Super Street Fighter IV
Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Let me get this out of the way now: I am a Street Fighter fanatic. I have a custom arcade stick. I’ve played in local tournaments. And yes, I took the day off when Super Street Fighter 4 came out. But I know I’m not alone as SF fans (and fighting game fans as a whole) turn the game inside out when a new version or edition comes out. So how does Super Street Fighter IV stack up, with the inclusion of new characters, new ultras, and character tweaks? Let’s just say that the Super prefix is very apropos.
SSFIV boasts a huge jump in the roster, with ten new characters added to the mix. Dudley, Makoto, and Ibuki have been brought in from Street Fighter III, Cody, Guy, and Adon from the Alpha series, and T. Hawk and Dee Jay from Super Street Fighter II. The new characters fit well into the existing SF 4 framework -- consider them spiritual successors to their previous incarnations rather than a direct port -- and all of them stack up extremely well against the rest of the cast. In fact, earlier tier listings have many of the "new" guys ranked in the mid to top tier. Speaking of new guys, Super also introduces two completely new characters. Tae Kwon Do sex kitten Juri and Turkish oil wrestler Hakan seem to have a slightly more comical edge, but both are welcome additions. Juri has a very fast, combo-centric style while Hakan uses oil to comical effect.
The returning cast have not been ignored either. As for individual tweaks, every character has had some frame data and/or stats changed. For example, Sagat, who was insanely overpowered in the vanilla version of the game, now does damage on a more reasonable level. Other character modifications include hit box adjustments, and various buffs/nerfs to individual moves. Overall, the changes were sensible and keep most fighters in line with their Street Fighter 4 incarnation. There are a few characters who jump up the tier list (Guile especially), but for the most part everyone stays around the same spot. The damage output of many of the characters has also been toned down, meaning many matches go on longer now. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something that can require a little bit of an adjustment.
Another big change is the addition of new ultra combos. The new ultras really open up the game, even more so than the afore-mentioned move-set tweaks. A whole new meta-game develops, as selecting new ultras affects both how you play and how your opponent plays against you. The new ultras revitalize some of the older characters and adds an additional layer to the game. However, the utility of some of the moves are questionable. Balance is a little scattershot, as some characters clearly get awesome ultras (El Fuerte, M. Bison) while others get a huge lump of coal (Fei Long, Cammy). But fundamentally, if you’re coming from vanilla SF4, you won’t find any drastic changes to the basic gameplay. It’s still a great exercise in reflexes, mind-games, and mental toughness. The rumored “speed increase” is non-existent and high level combos still require precise timing (1-frame links anyone?).
Graphics and Audio
The game looks exactly like Street Fighter 4, but with the additions of new background stages. All of the original scenes are intact, but the new ones are especially impressive. Many of them feature a lot of background animations and the skyscraper stage is especially nice due to the sheer business of it. The music has been greatly improved, with each character getting fantastic theme music. A lot of it has an urban hip-hop flair to it and it fits in really well. The greatest change however, is the removal of the universally panned “Indestructible” theme song. Boy bands and Street Fighter don’t mix!
The crappy anime intros from the original game have also been replaced with still images. Things aren’t too much better the second time around as the still picutres are essentially screenshots from the same lame anime style found in the previous game. It’s a shame because most Street Fighter art (especially fan art) is really killer. Too bad Capcom couldn’t commission someone better to do the intros and endings.
The online infrastructure gets a huge overhaul and is much more group oriented. It may seem counter-intuitive, considering the one-on-one nature of Street Fighter, but the game has always been enjoyed with a large group of people. One of the more prominent additions is the Endless Battle mode – a virtual arcade experience where the winner stays and the loser jumps to the back of the queue. The Endless Battle mode is great for setting up “fight parties” with friends or reliving that arcade experience. There is also a new Team Battle mode, but it’s hard to get going if you’re looking to team up with strangers (It should be pointed out that the PS3 version currently has an audio delay issue when playing with more than one person on the headset. The 360 version is fine and there has been no word yet on when a fix will be released.) Finally, there is also a fantastic replay channel that lets you watch other people’s brawls to your heart’s content. There is nothing quite like watching two gifted players square off. There is a huge catalogue of fights you can check out and you can even keep a collection of your own digital scrapes. It’s a simple yet great addition to the game.
But despite these great additions, the biggest part of the online revamp is the practically lag-free gameplay. Connections are incredibly smooth (thankfully prioritized by connections levels) and most battles won’t have you throwing the controllers because of lag-induced rage. It makes the online matches very competitive and you’re less likely to have someone rage-quit on you. Major kudos to Capcom for this. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this under the "value" sub-heading: the entire game is less than fifty bucks. You can get an entirely revamped game for less than your typical new release. Outstanding.
SSF4 is a beast of a game and is an absolute steal for under fifty dollars. All of the new additions blend seamlessly with the existing game and really amplifies the magnitude of the game. From the addition of dozens of new character match-ups to the new ultra meta-game to the pristine online fight mode, Super Street Fighter 4 is a super game indeed.
+ Sensible gameplay tweaks and balances
+ Expanded gameplay
+ Fantastic online
+ Virtually lag free
- There may be a nerf or two to your favorite fighter that you may find puzzling
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Release Date : 2010/04/27
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Capcom
Developer : Capcom
Category : Fighting & Wrestling
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
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