Super Street Fighter IV
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release Date: 04.27.2010
Last year, Street Fighter IV made its debut on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and promptly reminded gamers why, despite its lengthy hiatus, it was still the king of fighting games. With its gorgeous cel-shaded graphics and a intricate, professionally-approved combat system, Street Fighter IV beat out plucky newcomers like UFC 2009 Undisputed, BlazBlue and genre mainstay Tekken 6 to take home the Fighting Game of the Year award in many critics' books.
In keeping with the tradition of any good Street Fighter title, the Super prefix has been added to Street Fighter IV, bringing with it a number of new fighters and upgrades to the game's online multiplayer. While skeptics may moan about its $40 price tag for what is essentially an upgraded version of last year's installment, if you merely never got around to picking up Street Fighter IV before, purchasing Super Street Fighter IV now is really a no-brainer.
The premise of Super Street Fighter IV is exactly the same as any other fighting game. You choose one of the game's 35 characters and then proceed to punch, kick and throw fireballs at your opponent until you (or the other player) are knocked out. If you've already played Street Fighter IV, the combat is almost identical. Each character has at least two new Ultra Combos that gamers will need to master, but, aside from that, the fighting will be exactly the way you remember. Move lists are fairly accessible, allowing new comers to pick up the controller and immediately begin performing Hadoukens, but the combat is intentionally structured to reward those who invest the time counting frames and memorizing combos.
If you're brand new to the franchise, or don't take learning its intricacies very seriously, there's still a lot of fun to be had if you stick to playing with the computer or against opponents of similar skill. Try wading into the deep end of the Super Street Fighter IV world online, though, and you'll get torn to shreds by the community's elite players.
Brand new to Super Street Fighter IV are the addition of ten characters. Eight of them, like Street Fighter III's Ibuki and Dudley, are familiar faces featured in previous Street Fighter titles.
A South Korean Taekwondo fighter, Juri, and a Turkish oil wrestler, Hakan, make their series debut. All the rest of the new fighters are seamlessly integrated with the old roster. They're all well-balanced and crafted to cater to different styles of gameplay, and they also bring something distinctly unique and fun to the table. Though the inclusion of the new fighters don't necessarily alter the game's mechanics, they will force you either rethink or devise entirely new strategies to counter the challenges presented by each character. Whether you intend to play Super Street Fighter IV competitively, or more casually, the expanded selection of fighters alone makes Super Street Fighter IV's worth buying.
However, instead of just throwing some new characters into the game and calling it a day, Capcom also added new content in other areas as well. The story mode now includes a variety of familiar mini-games, like the car breaking bonus stage, that Street Fighter veterans will instantly recognize. Additionally, each new character has their own cheesy storyline to play through, complete with animated cut scenes.
There's new locales to brawl in, new modes (like the challenging Trial, or the amusing Barrel Breaker) remixed soundtracks, colorful costumes and more to be found in Super Street Fighter IV, reinforcing the notion that Capcom's latest fighter is hardly a lackluster expansion pack. Most significantly improved in Super Street Fighter IV is its online multiplayer. In addition to the normal 1v1 or team matches you'll invest countless hours in, you now also have the opportunity to sit in and spectate matches in progress, or download replays to watch at your leisure.
Players from all over the world can record and upload videos from their own fights, allowing the Street Fighter community to easily gain access to footage from the game's top tier competitors. In all the matches played, there were only one or two occasions where network problems made the game unplayable. For the most part, lag was a non-issue and barely detracted from the experience online.
Super Street Fighter IV's strongest assets are best defined when compared to the original Street Fighter IV. The expanded roster of fighters inject new life in an already robust, intricately designed fighting game, and the vastly improved multiplayer options make competing against the best in the world all that more enjoyable. In short, after dabbling with what Super Street Fighter IV has to offer, you'll never find yourself wanting to go back. All the other improvements, like the mini-games and new costumes, are really just icing on the cake.
If you played Street Fighter IV and didn't find yourself hooked on its particular brand of fighting, Super Street Fighter IV won't change anything. If you're the type of gamer, however, who's spent hours mastering each and every one of the game's characters, Super Street Fighter IV will be worth every single penny of its $40 price tag. It may not fundamentally alter the way the game is played, but it does add a considerable amount of new content that will absolutely please fans. It provides more of a good thing, and when has that ever been bad?
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