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Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition preview: Fight in the future


Before I get started detailing what Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition is, I should mention what it isn't: an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive. I was under that impression, and so I was a little surprised to notice that, as I spoke with Capcom's Seth Killian, we were totally playing on a PS3. According to Killian, it's definitely coming to PSN, simultaneous with the XBLA release, and always was.

That non-exclusivity is a good thing, because I'd hate for anyone who likes Street Fighter 3 even a little to miss out on all the love poured into this collection. There might be too much love in here.

Gallery: Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition (E3 2011) | 17 Photos

For those of you who love Street Fighter 3, Killian informed me that the new port is based on "Version A" of the arcade code, which he said was the preferred chipset for the fighter among tournament players, despite the existence of later, rebalanced versions. The unblockables left intact in this version "make the characters much more interesting," Killian said, "and more deadly."

It also contains lots of options -- again, bordering on excessive. The visual filters from Marvel vs. Capcom 2 are back -- "smooth" and "crisp" along with the original arcade presentation, visible in widescreen or 4:3, with optional scanlines and an "arcade cabinet" mode that curves the image like it's on a CRT. You can save replays and view them again, upload them directly to YouTube, and even watch other players' replays, including the ones identified by the game as matches between the highest-ranked players.

The side of the screen keeps a running list of in-game "challenges" that you qualify for or fail, pertaining to completing so many matches, or parrying so many times, etc. to earn "Vault Points" and unlock extras. If you've played Final Fight Double Impact, you're likely familiar with these challenges.

Some of the stuff you'll be able to unlock includes a crazy number of DIP switch settings, meant to emulate the customizability of the arcade machine. Want to turn air parrying off, but not ground parrying? Sure. Want to make it possible to cancel one Super Arts combo into another? You can do that. It's a truly absurd level of customization.

Gallery: Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online (DIP Switch options) | 4 Photos

If you're not already the biggest nerd ever about SF3, Third Strike Online is designed to turn you into one. In addition to a variety of single-player challenges that force you to win matches under special conditions (like no health), the update features a full-on parrying tutorial mode, allowing you to learn to parry everything from a single punch all the way to Evo Moment 37. You're even given the option to record sequences of attacks, then step into the role of the other player and attempt to parry them. Seriously.

Capcom plans to have this downloadable fighter online and ready to unleash Evo Moments upon you sometime this year. "Probably this is not the greatest game for the holiday window," Killian said, so expect it before that.

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