Version Reviewed: 1.00.00
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4
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Capcom has released a new version of Street Fighter IV on to the App Store with new characters and a killer new feature: online multiplayer. The core game is the same as the previous Street Fighter IV: the gameplay is identical to the previous iOS version, as are the controls and graphics, so consult our review of the original for details on the game itself, though it remains possibly the best example of how to do a fighting game on a touchscreen. The meat of Volt is the new online multiplayer through Game Center. Online multiplayer offers two modes: Ranked and Friendly. Ranked puts players against a random opponent, with the ability to collect Battle Points with each win in order to improve their ranking. Friendly mode offers the ability to either play against random opponents, or to invite a Game Center friend to fight.
The online multiplayer works well when the connection is good; lag does occasionally flare up, as is the case when dealing with wireless connections, both wi-fi and over 3G. Otherwise, it works the same as local wireless multiplayer, and fighting Game Center friends is quite fun, especially when getting to match up the best characters against each other. I always like seeing how my Blanka stacks up against my friends, and against strangers on the internet.
The biggest problem with Street Fighter IV Volt and its online multiplayer is when push notifications come in. While this problem will be rendered moot once iOS 5 and its banner notifications come in to play, right now it's a major annoyance. See, whenever a notification of any kind pops up, any online match disconnects. Not only is this annoying because it makes finishing any match a challenge for the ages, especially for people who get a lot of social media notifications or for those who play social games that provide notifications. Turning off all notifications entirely when playing this game isn't an option either because Game Center requires that notifications be on in order to send invites. This is also something that could very easily be abused by players looking to use unscrupulous tactics to keep their record glistening. A better option would be if the game just kept going in the background; it would be a disadvantage, but it would be far better than the current solution of disconnecting.
Really, I'm curious as to why this couldn't have just been an update to the already-existing Street Fighter IV. Capcom has done a great job with updating that game with new content; was now really the time to splinter off into a new app? Between the continued concerns of slower gameplay compared to the console versions, and lack of any kind of iPad support (even in a separate app), Volt addresses none of these issues, and the character lineup is still about half that of Super Street Fighter IV, which this game takes content from.
For fighting game fans who haven't played the original Street Fighter IV on iOS, this is the version to get. Fans of the original version who crave online play will want to jump on this quickly, as the price will creep up to $6.99, increasing by $1.00 each day. If online play is not important, then there's not much else new here to justify upgrading.