No, I have never played a Street Fighter game before. Nevertheless, I have been waiting for this game for a LONG time, and now its finally here! And I am pleased, and marginally disappointed with it.
The good bits: the sheer depth of this game is unbelieveable. You could sink 40 hours into this game and still not know all the fine details. There are plenty of modes to satisfy: Arcade, Versus, Challenges and Network. The quirky cast of fighters means you're sure to find a favorite. Once you do, stick with them! Learn all their moves, develop some intutive combos and you'll be formidable. This is NOT like Tekken or Soulcalibur; button mashing will get you NOWHERE. So be preapred to learn, and have your ass handed to you several times online, before you get any good. Speaking of online, its flawless. Nearly. The bouts themselves are lag free, and the graphics arent scaled down, but connecting to a match for me proved difficult. I suggest turning on Arcade Fight Request and waiting for someone with a better connection to come to you. That said, there are a LOT of people playing online, so your arcade mode adventures will often get interrupted
The bad bits: yes, unfortunately, its not perfect. My main problem is the controls; trying to play this game on a DualShock is a tough task, as you're required to make several specific Analog Stick movements to pull off the best moves. As a result, the controls are extremely sensitive, meaning you'll often pull off a Shoryuken when you were trying to do a Hadoken and so on. So, get a fighting stick if you want to get serious. My only other complaint is the AI: obviously the final bosses in the arcade mode (Seth and, if you persist, Akuma and Gouken) were going to be cheap, pulling off the same overpowered moves until they win. But I wasnt expecting the early level fighters to be doing the same thing! Some characters, C.Viper and Sagat being the main culprits, have a smaller volcabulary of moves than everyone else, and seeing them pull off the same combos over and over again can get quite frustrating. Speaking of C.Viper, she, Rufus and El Fuerte (three of the four new fighters) are the only characters I can't stand. Rufus sucks because, well, he's got jiggle physics that are just plain wrong on a guy, El Fuerte is just really annoying and has a dash attack that you will quickly get tired of, and C.Viper is ridiculously overpowered. Its bad enough Vega's got a claw, but this girl's got electric gloves and flaming shoes!
Mind you, if you get some good practice (I'm talking about several hours here) you wont have to complain about the AI. SFIV will not appeal to the extremely casual beat 'em up fan, or the Counter Strike/WOW addicts, but for everyone else its damn near essential, as long as, like LittleBigPlanet, you're willing to put in some time...