[Review] Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition – More of the Same. Kinda.
Available on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Capcom; Developer: Capcom/Dimps; Players: 1 – 2; Released: July 5, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
With the release of Street Fighter IV, fighting games have received a boom in popularity equal to, if not one surpassing that of the days where we had arcade machines all queued up in 7-Elevens. For Street Fighter IV alone, Capcom has reached their third revision with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. Without a doubt, tournament players and diehard Street Fighter players will be picking it up, but the same question that haunted everyone’s minds in the ‘90s still plagues gamers today. Was this game necessary?
Have no doubt about the quality of the product in the box. The package includes both the console version of Super Street Fighter IV and Arcade Edition, which throws in numerous balance changes and four new characters – Yun, Yang, Evil Ryu, and Oni. Anyone who liked either of the previous installments will still be in for a treat. Even short of the four new characters, there are enough changes to the original cast that the metagame will feel new again. Players will have to relearn many of the characters and forget old gimmicks.
Those who religiously used airborne hurricane kicks or Rose’s Satellite Orbs as a get-out-of-jail-free card may be tempted to cry from sheer frustration, but likewise, Hakan and Dee Jay players will be sure to enjoy their newfound tricks. While arguably unbalanced and already a plague online, Yun and Yang boast incredible offensive and combo capabilities, breathing even more life into a game that’s more than a year old. Even Oni, an interesting new take on Akuma, has new moves that are unparalleled in any Street Fighter game and practically seems like a character out of the Versus series. I wish I could say the same for Evil Ryu, who only seems like a squishier version of Ryu with more offensive capabilities.
Although players may be tempted to jump straight online and play, they should be careful to not overlook the new replay options. Of these, the most notable include the option to subscribe to and keep up-to-date with match videos from their favorite players. Even match videos on YouTube become hard to sort in comparison. Happy stalking, Daigo fanboys. Otherwise, the netcode remains relatively unchanged. It’s still nowhere as smooth as some 2D games like Arcana Heart 3, but are enough to substitute actual competition if players live in the middle of nowhere or lack the drive to commute to a nearby arcade.
Competitive players may not find much to gripe about the game other than the Hong Kong twins and the unbalance we have now, which makes the game seem like an insurmountable task for the wrong characters compared to the fair odds in the console version of Super Street Fighter IV. However, I can’t help but feel Capcom rushed the product out without considering the beginners as they did with either of the previous games. Considered groundbreaking by many, the challenge mode in both vanilla Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV provided a good blueprint of combos that characters had and meant that players didn’t have to resort to old tricks like analyzing YouTube videos or lurking around on forums to learn a character’s basics.
Instead, Arcade Edition’s challenge mode merely displays a dissatisfactory message saying that it is not compatible. This is somewhat understandable because characters like Sagat and Akuma received little changes to their combo repertoire, but doesn’t account for those with large changes or any of the four new characters. Even BlazBlue Continuum Shift included new challenges for its DLC characters.
Whether or not Arcade Edition warrants a purchase is a tricky question. The answer varies largely based on the gamer. Those who didn’t pick up the original release for Super Street Fighter IV and PC gamers, who see the release for the first time, are essentially getting two games for the price of one with the disc release, which is hard to argue against. Others who have been longtime fans and already bought the release don’t need to shell out another $40 and can buy the DLC option instead. For these gamers though, they need to examine how much dust the game has collected before hitting the download button, because the game may include four new characters and a revamped Replay Channel, but other changes are so minute that only the hardcore may notice.