Super Street Fighter IV Review

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Super Street Fighter IV

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What you have essentially got with Super Street Fighter IV is a more balanced Street Fighter game that represents the pinnacle of the franchise's glittering career.

We like

  • The sheer variety of play styles
  • The refined and balanced move sets
  • The robust online features

We dislike

  • Wondering where the franchise can possibly go from here

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Anyone who read our review of Street Fighter IV (SFIV) last February will know where this review is heading. If you didn’t, or just want to remind yourselves why we voted it our Game of The Month for February 2009, then curl yourself up into a Blanka-like ball and roll on over to our SFVI homepage and read it now because Super Street Fighter IV (SSFIV) is essentially a refined, updated, polished version of that very same game.

We’re not about to cover too much old ground here then, but if you did play SFIV you’ll know that graphically it’s the finest looking game in the series -- with gorgeously colourful backdrops and wonderful animations that are at their finest when executing an orgy of feverish (yet strategic, of course) button-mashing, head-butting and face slapping violence. Suffice to say, SFIV managed to give the classic Street Fighter 2D perspective a fresh and very welcome lick of paint.

The gameplay was also something to shout home about. The iconic list of fighters have never moved around the arena better, showing off their Spinning Piledrivers, Tornado Throws and Super Onimusous with some style. Capcom cleverly fused classic gameplay with new ideas to deliver the finest fighting game of 2009. As we enthused in our review:

“While it's certainly nice to have a good mix of suitably impressive and opulently decorated arenas to battle in, it's still the fighting that shines brightest and makes Street Fighter IV so addictive and entertaining.”

That opinion still hasn’t changed for SSFIV. The foundations lay down by SFIV, and the serious as a whole, remain largely the same in this latest revision. Anyone familiar with the age-old Street Fight formula will immediately feel at home with the obligatory tournament mode, where you pick a fighter and trade Hadukens and Shyroukens across three frantic rounds before tackling the next player in the roster. Without it Street Fighter would be like eating bread without butter.

What intrigues us most about SSFIV is why Capcom is releasing it as a standalone game and not DLC, and whether it’s actually worth investing in what initially appears to be an upgraded version of game that we’re already playing. However, after spending a week in its company we’ve now come to a definitive verdict...yes it most definitely is.

Capcom has tweaked the move set of every fighter from SFIV. Gameplay styles remain the same but they’ve been refined, some more subtlety than others, in an effort to add a greater balance to the gameplay and ensure, specifically in the online arena, that some characters aren’t more over-powered or a lot weaker than others. Seth and Sagat for example, two ridiculously strong fighters in SFIV, are no longer overpowered. The damage they can dish out is much less, and the same goes for some of the weaker characters who can now punish more severely. This balancing act from Capcom has resulted in a more refined, challenging and less frustrating experience overall.

So, what of the roster? Well, all the characters from Street Fighter IV are back but there are also ten new additions to the line-up that offer up even more play styles and tactical challenges. Eight of these characters have been plucked from previous Street Fighter games, including the young Japanese Karate expert Makoto from Street Fighter II and Adon, Sagat’s student from the original Street Fighter. Old favourites such as the agile Native American T. Hawk and cheerful kickboxer D-Jay inject some new/old personality (depending which way you look at it) into the impressive 35 strong roster.

The arrival of two new characters, Hakan And Juri Han, in SSFIV is somewhat overshadowed by the addition of some familiar faces, who we were far more keen to take into the arena to see how they’d evolved. The new guys are still a fun addition to a roster that is brimming with personality and variety, but neither we speculate will ever be as memorable as some of Street Fighter's classic characters.

Hakan, the Turkish Wrestler, bizarrely covers himself in olive oil, which makes his body slippery. Though this allows him to move at speed for a short period of time it also leaves him vulnerable to attack ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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