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10 Best Street Fighter Games, Ranked According To Metacritic

The Street Fighter series saw its humble beginnings in 1987. Little did arcade-goers know, Street Fighter would grow to become the face of the fighting game genre and one of the most prominent fixtures in competitive gaming. No one could have predicted that Street Fighter V would see an event that was run in partnership with the Olympics.

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For 35 years, the Street Fighter series helped define a genre, popularize it, influence it, and reinvigorate it across its six, going on seven, core entries and numerous spinoffs and compilations along the way. While that hasn’t stopped the Street Fighter series from having missteps, Street Fighter still maintains a legacy full of fantastic games.

Note: Not all Street Fighter games have a Metacritic score, and the scores listed are from the system with the most reviews.

The Street Fighter III series got off to a less than stellar start. Chief among the complaints was the roster, which initially only carried over Ryu and Ken from previous Street Fighter games. The second version, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, started to rectify this by adding Akuma to the roster, along with new characters Hugo and Urien. 2nd Impact also introduced Super Arts to SFIII.

For SFIII’s home release, Street Fighter III: Double Impact, bundles the original SFIII and 2nd Impact and includes Versus, Arcade, and Training modes. Despite the step forward 2nd/Double Impact made, SFIII was still overshadowed by the Street Fighter Alpha series.

Capcom was committed to making SFIII a beloved entry in the Street Fighter series. That determination culminated in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. 3rd Strike included the returning Chun-Li as well as newcomers Makoto, Q, Remy, and Twelve. 3rd Strike also expanded upon SFIII’s Parry system with the addition of the Guard/Red Parry.

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The popularity of 3rd Strike has continued to grow within the Street Fighter fanbase, as evidenced by the upcoming Street Fighter 6. Much of the DNA of 3rd Strike, and SFIII in general, is prominent throughout SF6. It’s clear that 3rd Strike will forever be a fan-favorite fighting game.

Capcom capped off Street Fighter’s marvelous return to glory with Ultra Street Fighter IV. Similar to 3rd Strike, USFIV expanded on its central mechanic, the Focus Attack, by introducing Red Focus Attacks that can withstand multiple hits. USFIV also allowed players to select both of a character’s Ultra Combo moves in exchange for less damage.

USFIV added five characters to its already hefty roster: Decapre, Elena, Hugo, Poison, and Rolento. The latter four were initially in Street Fighter X Tekken. Those four characters are the subject of USFIV’s biggest criticisms, as many fans believed they weren’t properly balanced, leading to Elena being especially meta-dominant.

SFxT is one of the most controversial video game releases in recent memory. What was supposed to be the long-awaited crossover game between the iconic Street Fighter and Tekken franchises was marred by content that was withheld for DLC despite already being ready-to-go on the disc, the Gem system, and combat that frequently used up the entire round timer.

Players who were willing to set aside those grievances were met by a fun and passionate fighting game that really made this crossover feel special. While a 2013 update greatly improved SFxT’s gameplay, the damage was already done for most Street Fighter and Tekken fans.

When Nintendo revealed their Nintendo 3DS, Capcom was quick to jump in and make games. For the 3DS launch, Capcom released a version of Super Street Fighter IV in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. 3D Edition carries over nearly everything from the console version of SSFIV along with exclusive features that take advantage of the 3DS hardware.

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3D Edition includes touch control combat with “Lite” and “Pro” configurations as well as an over-the-shoulder “Dynamic View” combat mode. 3D Edition is missing four characters in Yun, Yang, Oni, and Evil Ryu as all four of those characters joined the Street Fighter IV roster in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, which was released for consoles to close to 3D Edition’s release.

While the legend of 3rd Strike steadily grew, there was one thing missing from the 3rd Strike experience: online. That all changed with the release of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition.

Beyond online modes such as ranked and tournament, 3rd Strike Online also includes a Trial mode with five trials per character. On top of that, there are trials based around mechanics, like Parrys, as well as a trial that requires players to recreate EVO Moment #37. When 3rd Strike Online’s player base is active, it is easily the definitive version of 3rd Strike.

SFV’s launch was not pretty. While its gameplay mechanics were sound, its limited roster and content infuriated longtime Street Fighter fans. SFV even lacked features that players never imagined could be left out of a release, namely Arcade mode.

The current opinion surrounding Street Fighter V is much more positive, thanks to the numerous updates and additions made. Many players point to the release of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition as a major turning point. Arcade Edition was a free update that overhauled the UI, revamped Survival mode, and added Arcade mode. The retail release of Arcade Edition included the DLC characters for the first two seasons including Guile, Juri, and Akuma.

The further time advances, the probability that a new version of Street Fighter II releases approaches one. SFII is the gift that keeps on giving, and it’s no secret why. SFII was a trailblazer for the fighting game genre and introduced iconic video game characters such as Chun-Li and Zangief.

As its first venture into the HD realm, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix was designed to be the one true definitive version of SFII. HD Remix utilizes an art style based on UDON Entertainment designs and features an overhaul of SFII’s balance, making SFII feel fresher than ever before.

With the immediate success of SFIV, Capcom struck while the iron was hot. Unlike later versions, Super Street Fighter IV was released as a standalone game. Players who purchased SFIV couldn’t buy an upgrade or download a patch, they had to buy a whole new game. That didn’t stop SSFIV from receiving the high praise it did.

RELATED: Street Fighter: 10 Great Characters That Are Still Inexplicably Missing From SFV

SSFIV added characters both old and new to the SFIV roster including SFII’s Dee Jay and T. Hawk, SFA’s Cody and Guy, SFIII’s Dudley and Makoto, and new characters Juri and Hakan. SSFIV introduced a second Ultra Combo that players can select from as well as a Team Battle mode.

After 3rd Strike’s initially lackluster release, the fighting game genre entered the dark ages. Arcades weren’t as popular, and players moved on to shooters and cinematic games. It was a difficult period for fighting games. That changed when Capcom released SFIV in 2008 in arcades, nearly ten years after 3rd Strike first debuted.

SFIV sports a vibrant and colorful art style with goofy-looking 3D character models and ink blotches everywhere. SFIV was both style and substances, which resonated with players, even among those who have never played a fighting game. SFIV is credited for bringing about the fighting game renaissance, which is still going strong to this day.

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