When Capcom announced they were doing a special edition of Street Fighter IV, I wasn't surprised. As one who has played the various editions of Street Fighter II, it was natural for Capcom to go and make an updated Street Fighter IV. I was a little disappointed that IV did not have the hooks needed to do a DLC, but Capcom's trying to make amends by making Super Street Fighter IV better and less expensive. Super Street Fighter IV is the first and only stand alone update for Street Fighter IV that will be produced by Capcom. So how does it stand up to the excellent fighter that preceded it?
I won't get into the basics of the gameplay as you can read my Street Fighter IV review for that but in a nutshell, the game plays just like Street Fighter IV which is a solid fighter and adds a few new little features and tweaks. One of the things that seems to have been changed is that the boss, Seth, looks to have been toned down. He was pretty damn cheap in Street Fighter IV, and still is in Super Street Fighter IV, but not as much so. The rest of the game feels just like it does compared to Street Fighter IV with some tweaks to some of the characters. That's great, as the fighting in IV was solid and there shouldn't have been any need to really adjust anything for Super Street Fighter IV. I found myself very comfortable and at ease using the same characters in IV as I did in Super Street Fighter IV.
For the biggest addition, we turn to the brand new characters that are introduced in this game that range from old favorites from past versions to built-from-scratch fighters that are debuting with this title. Fighters from past Street Fighter games such as T.Hawk, Dee Jay, Cody, and Guy. My hatered for fighting T.Hawk returns in this game . Juri and Hakan are the two brand new characters to the series. The characters from past games all get the Street Fighter IV make over as you would expect, so I'll talk a little more about Juri and Hakan. Juri's specialty is Taekwondo, so she has an emphasis on kicking attacks. Hakan's pretty unique to me as he's a wrestler who likes to pour oil on himself. He can slide pretty far and has powerful throws. By oiling up, you'll add to Hakan's Focus range and some abilities. The two new fighters are a fun addition and I enjoyed using them as a change of pace to the others. A total of ten have been added, bumping up the amount of fighters to 35 and the great thing about it is that they are all unlocked. That’s right, you don’t have to go about finishing the game multiple times just to be able to have some characters selectable to play with. I’m really glad Capcom decided to go this route, as I feel the technique of unlocking characters is a little outdated.
When playing single player, you'll get the anime cut scenes again just like in Street Fighter IV. Like Street Fighter IV as well, they can be rather silly and not make much sense. I do like the contrast with the anime cut scenes to the style that the game uses, though, and you can re-watch them when you finish the game with a character. Some like it, some don't; I didn't have any problems with them.
Something added to Super Street Fighter IV is the the choice of an Ultra to use. You get from two to four to choose from, depending on your character, and what’s nice is that the various Ultras are a little different in how they attack. When I talked to Seth Killian about this at CES, he equated it to outfitting your fighter with a kit of your choosing in order to customize your fighter a little bit. For example, if you’re adept at air attacks, you might want to choose an Ultra that’s air based should the character have one. It can be a strategy to select the Ultra based on the opponent you are facing. It also adds a little variety and I hope that we can see some more Ultras added in via DLC in a future date.
Absent for a while, the bonus stages of destroying a car or barrels has returned. I know I was missing this feature from past games and it's great to see them make a comeback in an updated look. I did find the barrel-busting bonus round to be harder than what I remember, but that could just be me and my declining skills. The car-destroying bonus stage is still pretty easily to accomplish and there are visual and audio cues to let you know if you are damaging the car or just pounding away without any progress. A nice little feature is that you can turn this part off should you just want to participate in fights. Playing the two bonus stages did bring back a nice feeling of nostalgia and I'm really happy Capcom incorporated the two back into the game.Graphically, the game looks pretty much the same as the previous version with some minor tweaks here and there. It's a very nice looking game and the characters move fluidly with some great animations. All the new characters look great as well, offering up the high quality models and animations that were evident in Street Fighter IV. The new levels are diverse and offer a lot more movement in the background as well. The old levels also return but the new ones adds a nice set of new locations to fight in.
The online portion of the game has gone and received a welcomed upgrade with new offerings. Battle Points, specific to the fighter, are now calculated giving you a better sense of how someone is with the cast of characters. For those that like to play with multiple characters, you'll get a more granular grade as well as an overall Player Points score. You can see for each player which fighter they are really strong in and which they are weaker in should they use a few different ones in online battles. As with all online games, your connection will determine how well the game play is when fighting someone over the Internet. I've always had a hit or miss with all of Capcom's Street Fighter iterations, although it Super Street Fighter IV seemed to fair better than Super Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting's online experience.
To try and simulate an arcade setting, there's a mode where it allows up to eight players to participate in a winners stays, loser heads to the end of the line battle. What's really cool is that you can watch the two players currently in action as well as talk with all the members of the party. It brings a virtual arcade experience to the series as it reminds me of the day where we would put quarters up on the machine to save our spot in line and watch the current players duke it out and scout what they like to do. To quiet those that are annoying, you can mute any offending person in the group and not ruin the experience with any annoying player.
Speaking of watching, Super Street Fighter IV adds a Replay Channel to the mix for those that love to watch others play. It's would be a great way to learn new techniques as you can download videos of really great players and study their moves but there are some issues to this feature. You can even go as far as turning on the moves and damage indicator to really get the information about a fight, how the moves are done, and how powerful the attacks are, but the information flies by so quickly that you can never get a good handle of it. You can invite others to watch along and talk about it as well. Unfortunately, you can't pause or rewind making it even more cumbersome to use with slow-mo being limited to watching it alone. I'd love to have a full set of video tools on hand so that I could have more control over how the video is shown. The ability to download various replays is great and the feature is so close to being very, very useful as a learning tool rather than just for entertainment. For those that are just curious about how others play will find value in the Replay Channel. I just hope Capcom improves the controls a little bit later on down the road with a DLC.
At CES, Seth Killian made sure to stress that Super Street Fighter IV had the necessary hooks to utilize DLC to its full potential. That means new characters, new backgrounds, and additional features. Sure, it was a disappointment that Street Fighter IV could not do this and you would think that any company creating a game these days would make sure this is a priority in their development, but it is what it is and what we have is a great follow up with the necessary code built in to do DLC right. I really would like Capcom to take advantage of this and lengthen the Super Street Fighter IV gaming life by making some really good additions to the game. If done right, I think they can really take advantage of the great engine they have to provide some good content and satisfy Street Fighter fans while working on (I'm assuming) Street Fighter V, as I've read Super Street Fighter IV would be the last iteration of IV.
Capcom also did good in pricing Super Street Fighter IV at $39.99 rather than the usual $59.99. It's got a lot of good content and definitely warrants the price even for those that own the previous game. Owners of Street Fighter IV who have a save game on their hard drive will get two costume colors available right off the bat. Capcom has built in the hooks needed for DLC that was missing in Street Fighter IV and Capcom's planning on issuing a free Tournament mode next month. There's even rumblings of more characters being added this way, which is what I thought the Street Fighter IV should've had in the first place. Super Street Fighter IV is a solid offering from Capcom building upon Street Fighter IV and at a $20 reduction over a brand new game, it's a definite buy for fighting fans. Even if you own Street Fighter IV, the additions to the game make it more than worth the $40 investment which.