|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Dimps / Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 27, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Robert VerBruggen
November 30, 2009 - It's a Street Fighter tradition. Whenever Capcom has a smash hit with the franchise, the publisher does everything it can to get fans to cough up more money for remade versions. Some gamers bought Street Fighter II three or more times to keep up with the "super," "turbo," and HD improvements, and now Street Fighter IV is eating a Mario mushroom; Super Street Fighter IV is due in spring. If GameStop's listing is accurate, the game will hit shelves March 31 at a price point of $40.
There's little doubt that for anyone who skipped the original game, SSFIV will be the better buy. Obviously, it would take a rather dramatic screw-up from Capcom to make an update that's worse than the original, and even if the $40 leak is wrong, the company has promised a less-than-full price. But for everyone else, will there be enough that's new and improved to make the game worth a second purchase? It's hard to judge by the information that's trickled out thus far, but it's very possible that devoted fans will want to part with their hard-earned cash again. The additional features are set to include new characters, some fiddling with the existing lineup, a reworked online system, and assorted other tweaks.
At 25 fighters, Street Fighter IV already had an extensive roster, but this update will add eight (a tentative number) more. Some will be original, and some will return from previous Capcom games. Juri, for example, is an original character; a spy for S.I.N., she's a Korean tae kwon do expert. Returning characters include T. Hawk and Dee Jay from Super Street Fighter II, Adon dressed as he appeared in the Street Fighter Alpha series (he debuted in the very first Street Fighter), and even Cody and Guy from Final Fight (also as they appeared in Alpha). The two remaining new characters haven't been announced yet, but producer Yoshinori Ono has said he would like to include some out-there original fighters in the vein of SFIV's C. Viper.
Tweaks to the existing lineup will involve some basic rebalancing, but most important, the developers are adding new ultra combos. A screenshot from the game even shows a different ultra combo gauge featuring what looks like the Roman numeral I. Japanese gaming site Famitsu has suggested that players can fill multiple gauges (when it asked Ono if the new symbol was the letter I, he replied, "you can also look at it like that"). We're not sure, but we expect the new moves and the new setup to force players to make some adjustments to their styles, even against old and seemingly familiar characters. That should keep the gameplay fresh for a little while longer, and maybe even prompt some players to pick new favorite fighters.
The game's online mode won't be compatible with the original's (that is, you won't be able to use a new disc to fight someone with an original disc), but it will be substantially improved. The developers say they're trying to more closely approximate the feeling of being at a live tournament. SFIV fans will get the lobby system they said they wanted, complete with the ability to watch others fight (without causing lag issues, the developers promise). They'll also get some new modes. In Endless Battle, a group of eight players fight each other one-on-one continuously, and using Replay Channel they can record and re-watch fights. There are also some new ways to set up tournaments.
There are a few smaller improvements as well. For one, the classic "car-smashing" and barrel bonus stages are to make a return. More costumes could become available. Also, in an apparent apology for making their best fans shell out more money for the same game, the developers have promised a special bonus for those who own the original game and will make purchased costumes transfer over. Of course, Capcom is keeping mum as to what the bonus might be. Like the original, the Super version might ship with an anime DVD for customers who pre-order.
As for what will not change, available screenshots show a game that looks pretty much the same. The new fighters are drawn in the same visual style and won't stand out. Whatever rebalancing takes place and whatever new moves are added, we expect most of the players to have essentially the same styles as they did before.
Whether the improvements will warrant dropping $40 is the, well, $40 question. There's no need to make up your mind yet; the game doesn't come out for more than three months, and in the interim we're sure lots of more details will come out to help with your decision. However, based on the evidence that's already available, it does seem that Capcom is making a sincere effort to improve Street Fighter IV. Those who haven't bought the original game yet should certainly wait, and those who own SFIV should at the very least give Super SFIV a long, hard look.
CCC Freelance Writer