Final Fight Streetwise ReviewCain Dornan
The recent craze of gritty, urban fighters has failed to revive the rapidly decaying beat em up genre. While once a glorious and wildly popular genre in the days of 2D games, the jump into the 3D realm has seen the decline in compelling and enjoyable fighters that provided more than pure frustration as you battled with the annoying camera and clunky controls. Attempting to cash in on the recent craze and revive a classic series at the same time, Capcoms Production Studio 8 has delivered us with Final Fight: Streetwise; a repetitive, uninspired and boring affair that attempts to pit gamers into the gritty world of a violent urban ghetto, but fails in doing so in most cases.
You play as Kyle Travers, a skilled up-and-coming street fighter who is gradually building a reputation for himself by participating in pit brawls on the streets. His older brother, Cody, was once a respected and feared fighter on the streets of Metro City, that is, until he spent some time in jail and had some unfortunate accidents that resulted in his knees not being as strong as they once were. Since out of jail, Cody has posed as a trainer of sorts for Kyle, teaching the art of beating brainless goons into utter pulp as a way of earning money and respect on the streets. Soon, however, Cody gets involved with some heavy stuff, resulting in a group of men in business attire kidnapping Cody. Intent on locating his brother and laying the smackdown on those involved, Kyle sets out on his own personal crusade to unravel the mysteries of the city, Cody and the newest glowing-eyed drug to hit the streets.
One of the most noticeable problems that the game suffers from are the clunky and limiting controls, which restrict you to performing a heavy punch or a light jab, as well as a grabbing and throwing maneuver. While additional moves can be purchased from the local gym, these are still limited in when they can be performed, as you will use mana-like material every time that you perform one of the additional moves. There are also a small variety of different weapons, which range from metal knuckles and baseball bats through to pistols and shotguns, which add a certain level of depth to each fight. Unfortunately, after you have involved yourself in some five or ten encounters, youll find that each battle is remarkably similar, resulting in an experience that doesnt offer much throughout the entire experience.
The game is set within an urban environment that enables you to roam through the streets of a rather confined area. It is no where near as large as Grand Theft Auto or True Crime, nor is it as truly free-roaming as either titles. It does, however, allow you to converse with the public on a limited basis, allowing for the retrieval of additional side missions that have you doing anything from stomping on cockroaches through to smashing up a large, bling-bling truck or locating a young boy who has become associated with some evil-doing gangsters. These can be performed at any time during the game, with the main mission available to take a backseat while you roam around performing some of these simple optional objectives. There arent many of them, and there is little variation between them, as youll often find different people asking you to perform the exact same action at different points in the game.
Outside of the been there, done that single player story mode, Final Fight: Streetwise offers a handful of unlockable extras, which are neither hard to unlock or worthwhile. Apart from the port of the original Final Fight game, which is playable in its classic 2D button-mashing glory, you can also unlock music videos of some of the bands who have music featured in the game. Theres also the Arcade Mode, which is essentially a more traditional-styled side-scrolling fighter presented in the same ordinary graphics that the rest of Streetwise offers.
Speaking of graphics, there isnt exactly anything impressive about Streetwises visuals at all. The outside environments in particular are washed-out with boring greys and browns, which do succeed in creating a gritty ghetto world to a certain extent but fail in offering a varied or interesting world to explore. Unfortunately, the environments offer very limited detail, with the buildings consisting of blurry textures that are often difficult to distinguish between actual shop signs from the rest of the building. The interior locales offer some slightly more detail, although, again the textures are far too blurry. The character models are also basic whilst in-game, with those found during the cutscenes offering only slightly improved detail. The in-game music is, on the most part, terrible, providing a collection of music that subtracts from the experience due to its level of annoyance that it can impose.
Of all the recent urban beat em ups to hit the scene recently, Final Fight: Streetwise certainly isnt the worst of them, but it is also far from the best. The likes of Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance proves that a more terrible game can be produced, although, for the most part, both games are uninspired wreaks that most gamers will bore of quickly. Still, if you hold an interest in Capcoms latest offering in the Final Fight series, be sure to give it a rent before making a purchase.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.