Replay Value: 9.3
When Street Fighter first went 3D with Street Fighter EX, critics said that the 3D elements was a disgrace to the saga. The people who claimed that the title was poor, most likely never played it. SF EX was a great new approach toward the Street Fighter series and Capcom definitely branched off the franchise towards the right way. Although Capcom didn't abandon 2D fighting, they went on with Street Fighter Alpha 3, and the "Versus" series that they recently established. So the 2D genre was never intentionally dropped from Capcom's books, they just wanted to give players more options. Later on Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha was released on PSX. The game featured many more modes and options, new characters and a few extra features that made it stand out on its own. Though the developer was not Capcom, it was a Japanese developer Arika who made the the 3D EX series what it is today. So now that we have EX 2 Plus in our grubby hands see how this one did in our tests.
On the arcades, Street Fighter EX 2 looks great, but with the PS aging and arcade technology enhancing so rapidly, I was a bit skeptical about the result with EX2's graphics. But all of my skepticism didn't get me anywhere, the great wizards at Arika somehow managed to make the Playstation play Street Fighter EX 2 nearly flawlessly. All of the animation was there, the game never skipped a frame on me, and the specials still look as lush and beautiful as ever. When I take a look at SNK's cheap and blurry Fatal Fury: Wild Ambitions and compare it to Capcom's Street Fighter EX 2 Plus, I see garbage and then I see one of the most polished looking fighting games to date, and obviously I am talking about EX2. The game may have 2D backgrounds as seen in Tekken 3, but a few of them have moving objects in them, such as a tiger, sand, airplane propellers and more. The detail is sheer brilliance, Capcom and Arika are by far one of the best videogame duos out there right now. If you don't believe me that the visuals are so inspiring then take a look at the 20+ screens we took off the game in action and don't forget to note the special effects that produced during an Excel and Super combo. The overall show is deeply strong, and there is no doubt about it, the game takes the Arcade version and emulates it right to your PSX.
Going into the 3rd dimension was a huge step for the SF series and it was also a great one. The saga had always been thought of as a chain that will always stay in 2D. But when Capcom and Arika joined forces they unleashed one of the most enhanced and entertaining Street Fighters ever. EX Plus Alpha was considered to be the revolutionary in the Street Fighter series and set the standards for other 3D fighters. Now EX 2 Plus has come along and it still continues the legacy that EX Plus Alpha brought to us. EX 2 features a wider array of characters to choose from, and like any other fighter the game secret characters that are worth unlocking.
Like the first EX, EX2 also has a training mode where the game gives you a certain secret character for the amount of moves you have completed in the Training Trial Mode. You are also given 26 characters to choose from altogether and each fighter has his/her arena. What enlightens me is that Blanka has made his return to the SF series, he was absent in the Alpha titles (until recently he came back in Alpha 3) and the "VS" titles. But what disappoints me is that Sakura has been taken out, she was a blast to play with because of her blazing moves and speed, another absentee is Akuma. I haven't seen Akuma anywhere in the game, but there is a black hidden box at bottom of the select character screen so that could be either him or Sakura. I wish that the game also sported Evil Ryu and a few Street Fighter: 3rd Impact fighters but hey I'm still very happy with the outcome of the game. Like any SF game the two-player mode is always a blast to play, the team battle especially. And if you remember the older days of Street Fighter, then you might remember the bonus stages, like Brick Breaking, Car Bashing and Barrel Kicking (which by the way is in included in EX2). A very positive showing in the gameplay department let's see how the sound does.
Like most Street Fighter games the tunes are always great sounding with great rhythms and exceptional beats. Sound is most likely Q-Sound, which is technology that Capcom uses for their Street Fighter related games both on arcade boards and consoles. EX2 also features some voicing, but that is only when a character is selected. And as for the sound effects, they are packed with quality, every bone crack, punch or kick is felt nicely. Capcom has definitely out done themselves in EX2.
The control is just your average Street Fighter control, you've got your Hadokens, Shoryukens, and Sonic Booms. The Super Combo system works similar to one found in The Alpha series, which is doing the same motion twice and pressing the correct button. The Dual Shock effect is not there for some reason. It could be because the game is an import or because Capcom/Arika forgot to put it in. I would have given the control at least a 9.2 but with the game lacking Dual Shock support for some strange reason, I had to lower it the score a little.
Street Fighter EX2 Plus still hasn't been announced here in the US, but the game will come here very soon. This is one game not to be missed by anybody, Street Fighter fan or not, you will be pleased to see the games gorgeous visual detail and great gameplay. With the Capcom and Arika name on the cover why should you even hesitate purchasing the game when it ships here in the US. Final Words: Get SF EX2 no matter what, the game just kicks ass.