Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Review
Predictably enough, the third of the Street Fighter IV ‘series’ is the finest one yet. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition may be less of an overhaul than regular ol’ Super Street Fighter IV but, it packs enough of a new punch to warrant a purchase for the hardcore fighting game fan. Whether or not it provides enough for anyone without an intimate knowledge of each fighter’s frame timings and hit detection boxes is more debatable.
Arcade Edition is available to purchase in two forms. For those who already own a copy of Super Street Fighter IV, a downloadable update is available for 1200MS points on Xbox Live and £11.99/$14.99 from the PlayStation Store while the boxed retail version will set you back around thirty quid in the UK.
The most obvious addition to Arcade Edition are the four new characters, taking the total playable roster to 39. Evil Ryu is what regular Ryu would look like as a goth and plays much like series stalwart Akuma in that he shuns almost any defence for the sake of offence. Oni is what Akuma would look like after a night spent with a double dose of steroids and a bottle of blue hair dye, and twins Yun and Yang do their best to ground the series with some sense of aesthetic realism by donning traditional Chinese shirts and trendy haircuts. All four come packed with their own intro and outro movies in Arcade mode.
New characters mean new Ultra Combos and, as with Street Fighter IV’s other characters, they do not disappoint in providing a spectacle of intense comic violence and showmanship. Oni sports a particularly impressive example in which he fires an underwhelming purple fireball followed by an entirely overwhelming variation, sending his opponent hurtling across the stage in a blaze of monochromatic artwork and stark visual design.
However, it’s Yun’s ‘Ultra 2′ that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go (to the extent that I’ve started playing as him solely to see it in action). Starting with a flurry of punches and kicks and finishing with your opponent being slammed into the ground from a great height, Yun’s Ultra is one of the most satisfying of all those the series has to offer and embodies the kind of over the top craziness that helps make the series so endearing and enduring.
Sticking with the Yun love-in, the better half of the twins also packs a rather tasty special known as the Genei Jin Super. By creating what seem to be holograms of himself, Yun can land attacks three times in quick succession – his new ‘friends’ mimicking his movements with a few frames of delay. It’s a brilliant counter-punch for a character that struggles to deal much damage with his regular attacks and can turn the tide of a fight quickly and decisively if deployed properly.
Returning characters haven’t been left out though. Almost all characters feature some form of alteration to the number of frames it takes to land attacks and/or their attack range. Of course, the vast majority of players are not going to be able to highlight any of these changes but pro players most certainly will.
As is the case with any kind of rebalancing, some players are going to happy and some not. Depending on your preferred character you’re either going to see the changes as a help or a hindrance as some characters have undergone a downgrade and some an upgrade. As someone who is religiously attached to Ken (yes I know, I’m an ‘amateur’) I noticed very little difference apart from the fact that I now seem to struggle immensely against Able. Whether that’s due to an upgrade for Able or a result of a downgrade to Ken that makes him vulnerable to his moveset is yet to be determined (it’s likely a bit of both).
Indeed, without spending hours comparing each character to their Super Street Fighter IV counterparts it’s difficult to tell just who has changed and in what way.
It’s a shame that the new characters are not accompanied by any new stages, especially considering the quality of those new ones that came bundled with Super Street Fighter IV (specifically the African river stage complete with intrusive hippos). Where this latest edition does improve things however is in its online options.
Replay Follower lets you keep track of replays from five players, useful for following your friend’s matches as well as trying to improve your skills by watching players more skilful than yourself. The Elite Channel focuses on providing recent replays of players that have made their way to the upper echelons of the online leaderboards and My Channel makes it easy to distribute your own replays.
As I said earlier, Arcade Edition is the finest outing of the series. Capcom have said that this third edition of the game is to be its final outing which, is both a relief and a shame. It’s nice to be able to concentrate on improving your skills safe in the knowledge that your chosen character will remain as he/she/it is currently until Street Fighter V arrives but, the fact that Capcom manage to improve the formula with each successive almost makes you long for more – despite the strain on the wallet.
Because of that, this is a game you need to get if you have any attachment ot the series at all. It’s the director’s cut, the ultimate edition and the remastered version all rolled into one great package.
Right, back to working out just how Able got so tough. I think sore thumbs are going to feature in my near-future…