REVIEW: Super Street Fighter IV
When Super Street Fighter IV was first announced by Capcom, online forums were filled with two kinds of absolute extremes. One was the overly excited fan that couldn’t wait for this to be released because they “knew” that it was going to be the best Street Fighter ever. The other was the pissed off consumer that didn’t want to pay full price for another game which they “knew” could have easily been made into a DLC for the original Street Fighter IV. Well, now that the game is out we can all stop acting like Hollywood actors with political opinions and settle our differences in a civilized, productive manor. In online matches, best two out of three!
The gameplay hasn’t changed much from the original Street Fighter IV. But whatever changes you do notice, you’ll be happy that they are there now. Gameplay has been balanced slightly with the already established SF4 characters and the 10 new characters all play very uniquely. The totally new characters Hakan and Juri are especially unique. Hakan is very simple; he only has a few simple special maneuvers and 2 of them are throws. Where every fighter in the game has 6 basic punches and kicks (give or take) Hakan has 12 so using Hakan skillfully takes some getting used to. Mastering Juri is no walk in the park either; her special maneuvers all have adverse effects based on how they are executed.
The online mode has been totally revamped to cater more so to online competition. Endless battle has up to 8 players in a queue; winner stays on to play the next guy, loser goes to the back of the queue (just like in the arcades). Players in the queue also get to watch the matches to see what they can expect. Team battle has 2 separate groups of fighters team up to see who can win in a series of matches. The Replay channel is also new. Players can save replays of matches to view them later or see replays that other players have saved. This will probably be the most under used feature of Super Street Fighter IV and here is why. You can’t just save any replay you want; you can only save a replay when certain arbitrary conditions decide to let you save. Replays are no new thing to fighting games and it seems rather odd to dedicate an entire online portion of the game for something that can’t be directly controlled.
On a lighter side, the Challenges mode has done away with the 2 most tedious modes, Time Attack and Survival, and has re-imagined the Trials mode. Players can even play through the 2 new bonus stages in Challenges mode once they are unlocked. Speaking of unlocking, all 35 characters are unlocked right from the start and, because Time Attack and Survival have been done away with, unlocking all taunts and colors for each character is done just by using said character in any gameplay mode.
Not only has the sound been improved by what it adds, it has also been improved by what it leaves out. What I mean by that is Super SF4 no longer has that campy, annoying “Indestructible” song playing throughout it anymore. Super SF4 goes back to the formula that originally made Street Fighter music good; with a well orchestrated, melodic sound score. There is also an option
Some of the voice acting is still a little cheesy but now Super SF4 adds in-match chatter between the combatants in all fights which only used to take place in rival battles.
The first thing you notice is that the intro video is in a totally different art style. In the original SF4 the intro had kind of an “ink in water” style to it with smokey looking streams of color running all through it. Now it’s in a much more vibrantly colored “scratch” art style with, what looks like thousands of colored scratches making up the animations. This style can also be applied to the in-game characters provided you have a save file from the original SF4 saved on your hard drive.
Every character has brand new intro animations and brand new ending animations. To be honest, the intros are hardly animations; they are more like still pictures with dialogue. However, the brand new endings are of way better quality animation than in SF4.
Super Street Fighter IV does everything right when it comes to making a solid fighter. It takes all the good from SF4, improves upon it and filters out all the bad. The new online modes are work very well and add a nice twist that is not found in other fighters while the offline modes are even more enjoyable than in SF4. The new characters, Hakan and Juri, fit perfectly into this series. The returning fighters play very differently than in their native Street Fighter titles but that only means that using them requires new strategies… that’s a good thing!