The major gripe with Capcom Fighting Evolution is that, ironically, there is nothing "evolving" in this game whatsoever. It's just a bunch of rehashed graphics, backgrounds, and fighting styles. The sprites are literally the same ones we've seen used in Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter II and III, Darkstalkers, and Red Earth. Certain fighters, like Demitri, appear cut-and-pasted straight out of a picture off the internet, and look horribly out of place. This is just a classic example of Capcom's long history of laziness: cut-and-paste as much old stuff together as we can, add in some new "gimmick" element to the mix, slap a label on it, and push it into stores/arcades. Unfortunately, unlike previous Capcom offerings like Street Fighter III or Alpha 3, the "gimmick" of creating dream matches between your favorite characters from different games only lasts about an hour or so. After that, the startling flaws in the game engine begin to emerge.
A battle below your expectations?
The game mechanics can be pretty strange. For whatever reason, fighters in CFE get up from the ground unbearably slowly after being knocked down. This is literally the slowest I've ever seen a Capcom warrior get up; they must be getting lazy in their old age! For anyone who's played other Capcom fighters, this will prove an extreme annoyance for the first thirty minutes or so of play, and will throw off both the attacker and the person who was knocked down from properly following up a sweep, or defending/counter attacking. Some matchups are just downright horrible such as Zangief battling against a jumping-back Jedah who throws nonstop projectiles? Good luck with that. Capcom has also made an effort to keep the fighters true to their parent games, but in some cases, this falls sadly short. Zangief does massive damage with each Spinning Piledriver he pulls off, true to the Street Fighter II series of games; but his sprites and hit-areas are all from the Alpha and Capcom vs. SNK series, and so many of his ticks-into-throw and strategies from his original appearance in Street Fighter II are just not possible in CFE. On top of that, they've chosen to give him his air-throw super which he did not even possess until Street Fighter Alpha 2, and then give it three times the priority over other moves than it's ever had before…downright strange.
Capcom Fighting Evolution is a solid fighter, no doubt, but even the most hardcore Street Fighter will begin to tire of the repetitiveness after a few hours of play. Everything about this game screams "been there, done that," and there is simply nothing here to keep you coming back. After the initial fun factor of pitting different versions of Street Fighter against each other, you will undoubtedly begin to get bored. While other Capcom fighters have introduced truly new and original features to the 2D fighting genre of games, such as the parry system and custom combos, CFE offers absolutely nothing. Sometimes, adding something new can go horribly wrong; take for example last year's 2D fighter SNK vs. Capcom, where the new "dash-cancelling" gimmick became the central focus of the game. In fact, the game became so dependent upon dash-cancelling that the majority of gameplay focuses around it, and most fighting game enthusiasts dismiss SvC as utter, repetitive, unbalanced trash. Perhaps Capcom was afraid to make the same mistake with CFE, but by leaving out anything new whatsoever, they hurt the game in a totally different way.
Capcom Fighting Evolution will keep you occupied for a few hours, but as a serious fighter, it falls far short of greatness. Repetitive sprites, gameplay we've already seen, unbalanced matches, and just a total lack of originality will not keep players coming back the way that previous Capcom 2D beat-em' ups have. CFE was a noble attempt by Capcom to give us a new game, but in this case, Evolution passed them by.