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Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Coming Home
by Jeff Gerstmann on
Whether you need a disc or you already have one, Arcade Edition will be available soon.
The road to Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition's home release has been a weird process of "will he or won't he?" Twitter messages from the franchise's current curator, Yoshinori Ono. It felt like he was going back and forth about the process, at times attempting to paint it as an internal struggle to get Capcom to release its most recent updates to Street Fighter IV for home platforms. I don't know that anyone ever truly believed that the Arcade Edition updates wouldn't make their way out of arcades, and leaks from ratings boards, which rated Arcade Edition for release late last month, certainly gave a clearer picture than Capcom was. Either way, now it's official: Yes, you will be able to acquire the Arcade Edition of Super Street Fighter IV for your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. And yes, for those of you clamoring for it, the game will be returning to the PC, as well.
You'll be able to get Arcade Edition as a $15 download if you already own a copy of Super Street Fighter IV, which is the right way to distribute what, in the grand scheme of things, isn't as large of a leap as the one from regular Street Fighter IV to last year's Super update. If, for whatever reason, you don't own Super but want to get involved now, the game will also be released on a new standalone disc. The DLC version of the content will hit on June 7, while the standalone disc will be available on June 28. The standalone version of the game will be the only version released on the PC, so don't expect a downloadable update to turn your existing PC copy of SFIV into SSFIVAE.
The biggest updates in Arcade Edition are four new characters. Yun and Yang--series veterans who first appeared in Street Fighter III--are joined by Evil Ryu and Oni, a glowing, even more demonic version of Akuma. Yeah, I'm not that crazy about it, either. The game already has its fill of characters that can throw out shoryukens and raging demons, and I'm not sure that it really needs two more. That said, the four characters get the same treatment as the existing roster, with lightly animated intro videos, voice in English or Japanese, and so on. New titles and icons will also be added to the game to further support these new fighters.
The game has also undergone a lot of balance changes, many of which appear to have been met with a mixed reaction, if the folks in the fighting game community I've asked about it are to be believed. I'm probably not the best person to judge the changes, as I haven't really kept up with Super too much after its release. As part of a desire to maintain compatibility with owners of Super Street Fighter IV that don't upgrade to Arcade Edition, the game will offer both sets of rules, listed as "v1.03" in the options screen of the PS3 build I played. On that same options screen, you can toggle between standard Super and Arcade Edition. Note that this doesn't mean that you can play one version of a character against another. If an Arcade Edition player matches with a Super player, the Super rules will be used, preventing the use of the four new characters in the process. Online matchmaking has been updated to allow players to specify if they'll accept connections from both versions or only pair up with AE-enabled fighters.
The replay channel, which lets users watch other fights, is getting an update, as well. A new "Elite" channel that showcases players with more than 3,000 PP will be added to give more players an easier way to find good fights. Replays can be shared from player to player in this new update, and you can also designate up to five players that you wish to follow, and replays from those players will be delivered to you. Assuming that the world's top players are still out there, slugging it out online instead of holing up in Japanese arcades or other offline locations, this could be a really cool way to watch some of the best fights possible.
The game will also offer support for additional downloadable costumes, so it seems safe to expect more packs of clothes for the various fighters after AE's release in June. It's also great to see the game returning to the PC. While it wasn't always a dramatic difference, running original SFIV on the PC in a higher resolution with some extra graphical effects enabled has always been the best-looking version of the game. But with other fighting games like Street Fighter X Tekken on their way, it's hard to get that excited about this final (?) update to the Street Fighter IV line.