So there's a Street Fighter deck building game. Who knew? Well obviously I did because I owned it, but it just seems so random to have a SFDBG-themed DBG. But when you realise it's by the same people (Cryptozoic) who brought you the DC DBG then you realise it all makes sense...
So...is the game appropriately Street Fighter-y enough? Is it just a cheap use of SF graphics and characters without feeling like the original game? The answer is both yes and no.
Let's face it, it's amazingly hard to make a fighting game into a card game; with BattleCon being the closest in terms of feel that I've ever played, let alone a Deck Building Game. So this was never going to be like Street Fighter at all. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't present its own unique feel to the game, that's somewhat different from the other DBGs that Cryptozoic produces.
Despite being based on the same system; Cerebus by Cryptozoic, the game has a lot of minor differences in terms of how it plays out. But first the similarities.
The game plays much like any other cerebus system. There are +1 power starter cards; Punches, and useless starter cards; Vulnerabilities. You start with 7 punches and 3 vulnerabilities as you do in DCDBG and your hand size is 5 as usual.
Now this is where things start to differ a bit because if it didn't, this would really just be DCDBG with SF characters. You get different heroes to play with and they each have a special character card and a special player card. One you get to mix into your deck when you buy, the larger one stays in front of you all the time. This is where things get a bit more confusing. Your character card starts under your player card. Cards under your player card can only be bought by you, so no one else can buy your character card.
However, your character card lets you do several things. It let's you attack and it lets you defend. As well as giving you power. The attack is fairly simple and works like most attacks in almost every other Cerebus game out there. The counter-attack however seems to be unique to SF DBG. When any player attacks you and you have your unique card in hand, you can choose to counter-attack and follow the instructors shown on the card. Then you apply the counter-attack effect shown on your character card to the opponent who attacked you. This can range from brutal to utterly useless because Cryptozoic could still use some work on balancing.
However, this brings a whole new meta-level to the whole attack/defense card paradigm. And it fits in fairly well with the SF theme too, so I'm going to have to say I'm in favor of this mechanic. My only real gripe is that there aren't enough counter-attack type cards in the deck. Like Shinku Hadoken, extremely useful, doesn't defend at all but it still screws over your opponent if he choses to attack you. Yet there's probably only 4 or so in the deck. It just feels like the best idea behind this variation of the Cerebus DBG engine is the counter-attack mechanic and they don't have enough cards which utilise it.
Another issue would be the balance of certain characters in the DBG. But again, this is a very common issue with Cryptozoic DBGs. Thankfully no one seems to have hit the level of suck that Batgirl did in the DCDBG expansion, however there are still some very very good cards. Or even characters like Dhalsims, whose ability reads "Opponents get 1 weakness. Attack: Opponents gain 1 weakness". It's an AUTO-weakness mechanic before the attack even happens. Wtf??
Overall, still a fairly enjoyable game to play even if it's very different in flavor from DC DBG and is a lot less brutal overall.