The announcement that Capcom was to release an update to Street Fighter IV wasn’t exactly met with universal joy, and worries that this was little more than overpriced DLC on a disc were rampant. Fear not, though, as Super Street Fighter IV is far more than a ploy to part you from your cash with the smallest of efforts. This is a great update, with plenty of extra content, and thanks to the lower price, it’s more than worthy of your cash.
Super Street Fighter IV brings with it a feast of extra content, with the most notable being a inclusion of ten new characters, upping the total up to 35. All characters are unlocked from the very start, meaning you won’t have to jump through hoops to unlock your favourites.
The new selection of characters is impressive, with some old and new faces returning to the dusty arenas of the World Warrior tournament. These include T. Hawk and Dee Jay from Super SFII, Dudley, Ibuki and Makoto from SFIII, Adon from Street Fighter and even Cody and Guy from Final Fight (and SF Alpha 3).
Two new characters never seen in SF before also join the fray. Juri is a female fighter who can bend time thanks to an implant in her eye. She’s fast, agile and packs some strong specials. Finally, there’s one of the oddest characters Street Fighter has ever seen. Hakan is a Turkish oil wrestler, and if you’re not familiar with this, it apparently involves covering yourself in extra virgin and then squelching around, grabbing people and shooting them out of your arms like a bullet. Hmmm.
All of the characters are as well balanced as ever, with no one fighter really sticking out as an easy option. There’s usually always a way around each character’s abilities, although when playing in single player, later fights can become a little frustrating, as the CPU pulls off effortless counters and throws, leaving you gritting your teeth.
Ultra combos return, and are as visually impressive as ever. This time each character has at least two combos to choose from, with some having more. You can only use one combo at a time, and this is chosen when your pick your fighter. These flashy and devastating moves are executed in the same way as before, and after taking so much damage, you can fire them off to even the odds a little. They’re as effective as ever and in the right hands can turn the tide of even the most one-sided battle.
The new combos aren’t limited to the new characters either, and all combatants have at least two. There are a number of new costumes for old characters, with the new boys having two choices (although more will, no doubt, be releasesd as future DLC).
The other major improvements in SSFIV lie with the online modes. Along with the existing modes, this instalment adds a team battle option that supports up to eight players and a replay channel that lets you view and share your best bouts.
The Endless Battle option is a great addition, and is essentially winner stays on, seeing up to eight players fight on and on forever, with the other six watching from the sidelines.
The online mode is generally far improved from the original SFIV, and with the new modes, it offers a far more enjoyable experience. Capcom has also resurrected the classic old school bonus rounds of car smashing and barrel busting, bringing back a little retro-chic to the mix.
Sadly, no real changes have been made to the single player experience, and the so-called ‘stories’ are little more than static anime cut-scenes that are often dull and pointless.
The difficulty is also all over the place, with some bouts being easier than walking and talking, and others being nigh on impossible. Still, some characters can waste the AI with repeated cheap attacks, even on the hardest level.
It’s odd that Capcom, master of balanced one-on-one combat, can’t get a decent single player experience, but as Street Fighter is all about the multiplayer, this will be of little concern to most.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting single player experience, though, you’d be best sticking with something else.
With all of these extras, and all of the content from the original, Super Street Fighter IV is a real no-brainer for combat fans. The sheer quality of the combat, variety of the characters’ excellent online modes and one of the best fighting engines ever developed make for the best game in the Street Fighter series so far, and possibly the best online versus game around.
And, with the announcement that Capcom may release a new online tournament mode and extra characters as DLC, you can’t really go wrong.
Super Street Fighter IV is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.