Street Fighter EX3 is the third and
final installment to the EX
series developed by Akira and published by Capcom. EX3 was an attempt at bringing the
Street Fighter franchise "into the next-gen"
as a PS2 launch title. Unfortunately, the game was clearly rushed to meet the
date of the PS2 launch, and lacked many fundamental qualities that one would
expect out of a fighting game sequel.
Street Fighter EX3 has a very similar gameplay system to the prequel, Street
Fighter EX2 Plus. The three-tiered Super Combo gauge and Meteor Combos have
returned. The main difference in the gameplay is that the Guard Break system was taken out and replaced with the "Hard
Attack," which doesn't use super meter but can be blocked by a
standing opponent. Other new additions to the gameplay are the "Critical
Parade" (using a tag-partner to attack the opponent for a brief period of
"Momentary Combo" (chaining special attacks together).
No new characters... and
missing a few old ones. :(
Expectedly, the 3D graphics have notably improved from the
prequels. Previously, the EX series was infamously known for blocky
character models and grainy textures. The jump to PS2 presents smoother and more detailed character models &
textures. However, the overall character rendering is downright bad for the most part. Awkward
skeleton-looking hands and weirdly shaped faces are only a few of the
with the 3D models. The animation of the EX series has also seen better
days... as it really hasn't evolved the way it should have by now.
The background designs EX3 are also uninspiring,
boring, and noticeably inferior to the prequels... (which is quite a
feat in itself). Even though
the backgrounds have more 3D elements this time around, they are indeed some of
the most BORING backgrounds ever to be seen in a fighting game.
Nearly every stage has a lonely "how the hell did I end up here" kind of
vibe. To continue the bad news, there are no "classic" stages or
environments at all..... Booooooo! Oddly enough, many of the BGMs are
re-used from the prequels. To their credit, the classic BGMs actually stand the
test of time and still sound pretty good (they even sound remastered a bit). However, one would expect
some "new" BGMs in a new game. Right?
Gotta love good old Skullo.
Possibly the only noteworthy enhancement to the gameplay are the new
Tag Team & Dramatic Battle modes. In the single-player mode, players will
eventually assemble a team of
up to four characters, which then can be assigned to teams of 2. The 2P tag-team
mode compliments the gameplay rather well; but at the end of the day, the gameplay is practically the
same as EX2 or EX
if you took out the tag team element. Alas, EX3 really does look and feel
from the start. On top of that,
there are NO new characters added for this sequel...
I repeat... ZERO NEW CHARACTERS. WTF INDEED.
To make matters worse, they couldn't even bring back all of the characters from the prequels... where
the heck are Blaire, Allen, Hayate, and *ehem* Akuma...
WTFIA?!?!? (Where The F*ck is Akuma?!?!?). The only
"new" character is a customizable character named Ace, whom players can create a
moveset for, using other characters' moves of course. Unfortunately you can't change
the way Ace looks, so it's kind of a stupid feature. A little customization
would've been nice. Returning characters didn't get much new as far as moves go, but
of the EX series should be glad that characters at least play like they did
in the prequels.
Dramatic Battle hits the
EX series... but just isn't enough to save EX3.
On the bright side, there is the potential for
a die-hard Street Fighter player to actually have some fun with EX3...
if they really try. Like in
the prequels, some pretty flashy combos are possible. The action can also get
pretty insane when 3 or more characters are on screen at once. Since EX3 is
compatible with a PS2 Multitap, 4 human players can actually play at once...
which can be fun for a little while. Any fans of the original EX or EX2
will also find some minor nostalgia value, but there's no denying Arika could've
done a lot more with EX3 if they gave themselves more time.
The EX series was
off to a decent start... built some solid momentum with SFEX2, but
then... SFEX3. Indeed, quite a speed bump. More like a road block.
The series had such potential for its time, and it's a shame the third time wasn't
a charm for SFEX. (In retrospect, it took Capcom that fourth 3D Street
Fighter game to get it right).
I still can't believe EX3 didn't introduce any
new characters... that's just pathetic, especially for a Street Fighter
sequel. Did they think some players just wouldn't notice that there were
no new characters?!?
The tag team gameplay & dramatic battle were halfway decent innovations, but the lack of characters and shoddy graphics don't compliment the
gameplay enhancements or the PS2's potential in any way.
Clearly, EX3 was terribly rushed, just to end up being a disappointing
PS2 launch title. Compared to the PS2's other fighting game at launch, Tekken Tag
Tournament (which was simply groundbreaking), SFEX3
was nothing more than a joke. I bought both SFEX3 and TTT at the
PS2's launch, and let's just say that EX3 disc started collecting
dust as soon as TTT1 was spinning around in my PS2. (Namco = 1, Capcom =
0 to start the PS2 era). SFEX3 is a perfect
example of a title that really should've been delayed
and improved before it was released. ~TFG