Thursday, 28 July 2011

Game Review – Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition

Formats: (PS3, Xbox 360)

When any gamer mentions the 2D beat em’ up genre, the first thing that pops into your mind is Ryu throwing a hadouken -- that is the iconic status of Street Fighter. Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition is an updated version of this generation’s staple fighter, which comes either on a standalone disc or as downloadable content. SSIV:AE adds a handful of new characters, tweaks the online content and rebalances the fighting mechanics. For hardcore fans of the series looking for the most up-to-date version of Street Fighter IV, Arcade Edition is certainly a necessity for you. On the other hand, players who enjoy a casual brawl every once in a while could find it hard to justify purchasing the extra content or buying another version of a game they already own.

SSFIV:AE follows in the steps of the first alteration to the series, Super Street Fighter IV, but does not add as much content as the aforementioned. However, four very engrossing characters join the roster, Evil Ryu controlled by the dark-hadou, Oni who shares similarities with Akuma and Street Fighter 3rd Strike favourites Yun and Yang, the quick-fighting twins.

It is not surprising that Evil Ryu and Oni share similarities in both their move-sets and aesthetics as Akuma, in essence only adding variation as opposed to stand-alone new characters. Their strong offence and easy combo ability is balanced by their low health and ability to take huge damage. Yun and Yang however, are certainly standout characters -- providing exciting rush-offence by constantly being in the face of their opponent and beating them down with lighting fast attacks. Naturally hardcore fans will of course lean towards playing with Yun and Yang because they are so different to the rest of the roster -- but the lack of challenge mode incorporation of these four new characters means newcomers do not have an easy way to learn their combos and advanced moves. This is certainly a big omission as the challenge mode was a staple part of any gamers’ way to learn the intricate elements of the characters they played with.

The rebalancing of the overall game has made Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition a different experience than its predecessor but is only noticeable to the hardcore gamers. For example, Ryu’s hurricane kick has had it’s backwards movement path modified to make it harder to avoid attacks with and Bolrog’s strafe cross now has a larger recovery time -- how many casual gamers will really pick these out as a points of interest? Most projectile-based characters have been modified slightly but these tweaks and changes won’t affect casual play in the slightest as characters are ultimately still themselves.

A welcome change has been made to the online experience -- allowing players with Arcade Edition to either battle using the Super Street Fighter IV balancing of characters, or Arcade Edition. This is handy if you are not happy with how characters have been changed in the new installment of the series and just gives gamers that little bit of choice and versatility. Of course online battling is an integral part of any Street Fighter game, so Capcom have ensured that a high quality service is present with no lag issues visible through my experiences online.

Super Street Fighter IV deserves kudos for its availability as a downloadable expansion for those who own Super Street Fighter IV, or as a standalone disc at a budget price for gamers looking to get into this generations’ Street Fighter. The changes made, predominantly the rebalancing of characters is a welcome addition to the hardcore gamers but will certainly not harm a casual players’ experience with the game. The four new characters are nice additions, with Yun and Yang being the highlights by a particularly long way and the revamped online experience helps fans of Street Fighter battle it out in even smoother conditions. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is an excellent beat em’ up that continues Street Fighter’s dominance as one of the iconic franchises in video game history.

7.5 | Gameplay |
Rebalanced mechanics make SSFIV:AE technically, the best installment in the series yet. Difficult learning curve between casual and hardcore players.

9.0 | Presentation |
A beautiful visual design both for characters and backgrounds make this a great game to look at.

9.0 | Replay Value |
The best online experience to date ensures gamers get the most out of this brawler.

7.5 | Final Thoughts |
Fighting games are not easy to pick up, but if you want to get into one, this is a great place to start. Be prepared to get hammered online while you get to grips with a game that has technically been out for a long time now and has seen a strong community develop over the past 3 years.

Igor Kharin, CeX UK Contributor.
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