Super Street Fighter IV Review: OK, Capcom, I Forgive You
A little over a year ago, I bought the long-anticipated Street Fighter IV. As a huge fan of Street Fighter II – and really,who isn’t? – I was pleased to see that Street Fighter IV was, more or less, Street Fighter II upgraded for the next generation of gaming. All of the characters from Street Fighter II were present, along with guys and gals from other games in the series, and the gameplay somehow managed to feel fresh and at the same time familiar. Still, many fans of the series – including myself – were disappointed that many characters were missing, and the online play (which, for this type of game, should be a strong feature) left a lot to be desired.
Less than two years later, Capcom releases Super Street Fighter IV. Although the game is priced at just $40 (no doubt to curry favor with those of us who coughed up $60 for Street Fighter IV), I still felt somewhat like a sucker for buying what I thought was essentially an expansion pack. After just one night of playing Super Street Fighter IV, though, I now feel that it’s money well spent.
So, what’s new about this latest version of Street Fighter? Well, right off the bat- and this may not matter to you, but it’s a huge deal to me – is that Capcom got rid of that crappy, poppy “Indestructible” song. I could not friggin’ stand that song. More importantly, though, is that you no longer need to beat the game on Arcade mode or defeat certain bosses on Arcade mode to unlock additional, playable characters. Instead, every character in the game is at your disposal immediately, like Dudley from Street Fighter III. And even better, there are 10 additional characters from which to choose, including the all-new Juri and Hakan. More on them in a bit.
The other significant improvement – and this goes a long way – is the online play. Instead of just random battles and makeshift tournaments, you can now jump in and fight someone who was playing against the computer. There’s an Endless Battle mode, in which up to eight players fill out a lobby with the winner staying on and everyone else trying to dethrone him. And there’s Team Battle, which allows you to team up with friends (or strangers) and take on other groups of players. It’s not tag team style or anything – think of it more like team bowling – but it’s still fun and highly competitive.
Other new features include the ability to watch replays of your fights or of others’ fights, and the awesome car-smashing and barrel-busting bonus stages from the original Street Fighter II are now a part of Arcade mode. Suffice to say, there’s a lot to do in Street Fighter IV.
Visually, the game is a big improvement from Street Fighter IV, too. There’s nothing too drastic in terms of changes made to the characters – Ryu’s headband now flows a bit more realistically, for example – but the backgrounds seem bigger and more vibrant than ever, and you get the feeling that you’re fighting in a true, interactive, three-dimensional location. One new stage is set in by a lake teeming with life in South Africa and during the course of your battle, three giant hippos emerge from the water and approach the screen. Meanwhile, a solar eclipse takes place, briefly darkening everything on screen. It’s pretty impressive. The other new stage is set on a skyscraper currently under construction, with the workers hooting and hollering as they watch your fight. What’s cool is that if you look carefully, you can see a statue of Mayor Mike Haggar in the background.
The gameplay itself is relatively unchanged, except for the addition of a new Ultra Combo for each character. Some Ultras are better than others, but I think it really comes down to which Ultras can be combo-ed into the easiest, as Super Street Fighter IV places a lot of emphasis on combos. In fact, I’m considering buying an arcade stick since some of the combos are near impossible to pull off with a normal controller. Has anyone tried playing with an arcade stick? Is it a significant difference?
Now, to the all-new characters, Hakan and Juri. Hakan is a big, Turkish wrestler who looks like Hellboy and employs the use of oil – yes, body oil – for his special attacks. He’s about the size of Honda but lacks the leaping ability, and the advantage to using Hakan is that his Ultra Combo can be delayed, throwing off the timing of your opponent. The other all-new character, Juri, is much more my speed, and she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite female video game characters. Samus and Bayonetta aren’t going to be threatened anytime soon, but Juri is a hell of a lot of fun to play with. She’s got a variety of kicks, an effective anti-air, and her special moves are pretty easy to pull off. In terms of what she brings to the game, though, she feels like an original character and not simply a derivative of Chun Li or Cammy. It turns out that I’m not the only one infatuated with her, as I’ve fought her more than any other character online. Well, except for Cody. People love Cody.
As you can see, I’m a big fan of Super Street Fighter IV. I can’t help but feel that this is what Street Fighter IV should have been, but kudos to Capcom for charging just $40 (instead of $60) for this newest installment. If you own Street Fighter IV, it’s worth the money for this newer, more polished, more complete version of the game. And if you don’t, well, it’s just $40! What are you waiting for? To me, this is all you can ask for in a fighting game.
By the way, feel free to challenge me on Xbox Live. My Gamertag is Pod Vicious. If I’m using Juri, go easy on me since I’m trying to build up my skill with her. If I’m Bison, though, anything goes. That’s my guy.
4.75 out of 5 stars (blood and/or fatalities would have landed a perfect 5)
Yes, need a Street Fighter game with Fatalities. Absolutely.
No PC version of this game makes me a sad panda.
Agreed, definitely worth the money. You forgot to mention that the game provides a great amount of detail with character stats, including your favorite stat – cheap victories. One feature I would like to see added is the option for a rematch (during a ranked fight), so you don’t have to waste time searching for the player you just fought.
Blood and guts in Street Fighter? I hope that never happens. SF has always and will always be for all ages.
Your SFIV skills will be greatly improved with an arcade stick, i got mine for the last installment and works excellent both on the Xbox 360 and PC. You should definitely get one.
I third that arcade stick. Do your research and make sure you get one with a nice tight box, no loose play room. No pun intended. It’s so much more precise, but takes a while to get use to after you’ve played control pad for a while.
I second that SF fatalities. I imagine Ryu throwing a humongous haduken that rips through the player. Zangief would rip them in half and Guile would stun the player before pulling out a gun.
I like the graphics of the new street fighters, I think it’s the right approach to update classic fighting games. 3D fighting games with spirits don’t make sense just from a physics perspective.
However, the combat in street fighter is too simplistic. There is hardly any depth at all, for that, I much prefer the King of Fighters.
seth is kinda avatar-esque