tracks do not preview correctly--it just plays the default menu music instead, and after a while of sitting in training mode or music preview mode or somewhere, the game's sound just died entirely, and wouldn't come back until I quit and restarted.
The Music Pack thing is part of the DLC available: 2 music packs, letting you swap in music from the previous two SFIII games, 2 character color packs, letting you swap in different sets of the 7 colors available to each character, eh and some other junk like unlocking the "Dipswitches" menu (called "System Direction" in the DC/PS2 versions) without needing to beat the game first, and match replays from some tournament or other.
You can also unlock remixes of the 3rd Strike music tracks, and art and stuff, by points earned by completing various "challenges" in the game; this whole "Vault Points" system is incredibly extensive, and includes separate challenge modes, combo completion modes, and somewhat arbitrary "play this way" challenges that come up during normal play (you can turn these off). It's all a bit much, but at least it let me swap out Chun-Li's stage music for a remixed version that's a little less hackneyed-sounding.
Switching the music tracks and character colors is more of a pain than it should be. If you have the music packs, for instance, you can't just swap them all in, but rather have to do it on a stage-by-stage setting basis, through an interface that doesn't make anything very clear. With character colors, you can't access all Color Packs at once when choosing a character--you have to back out, go down into the DLC options screens, and set color pack settings on a per-character basis--and these don't affect the AI characters.
(On the slight plus side, at least once you're in the DLC options screens, you can see preview thumbnails of the character colors per pack, so you don't have to go laboriously preview them in Training mode if you're like me and don't have the character colors memorized. : P)
Online Edition also replaces the game's original low-ish-resolution UI graphics with high resolution versions; the high-res character art on the character select screen and in the panning graphics between matches looks quite nice; I'm less fond of the high-res versions of the health and power meters, those look a little weird next to the arcade CPS III-resolution characters and backgrounds.
So, some perplexing decisions with game options and interface, but at least--for my eyeballs--I can still do most of my flash FX reduction by turning off supers, EX moves, and parries (I can't turn off the display of the super meters themselves in this version, blah--so they just sit there uselessly onscreen, filling up and flashing; and I can't scale character HP so fights last longer, thus reducing the frequency of the screen flashes you hit between matches), so I can play a reasonably low-flash version of Arcade Mode, and with less input lag than any other version of the game.
(I had been favoring the DC version for its 240p graphics and VERSUS (CPU) mode, but CPU difficulty scaling in this game is pretty funky, and I think at least half baked into the characters according to the order they come up in arcade mode: for instance, in the DC version's VERSUS (CPU) mode, Ryu and Akuma, who you only face later in arcade mode, are tougher than Sean and Necro, who you only face earlier, regardless of what difficulty level you have the overall game set to when you play one-on-one fights against CPU-controlled characters in the VS CPU mode. I wonder if that's why Iron Galaxy, who made this PS3 port, took that mode out.)
|Another feature added for this version is random character select--press Start on the character selection screen. It's a nice basic feature that should have been in from the start (no pun intended!), by which I mean the Dreamcast version.|
On the other hand, the DC and PS2 versions instead used the Start button to toggle to what is here the first DLC Color Pack (colors from SFIII: 2nd Impact). No paying for colors, or having to back out and drill down to some deep menu layer to select your set of colors! : P
|And another feature: positional stereo sound. I haven't heard this in any other version of 3rd Strike, but in Online Edition, if your character is closer to the left side of the screen, the sounds they make will come mostly from the left speaker, and if your character is closer to the right side of the screen, their sounds will come mostly from the right speaker.|
This is actually a bit annoying and distracting; it means the volume level per speaker is constantly changing; if you're using headphones, a volume level that sounds fine when a character is in the center of the screen will be painfully loud in one ear when they move to the side of the screen; if you turn the volume down, then it's too quiet when they're in the center.
It doesn't make any sense, either: if you were a spectator, watching these fights, from a position approximating that seen on screen, you'd be far enough away that the sound would be reaching both ears almost equally, no matter where the fighters were standing.
I don't know of any fighting game players who would have been asking for this feature. Maybe Iron Galaxy's sound engineer just got bored.
|Drawback of the random character select: after wasting some seconds teasingly cycling through random characters, it lands on its choice--and selects it. And only picks the first character color.|
Silly and unnecessarily limiting way to do it. Why didn't they just have it highlight the character, instead of actually selecting them? That way you could re-roll if it happened to be a character you didn't feel like playing just then. And also that way, you'd be able to pick the color of your choice. And why waste time with cycling though characters its not going to pick first? Just another example of silly UI choices in this conversion.
|Hah! Okay, the "Music Pack 2" tracks *do* preview correctly; what was tripping me up was that if you start the preview play of Pack 1, which is on the same preview screen for each stage, by pressing X, then toggle down to Pack 2, and press X on that one, X is still acting like the toggle-off action for Pack 1, so it toggles preview play off and returns to playing the menu music, whereas I assumed it was triggering preview play for Pack 2, since that's what I had highlighted.|
That's me being confused, I guess, but it could have been set up less confusingly! Speaking of which, when flipping through the Dip Switches list, the game doesn't show you which ones have been modified from the default settings--which is kind of important to know. The DC and PS2 versions did this simply and intuitively by changing the color of the setting when it was modified from default--that doesn't seem to have impressed the team that ported it here to high resolution, though! : P