First rule of Street Fighter: It's the same damn game.
Itching to start a fight? Well then, go outside and beat someone senseless. Sure, you're likely to hurt yourself and will probably get thrown in jail. But how much do you really know about yourself unless you get into a fight? [Didn't they just make a movie about that? - Ed (Norton)]. For all you wussie babies, go play Street Fighter.
Ah, Street Fighter - the first institution of arcade fighting, bearer of an aging legacy. All told, there have been more Street Fighter games than Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies combined. And like those repetitive horror, um, 'classics', the Street Fighter games just don't know when to quit..
The latest iteration comes in the form of Street Fighter EX 2 Plus, the sequel to Street Fighter EX Plus, a 3D-ification of Street Fighter II. Still, EX 2 Plus (why the hell isn't it EX Plus 2? Stupid Capcom naming system...) is still nothing more than original Street Fighter with 3D graphics. This would be fine...about a decade ago.
Remember those storylines? They always revolve around M. Bison, that mean old baddie his plans for world domination. He just goes around killing people left and right. First Chun Li's dad, then Charlie. Well, the storyline is gone. Kaput. Capcom probably figured everyone already knew it, so no point in putting it in there.
So, what have they changed with the fighting system? They've added these 'insta-combos' that are out of place. They're too easy to start and don't seem as balanced. Several moves have been remapped, and now there are these silly "excel" attacks. With the right combination of buttons, your character becomes faster. On paper is sounds fine, but it doesn't work as well as the fighting styles from SF Alpha 3.
Also included is the now mandatory Practice option, as well as a Bonus option where you just kick barrels. In an attempt to add something different, there's a Director mode. You fight for 20 seconds, and then record it to 5 spaces of memory card. Then you can take that recorded footage and edit it around making your own mini fight movie. Nice try, but who's gonna want to make a fight movie with clunky characters and average animation?
The Playstation has the power to have great-looking, well-modeled animated characters. Just look at Tekken 3 or Soul Blade. But in EX 2 Plus, the characters are blocky and noticeably jointed. Why do these street fighters look so damn chunky? Maybe because this is a 2-year-old arcade game port over.
You'll find all your standard Street Fighter regulars, from Ryu to Zangief. The new characters are nothing but cookie cutter archetypes. The crazy dude. The schoolgirl. The guy with the good hair. (Talking about me again, Johnny? - Ed.) Sheesh.
The backgrounds are above average, with animated objects and pseudo-particle effects. But it's an artificial 3D. While the camera rotates here and there around the combatants and the grainy looking floor, you're still confined to just one plane of fighting. It's a 2D game with 3D characters.
The music just feels contrived and rushed, as if the heart and soul of Street Fighter has been completely bled out, leaving just hollowed rhythms to fight against. The instrumentation doesn't sound natural and the music and sound, all in all, don't add anything to an already ho-hum fighting experience.
This might have been great 3 years ago, but nowadays Street Fighter Ex 2 Plus shouldn't even be in the ring. The 2D series is already incredibly dated. Instead of a new game, we get the same old thing in a different package. Don't be tricked into thinking that you're getting something innovative and special.
Those completely new to Street Fighter (come on out from under that rock) shouldn't start here. Purists will want to stick to the sprite-based originals; despite its age, I would still rather play Alpha 3 over EX 2 Plus. Second rule of Street Fighter: It's still the same damn game.