Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Review for Xbox 360

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Review for Xbox 360

The Best and Worst Version of Super Street Fighter IV

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is here, and long-time Street Fighter fans are rejoicing. New balance changes, four new characters, and a bunch of new online options promise to make AE the best version of Street Fighter we have available to us. Recently, I picked up my copy, and after playing both Vanilla Street Fighter IV and Chocolate Street Fighter IV (I.E. Super Street Fighter IV), and considering them both among the best fighting game experiences I have ever had, I fully expected to feel the same about AE.

Well, Capcom has always had a way of defying expectations.

I quickly realized that AE really only appeals to two groups of people: the newbie who missed out on previous installments of SFIV and the veteran who wants to squeeze some more fun time out of their favorite fighting game franchise. The game means different things to both groups, and though it has its merits in regards to both, it also has some serious flaws.

Let’s start with the most obvious improvement. AE has four new characters: Yang, Yun, Evil Ryu, and Oni. To the newbie, these characters don’t mean much, and it’s even a little confusing to tell the difference between Yang and Yun or Ryu and Evil Ryu. For the veteran, these characters are pretty fun to play around with. Yang and Yun are serious powerhouses, and are some of the fastest and strongest characters in the game. Evil Ryu is a far more aggressive Ryu with some of Akuma’s moves, and he even has a few unique moves thrown in for good measure. Oni, in my opinion, is the most interesting new character, with tons of command normals, air dashes, overheads, and lots more. Unfortunately, the characters come with the downside of throwing off the whole balance of the game. Yang and Yun are so good that they are already kings of the tier list, with Fei Long tagging along for the ride. Evil Ryu ain’t that bad either. The only “average” new character is Oni, which is a shame considering how interesting he is.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Screenshot

Aside from the new characters, there were considerable balance changes made to existing characters as well. Once again, these are totally meaningless to the new player. In fact, for a new player the game is extra frustrating because all these new changes serve to do is invalidate the many challenges available in the trials menu. Considering that these are the only tools the game has available for teaching in the first place, Capcom has basically sent newbies up the creek without a paddle.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible to learn this game if you are a newbie just coming in, because the online community has degraded quite a bit. It takes forever to find a match, and when you do, you basically play the same five taunters, rage quitters, and unbeatable pros over and over and over again. No one is willing to give a newbie a hand or show them the ropes. In fact, they are far more likely to insult your masculinity and call your mother a whore if you send any sort of message asking for advice.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Screenshot

For the veterans, the balance changes mean something, but unfortunately that something isn’t “balance.” As I already mentioned, the balance of the game is thrown all out of whack with the new characters. Previous top tier characters sank, but low tier characters weren’t really buffed all that much. Hakan is still as low as he ever was, for example. In fact, most of the online pro community has fallen back on “tier whoring.” While this is a perfectly valid thing to do—and not in any way cheap or unfair—it really gets boring playing against your twelfth damn Fei Long in a row.

AE supposedly comes with a host of new online improvements, including tweaks to the netcode that make online matches play smoother. I give Capcom credit for this, as my online matches have had extremely low latency ever since AE came out. I barely notice the lag anymore, and that’s saying something. This is something that both newbies and veterans alike can enjoy.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Screenshot

Unfortunately, time has not been kind to our old friend Super Street Fighter. The online world is now a desolate wasteland. As I said before, it takes forever to find a match and most of your opponents are dredged up from the shallow end of the gene pool. Everyone else has either moved on to other fighting games or is playing Street Fighter offline in tournaments or special events. The many little improvements to online play, like the ability to name your Endless Battle lobby, the ability to view replays of ranked battles from the ranked menu, the addition of an Elite Channel that broadcasts the replays of the best of the best, new ways to follow other players replays and broadcast your own, and of course tons of new titles, icons, and trophies, all go largely unnoticed because of how little motivation there is to jump into online battles again. Capcom has also allowed people with AE to play people with regular Super Street Fighter, which is good forethought I suppose, but in the end it really is just giving gamers an excuse to not get used to the new updates.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is sold in two different ways: as a downloadable update for Super Street Fighter IV, and as a stand-alone forty dollar game. The DLC pack is a pretty decent value. Heck, four characters for a little less than four dollars each is a value in and of itself, and everything else is icing on the cake.

The standalone disk, on the other hand, will only really appeal to collectors, because it’s kind of a rip-off. I’m not criticizing quality here, I’m just doing simple math. Go to Amazon right now and you can find Super Street fighter IV for fifteen dollars, and you can upgrade that to AE with another fifteen dollar purchase online. That’s thirty dollars … when the disk is being sold for forty. Get it?

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Screenshot

Newbies, let me stress to you that this is a horrible way to get into Street Fighter IV. The lack of tutorials is inexcusable, especially when games like Blazblue update their challenge modes when balance patches hit for free. If you want to get into the game, sadly you have missed the boat. You are much better off waiting until Street Fighter X Tekken comes out and jumping into the game fresh.

Veterans, if you like Super Street Fighter IV, there’s really no reason not to buy the DLC update. It’s mostly characters and balance changes, and that’s what everyone wants. Sure, the balance is a little wonky, but you’ll get over it. Before you know it, you’ll be having fun throwing hadokens and punishing whiffed dragon punches.

As a final thought, I’d like to say that, personally, AE is fun, but just doesn’t have a whole lot of staying power. I toyed around with the new characters, played some online matches, figured out how they changed my old mains, and then honestly just put the game down. I don’t feel the want or need to play Street Fighter any more than I did before I purchased AE, and I’m a Street Fighter fan. Even so, I honestly can’t imagine playing the game without the AE expansion at this point. So, this patch is less giving you a reason to get back into the game, and more simply keeping your game up to date. At fifteen dollars, game maintenance is a pretty good value, but at forty dollars it’s downright laughable unless you feel the compulsion to drop two Andrew Jackson’s on what is essentially a pro-only game at this point.

The graphics haven’t been updated, but they looked pretty awesome in the original version anyway. 4.5 Control
Part of the reason why SFIV is popular in the first place is its spot-on controls and well thought out gameplay system. If you understand them, then the level of control you get in this game is second to none. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music also hasn’t been updated, but the voices of Oni, Evil Ryu, and the twins are pretty well done. 3.5 Play Value
This category is better described as 2.0 for newbies, 5.0 for old pros. 3.5 seems like a good compromise. 4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • New Playable Characters: Four new challengers enter the ring: Yun, Yang, Oni, and Evil Ryu.
  • Updated Character Balancing: Features all new character balancing, further refining gameplay.
  • Updated Replay Channel: Replay Follower: Be able to follow up to five separate player replays making it easier to find your favorite players’ latest replay. My Channel Advanced: Allows players to distribute their replay data to up to fifty players. Elite Channel: Watch replay data from elite players who have a rating of 3000PP or more.

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