Graphically, the game looks pretty much the same as the previous version with some minor tweaks here and there. It's a very nice looking game and the characters move fluidly with some great animations. All the new characters look great as well, offering up the high quality models and animations that were evident in Street Fighter IV. The new levels are diverse and offer a lot more movement in the background as well. The old levels also return but the new ones adds a nice set of new locations to fight in.
The online portion of the game has gone and received a welcomed upgrade with new offerings. Battle Points, specific to the fighter, are now calculated giving you a better sense of how someone is with the cast of characters. For those that like to play with multiple characters, you'll get a more granular grade as well as an overall Player Points score. You can see for each player which fighter they are really strong in and which they are weaker in should they use a few different ones in online battles. As with all online games, your connection will determine how well the game play is when fighting someone over the Internet. I've always had a hit or miss with all of Capcom's Street Fighter iterations, although it Super Street Fighter IV seemed to fair better than Super Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting's online experience.
To try and simulate an arcade setting, there's a mode where it allows up to eight players to participate in a winners stays, loser heads to the end of the line battle. What's really cool is that you can watch the two players currently in action as well as talk with all the members of the party. It brings a virtual arcade experience to the series as it reminds me of the day where we would put quarters up on the machine to save our spot in line and watch the current players duke it out and scout what they like to do. To quiet those that are annoying, you can mute any offending person in the group and not ruin the experience with any annoying player.
Speaking of watching, Super Street Fighter IV adds a Replay Channel to the mix for those that love to watch others play. It's would be a great way to learn new techniques as you can download videos of really great players and study their moves but there are some issues to this feature. You can even go as far as turning on the moves and damage indicator to really get the information about a fight, how the moves are done, and how powerful the attacks are, but the information flies by so quickly that you can never get a good handle of it. You can invite others to watch along and talk about it as well. Unfortunately, you can't pause or rewind making it even more cumbersome to use with slow-mo being limited to watching it alone. I'd love to have a full set of video tools on hand so that I could have more control over how the video is shown. The ability to download various replays is great and the feature is so close to being very, very useful as a learning tool rather than just for entertainment. For those that are just curious about how others play will find value in the Replay Channel. I just hope Capcom improves the controls a little bit later on down the road with a DLC.
At CES, Seth Killian made sure to stress that Super Street Fighter IV had the necessary hooks to utilize DLC to its full potential. That means new characters, new backgrounds, and additional features. Sure, it was a disappointment that Street Fighter IV could not do this and you would think that any company creating a game these days would make sure this is a priority in their development, but it is what it is and what we have is a great follow up with the necessary code built in to do DLC right. I really would like Capcom to take advantage of this and lengthen the Super Street Fighter IV gaming life by making some really good additions to the game. If done right, I think they can really take advantage of the great engine they have to provide some good content and satisfy Street Fighter fans while working on (I'm assuming) Street Fighter V, as I've read Super Street Fighter IV would be the last iteration of IV.
Capcom also did good in pricing Super Street Fighter IV at $39.99 rather than the usual $59.99. It's got a lot of good content and definitely warrants the price even for those that own the previous game. Owners of Street Fighter IV who have a save game on their hard drive will get two costume colors available right off the bat. Capcom has built in the hooks needed for DLC that was missing in Street Fighter IV and Capcom's planning on issuing a free Tournament mode next month. There's even rumblings of more characters being added this way, which is what I thought the Street Fighter IV should've had in the first place. Super Street Fighter IV is a solid offering from Capcom building upon Street Fighter IV and at a $20 reduction over a brand new game, it's a definite buy for fighting fans. Even if you own Street Fighter IV, the additions to the game make it more than worth the $40 investment which.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
10 new characters, new stages, bonus stages, revamped online experience, and DLC support are just a few of the things added to Street Fighter IV to make it super. At $40, it's definitely worth your money even if you bought the previous game. The replay channel needs some adjusting though to make it useful but it's still fun to watch some of the fights if you're into that sort of thing.
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