Review

Super Street Fighter IV Review (PS3)

Street Fighter IV was a vitally important game to me. While it's widely agreed that it's the defining fighting game of this generation of consoles, for me it also represented the game that made fighting games fun again when I had begun to lose faith in all my old favorite fighters.

If you're looking for a short review, here it is: if you enjoyed playing Street Fighter IV, you'll probably find a ton of fantastic features that'll make investing your time in Super Street Fighter IV worthwhile. That's it - and now let me explain exactly why.






Just in case you've been under a rock for the last six months, Super includes ten characters which weren't in the original Street Fighter IV, bringing the grand total of playable characters to an impressive but not excessive thirty-five.

Of those ten, two characters are entirely new to the Street Fighter lore - Juri was described as a 'spider-lady' when she was revealed, and that best describes her properties - fast, deadly up close and focused on kicks. Hakan is the other newcomer, a gigantic hulk of a man who is focused on grappling foes into submission. Hakan is all about 'oiling up' - pouring cooking oil on himself to grease up, which changes the properties of attacks.

The two represent the extremes of Street Fighter well - Juri is simple to pick up and use if you're familiar with somebody like Ryu or Cammy, while Hakan can be confusing at first but can be absolutely deadly once you figure out exactly how to make use of his unique oil mechanic.

The other eight characters will all be familiar faces to hardcore Street Fighter fans with Makoto, Dudley and Ibuki coming from Street Fighter III and Adon, Cody and Guy representing the Alpha spin-off series - though Cody and Guy originated in the 'Final Fight' brawler series.

The roster is rounded out by T.Hawk and Dee Jay, the final two 'New Challengers' from the Street Fighter II expansions that were omitted from the original release.

The new characters offer a good spread of styles - Dudley's a gentlemanly combo-building beast while Adon's weirdly-angled attacks make him utterly different to anyone else in the cast, and while there's plenty of projectile attacks in Street Fighter IV Cody's knife-holding and throwing mechanic is definitely interesting and unique.

Every character in the game now has two Ultras, too. Cammy's gained the counter CQC ultra, while Ryu's got a massive Shoryuken that hits with such ferocity that the music cuts out. They're all high quality cinematic moments, and they make a serious difference in battles - tactics against somebody selecting Ultra II is almost certain to be very different than if they'd selected Ultra I, as different Ultras perform and execute in different ways.

Better still, every one of these characters and ultras is unlocked from the start, with the only stuff that needs to be unlocked through gameplay being costume colors, taunts and other largely extraneous options - everything you need is unlocked from the get-go.

One blast through the single-player will unlock both the car-beating and barrel-busting minigames to play separately and also the option to cut them out of future single-player runs entirely - it's all like Capcom have finally realized that these games are often played same-screen and ensured everything important was ready for those multiplayer nights in from day one.






Likewise, all the stages are unlocked from the word go, including a couple of new ones. Stages in Super Street Fighter IV are essentially a backdrop - they don't affect gameplay - but they're all lovingly constructed, pretty looking and often have Easter eggs in the form of character cameos in the background.

There's still explosions and changes to the stage as the fight progresses, all of which animate well but aren't so distracting that you take your eyes off the all-important fight. A welcome option to play the game with remixed versions of classic music - be it Ken's Street Fighter II theme or Cody's theme music, which is a remix of a Final Fight tune - is also included.

Where Super Street Fighter IV really soars is in its online. Sporting improved netcode and a greater plethora of options, it's now easier to get a game and easier to pinpoint why you lost or how you can get better thanks to the new replay theatre.

Your last thirty matches are saved automatically, and you can then watch and save these forever if you so choose. You can watch your own matches back in slow motion to study for mistakes or even search through the online archives to see the best matches ever fought with your character of choice - it allows you to learn from the best.

The system is split into blocks - you can view battles with the original 8 world warriors from Street Fighter II, from bosses, newcomers and so on. These channels are handy, but it definitely would've been better to be able to search for matches between specific characters rather than only within larger groups - I'd say this is an oversight on Capcom's part.

There's still ranked matches to improve your rating, but the big new addition in Super for online is the 'Endless Battle' mode, allowing eight players to play together. The winner stays on, the loser is sent to the back of the line and all the other players can chat and watch while the matches they're not in takes place.

There's also a new Team Battle mode, which works similar to the Endless Battle but splits the eight players into two teams of four. The winner on the winning team stays on while the losing team rotates the player in charge. Even ranked matches have been streamlined, and it's overall easier to get into a battle and once you do the netcode is solid, especially if you're playing with someone in the same region, which matchmaking prioritizes.

There's a stunning amount of depth to Super as there was in Street Fighter IV, and even though this time around I was playing with the fantastic Mad Catz FightPad and Tournament Edition FightStick I was getting my ass thoroughly handed to me online on a regular basis - but it was still great fun!

The single player is competent, featuring the now standard anime intros and rival battles with unique dialogue for each character, but the good news here is that it's entirely optional unless you're achievement-hunting. There's varying difficulty levels if you need some practice before heading online, but the single player is not the priority here.

Like Street Fighter IV, the main issue with Super is the lack of any real tutorial content. The game does a better job this time with a Challenge mode that shows you how to combo with on-screen instructions, but even that feels a bit like being thrown in at the deep end of the pool to me, and I played a lot of Street Fighter IV.






In the end what you need to enjoy Super Street Fighter IV are a couple of mates to play it with on-or-offline who you can practice, learn and experiment with. If you can find that the game becomes addictive, more fun and infinitely more understandable.


It's flawed in places, but this is still a game that expertly demonstrates to the rest of the gaming world why Capcom are still considered the kings of the fighting genre. It's no incremental upgrade and brings more than just character balancing to the table, managing to improve, fix and surpass the original Street Fighter IV in every way imaginable - and they've done it at less than full price.

This is how you do an upgrade.

Special thanks to Mad Catz for providing us with the FightPad and FightStick for reviewing this game check out our review of those through this link!.

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Comments

By stuntkid (SI Elite) on May 24, 2010
stuntkid
Tempted to buy this :)