REVIEWS -- Super Street Fighter IV -- Xbox360
Like Street Fighter 4 but more Super
by Mark Medeiros
Fun factor: Fun
Worth to: Buy
If you thought Street Fighter 4 needed to be a bit more Super, then here you go.
Super Street Fighter 4 is Street Fighter 4 with more characters and things. Review done, goodnight everybody!
Truth be told, Super Street Fighter 4 is the kind of game where you can read the taglines and determine your purchase decision appropriately, without my input. There is no hidden swerve or game-breaking flaw here; the online play doesn’t have unbearable lag, the new characters are entertaining and accessible, and Ryu isn’t swapped out a quarter of the way through the game in favor of a Raiden-like character. If you want the better version (or at least the more nostalgia-grasping version) of Street Fighter 4, $45 is a reasonable asking price.
While the game doesn’t have flaws, there are a few gripes I’d like to get off of my chest. There still isn’t an elaborate tutorial mode for explaining the finer points of competitive play. I feel like there is a glass ceiling blocking curious bystanders like me from chilling out with people who take this fighting game business seriously. I’d rather not brave the ego-filled lakes of fighting game message boards for the answers I seek. Since the entire future of the fighting game genre rests on Street Fighter 4’s jacked shoulders, giving the common man the chance to learn how to... err… play the game would be very beneficial on the day Capcom decides to make a new Darkstalkers.
And then there’s the new bonus stages; destroying someone’s car and smashing barrels. These exist solely for retro-fantasy purposes; to extract one more element from Street Fighter 2. High scores in fighting games stopped mattering around the time people started liking fighting games. And this is 2010; the whole 3-letter-name high score ranking in 1990s arcade games was pretty irrelevant back when arcade high scores reset when the owner flipped off the power switch at the end of the day. This is a fighting game, not a vandalism game.
Positive tonal shift
Super Street Fighter 4 makes plenty of ideal changes. The lobby system that almost every fighting game has been employing is finally present, with up to eight players entering a room and taking turns challenging the winner. It’s like placing your quarter on an arcade machine to signal you’re next in line to fight the winner, but without the risk of change theft. Match videos are now saved and uploadable, and while more specific search features would have been nice (for the rare event that a Bison player wants to learn how to triumph over El Fuerte… just saying) it’s still a positive feature. It’s nice to be able to watch videos of people better than you, or indulge in narcissism and force other people online to watch your clips.
There’s been some balancing tweaks too, it seems. The Tiger Knee no longer solves all of Sagat’s problems; he can’t use it to thoroughly dominate opponents or change the toilet paper roll like in Street Fighter 4. I don’t know if the game has been tweaked to make El Fuerte not suck, and I lack the motivation to find out. Each character also has a second, selectable Super Ultra Health Bar Destroying Mega Attack, with a lot of them having some rather long punishment animations. Akuma has a very fierce Top Man impersonation, for example.
You no longer have to grind through Arcade Mode repeatedly to unlock all of the game’s characters. Arcade Mode thus only serves two purposes: to unlock the new set of hokey anime cutscenes, and to keep you occupied while waiting for online opponents to challenge you. If you’re actually trying to finish an Arcade Mode session, you’d best turn the online challenge options off, lest you simulate the experience of being in a crowded arcade filled with people shunting your dreams of topping the 3-letter high score ranking for the day. For every 3 round fight I finished with the AI, I had about 20 online ranked fights with real challengers. Finishing a single Arcade Mode session with online challenges turned on can take an estimated 72 hours; a stark contrast to the 7 minutes it would take otherwise.
Special guest appearance from…
The major selling point in the entire package is the new challengers. Or rather, the old challengers being redone in the third dimension to swoon long time players. Quite frankly, the uninitiated ought to be offended by the racist undertones of T Hawk and Dee Jay. No matter, they are both in this game for the purpose of extolling as many assets from Street Fighter 2 as possible. The good news is that, like the rest of the 10 new faces, the ethnically questionable Dee Jay and T Hawk are relatively accessible characters. In fact, most of the new roster is relatively easy to figure out, in contrast to Street Fighter 4’s more abstract additions like C. Viper and El Suecke. Nor are there any blatent Ryu-clones. The character-select screen is a very intimidating sight.
Speaking of new people, Juri continues the C. Viper tradition of ripping off The King of Fighters with fancy spin kicks and nonchalant “I’m too cool to walk in a fighting stance” attitude. But unlike 3/4s of a King of Fighters roster, her moves are easier to figure out and understand. Hakan, on the other hand, may be the greatest concept in the history of humanity creating concepts. He is a Turkish oil wrestler, and oil wrestling in Turkey is a very real sport. He is also red-skinned with blue, statuesque hair, and yet there are no supernatural traits to his character, besides how much ass he kicks. He lathers himself up and beats opponents by squeezing them with his oiled thighs until they shoot out of his behind. The bar for T-rated homoeroticism has been raised.
From the Street Fighter Alpha series, Guy returns to inflate the number of Gi-wearing fighters. Though his fighting style (built around running back and forth like El Fuerte but with, you know, attacks) is more unique than your typical gi-fighter. Guy recognizes that a shoryuken is not a legitimate technique to use in a real fight. Cody is also back in his jailbird person after having been arresting for questioning the Magic Sword/Final Fight bundle. And then there’s Adon, a wily Muay Thai dude with a hyena-like voice.
Finally, there are three characters from Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. Seeing them in the mix with Alpha characters seems to muck up the Street Fighter canon, not that the canon was ever worth respecting anyways. Ibuki is present to fulfill dual male Japanese fantasy roles of as a female ninja and schoolgirl. Makoto and Dudley, the two most popular characters from Third Strike who’s names don’t start with K and end in N also make a pleasant return. Both at first feel odd, what with their fighting styles built around a game where players could parry every attack with the right timing (including a speeding train for all we know). But alas, they still make entertaining additions.
If you didn’t understand Street Fighter 4 before, you probably will not understand Super Street Fighter 4 now. In fact, the Turkish oil man and Native American brute will probably offer more to confuse fans whom lack the prior context of being alive during the SF2 days. But people who thought Street Fighter 4 was a phenomenal revival would want to invest in this update. In fact, as an update, there is more new content here than in the numerous incremental Street Fighter 2 updates of the past. If Street Fighter 4 is going to be milked for every dollar possible, at least they’re being sensible about it.
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Review Date: 11-05-2010
Numbers of Players: 1-2
Players Online: 2
Notes: 720p Support, Dolby Digital 5.1, Leaderboards, Downloadable Content, Online Tournaments, Voice Support, Widescreen
Looks like Street Fighter 4.
Plays like Street Fighter 4.
Errm... produces like Street Fighter 4.
Sounds like Street Fighter 4.
Lasts like Street Fighter 4.