As it’s a beta that is mostly focused on online performance, there’s not too much to it. There seems to be one background (Ryu’s stage), and you can only pick Ryu or Ken. Also, it’s multiplayer-only. You can play local matches or get on Xbox Live.
That leads me to a problem that I think has plagued every Xbox Live Arcade fighting game. SSF2THDR sticks to the standard Xbox Live “ranked match” and “player match” stuff, where you have to decide if you want to host a match or join one. This is a two-player game–hosting or not hosting shouldn’t be an option. I should just hit an “I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY YOUR GAME OVER THE INTERNET: RANKED” button, it should find another player who has also hit that button, and match us up.
Back when Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was new, you would run into cases where you’d keep getting matches against the same group of players. That’s because I kept hosting over and over again, so I was only getting matched up with the joiners. To get a fresh batch of players, I had to become a joiner instead of a hoster. It’s probably easier to build a game using the standard Xbox Live online options, but that doesn’t make it right. This is something I hope Capcom changes before the game’s full release, but I’m doubtful. There’s probably some TRC standard somewhere that states that every game needs to use this setup, and getting it waived by Microsoft would probably be a hassle. Maybe the eventual PS3 release will work a little differently.
The online performance seems like it’s capable of being just about as good as you’d want it to be. I’ve been in matches that felt just fine. Of course, I’ve also been in matches with higher pings, where I’ve seen it suddenly jump from me landing a dragon punch to me getting hit with a hurricane kick, or a match that was too stuttery to be playable, but really, that comes with the territory–when it comes to online performance in a game that demands accurate timing, the only constant is chaos.
I’m not enough of a high-level Super Turbo player to really feel much difference between the remixed mode and classic mode. Remixed is getting rebalanced to make some characters a little more interesting in high-level play. If you prefer the standard arcade version, you can go back to original mode, which lets you pick Super Turbo and Super versions of the characters.
While it’s definitely not my favorite flavor of Street Fighter II, this update of Super Turbo does look pretty cool. The comic book types at Udon have churned out some nice, smooth-looking character art. But even though the fighters and backgrounds look better, all of the timing and gameplay of the original is still intact. Obviously, that’s the right move, but having such high-quality art without any additional frames of animation looks a little weird.
All things considered, the beta’s impressive if you’re in the group of people who care enough about this sort of thing to get excited over a remake of Super Turbo. But Super Turbo’s never been my favorite flavor of Street Fighter II, so I guess I’m only half-excited? Either way, it definitely appears that Capcom cares a lot more about this release than it did about the last downloadable Street Fighter release, which can only be a good thing.