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Super Street Fighter IV Review

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On 05/17/2010 at 10:11 PM by Nick DiMola

Nick missed the original release, but click through to find out his opinion of the "super" update.

This is the stand-out, traditional fighter of the generation. All fighting game fans should definitely grab this title.

Super Street Fighter IV is the follow-up to the popular Street Fighter IV released just last year. The game features a number of new fighters and modes, and is considered the most complete version (currently) of Street Fighter IV. To be honest, I've had no exposure to Street Fighter IV prior to playing Super Street Fighter IV. As a matter of fact, the last Street Fighter game I've played was Super Street Fighter II on the SNES. I enjoyed the series quite a bit back then, so it has been nice to see just how far it has come.

This go round is not entirely different from what I remember of Super Street Fighter II; a large roster of fighters all with a huge arsenal of button-combination moves. Each character featured in the game has a back story and a unique persona, as well as the moves to match both. With the release of Super Street Fighter IV, it seems that the entire SSFII roster is represented, which has made the transition quite easy for me.

After a few rounds with the game, I noticed that some adjustments have clearly been made over the years. Controls and movement are much smoother, combos are easier to execute, and the game just feels better overall. This was immediately inviting for me, because after a few rounds recently with the old classic, I was in pretty bad shape after the computer stomped me.

One major change from the old formula is the addition of a Super and Ultra gauge. Each one when full allows the fighters to execute Super and Ultra combos. Both are extremely strong and can take out over half of an opponents lifebar. I learned quickly while pushing through the Arcade mode that the computer is entirely capable of executing these moves on command once either meter becomes full. This made some of the higher ranked fights a bit frustrating until I trained myself to pay attention to those meters.

What makes Super Street Fighter IV a compelling experience is testing out each of the characters in the game and learning their movesets to a reasonable degree. Once building up a repertoire, it then becomes a challenge to choose your best and most effective characters from the large group, so that you may fight more competitively. Of course, Super Street Fighter IV offers up an online mode, allowing players to challenge friends and strangers across the world. Back on the SNES, the only people you could even think about challenging were friends, family, or the computer.

This brings quite a bit of replayability to the game, if you have friends who also own a copy. Like most other games, playing online against strangers almost always ends in crushing defeat. Thankfully, fellow staff members, Jason Ross, Chris Mabrey, and Luke Balicki all have the game, allowing me to play some more evenly matched fights and giving me the ability to grow as a player.

What's nice about the online mode is the Endless Battle that is contained within. Here, friends and players can congregate in groups of up-to-eight and enjoy both spectating and fighting matches against each other in an organized fashion. This allows multiple friends to get together and play online, even if vast distances separate them. Those who want to take online play a bit more serious can jump into the Ranked Mode and start earning player and battle points, which describe your skill and your time spent online with a given player, respectively.

Those looking to reach tournament level skill are most definitely catered to in both the game and the online experience. The replay mode allows players to watch how others play as certain characters, giving them the opportunity to glean information and modify their play style. Of course, the game is due for a tournament mode that is not available currently. Due for a free DLC release in June, the mode promises to add a bracket system to online play for 4 or 8 people simultaneously.

From what I can tell from my light experience with the game, the character balance is pretty decent, but like most popular fighting games, there are definitely tiers of characters. Some are clearly better than others, however no one in particular stood out to me as the best, which is definitely great to see in a game that was meant to be competitively played.

The game's biggest downfall is an inherent one to most fighting games. The learning curve is unbelievably steep, requiring players to learn tons of moves and combos, both to execute on opponents and defend from when performed. This will undoubtedly turn off many gamers, but the steep curve is indicative of the game's depth. Though I really enjoy the game, it's been made clear to me that I will never be able to perform well enough to fully enjoy it.

There is no question that Super Street Fighter IV is a fantastic game. It easily shines as one of the best fighting games of the generation and shouldn't be missed by anyone who considers themselves a fan of the genre. Though a great fighting game, Super Street Fighter IV is definitely not going to appeal to anyone who doesn't already have an affinity for the genre.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

05/17/2010 at 10:19 PM

Well now that I finally decided on a score, the review is up. I was really torn about what to score it. On one hand, I really like the game, but due to a lack of time (learning curve) I know that I'll never get to fully enjoy it. On the other hand, it's clearly the best traditional fighter of the generation, and probably in recent memory.

I was debating between 4 and 4 and a half stars, and ultimately decided on 4 after reviewing my Tatsunoko vs. Capcom review. When it came down to it, I personally enjoyed that one a bit more because it was a bit more accessible and entertaining. I have no doubt that for a massive fighting game fan, SSFIV is easily a 4.5 or a 5.

Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

05/18/2010 at 03:25 AM

I have to agree that for the general audience, the learning curve definitely merits a slightly lower score. The fact that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is so much easier to just pick up and play, and yet contains what could be perceived as a similar level of depth really means the difference between the half star, in my opinion. Both games are great, and fighting fans will want to pick up both. Those who aren't such fanatics would probably enjoy TvC a little more, though.

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