Giant Bomb Review

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Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Review

5
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Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is a top-notch redesign that makes intelligent changes to the gameplay and balance while also offering a perfectly viable online experience.

The classic struggle of speed vs. power rages on.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is probably a game that Capcom should have made a long time ago. Or, at least, the mentality behind this game should have been employed long before this point. With a series of intelligent updates and a real attention to detail, it feels like HD Remix was done by a group of people who understand the source material and treat it with an appropriate amount of reverence. The end result is a game that raises the bar for modern remakes and updates of classic games.

HD Remix is, as the name implies, an updated version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Super Turbo was the last in the Street Fighter II line, and it's a game that built upon (and repaired) a lot of the changes made in the previous game, Super Street Fighter II. Super and Super Turbo essentially rebuilt the Street Fighter II experience with new moves, new characters, and newer, more powerful hardware underneath the hood. Some of the changes were positive, but there was definitely a downside, too. A new announcer and a lot of new character voices appeared here, and some of them were downright awful. Also, the CPU opponent got way more difficult, to the point where you could only really enjoy the game if you were playing with a similarly skilled human opponent. On top of all that, the Street Fighter II series had already been around for three years by the time Super Turbo was released. I don't know what you were doing in 1994, but I was sort of done with Street Fighter II and getting into other fighting games, so I never really gave Super Turbo much thought.

OK, that's probably a bit more history than you actually require. The key thing to know is that HD Remix rebuilds and rebalances Super Turbo, and the changes all feel intelligently designed. The look of the game has been completely overhauled by the comic book artists at Udon, resulting in crisper, better-looking characters and backgrounds. You've never see a chicken get choked so clearly until you've seen the updated version of Chun-Li's stage. The dude getting drunk in the background of Zangief's level has never looked better. Of course, the fighters themselves have also been redone. For the most part, they look great. The animation, however, throws the whole thing off a little bit. In order to keep the game running like it should with the same timing that players are used to, the developers didn't add a bunch of new frames of animation to the game. The result is that you see characters who should move really smoothly, like a Guilty Gear game or something. Instead, they animate just like they did back in 1994. This is, actually, the right move. Smoothing things out would ruin the gameplay. But it still looks a little odd in spots. If the new character art really bothers you, you can disable it to go back to the original sprites. You can also disable the default 16:9 view and take it back to the original 4:3 design. But there's no option to restore the original background art.

Even Akuma seems to play fair this time.
The audio has also been carefully overhauled. In places where it made sense to keep the original Super Turbo voices, they've been kept. In cases where the Super Turbo audio was terrible--like the stupid announcer or Guile's voice--that speech has been replaced. This actually fixes my top complaint with the original games. Guile now says "sonic boom" the same way he did in the older Street Fighter II games. And the announcer sounds like a new recording of a guy doing everything he can to sound like the old Street Fighter II announcer, not the guy from Super. It's all in the way he says "sevennnn!" All of the music has been remixed, too. The new music is pretty good, mixing up some of the styles of the source material to form tracks that sound enough like the old music to get by. If you like, you can disable the new music and return to the versions from the original Super Turbo. The voices won't revert back to the originals, but since they constitute an improvement across the board, that's not a big deal.

While the most obvious changes to HD Remix are purely audiovisual in nature, there has also been a lot of work done to the characters themselves, the way their moves behave, and even the way some of them are performed. This was done in an effort to rebalance the game and make more characters viable in top-level, tournament play. If you're not already up on things like how many frames it takes for Sagat to recover from a tiger shot, or the properties of Ken's dragon punch, you probably won't notice most of the changes. Some of them are far less subtle. Honda's jab torpedo can now travel through and destroy projectiles, giving him another way to close the gap between him and his opponent. Ryu can now do a fake fireball, which may entice your opponent to jump in. Moves that required three button presses can now be done with two to help make the game easier on a gamepad. While you might not notice all of the changes, the outcome is a great game that feels more balanced and more entertaining from top to bottom. That's something that players of all skill levels can appreciate. It's what Super Turbo should have been all along.

Of course, all of this would be for naught if the online side of the game didn't work. So the best part about the game is that the online has the ability to work incredibly well. I'm playing with a fairly standard DSL connection at home, and most of my matches felt perfect. Of course, you'll always run into some laggards from time to time, and in high-ping matches, the game acts completely crazy. You're better off using the custom match option to find games, which lets you see a player's ping before joining up. I routinely encountered ping times under 100, and occasionally as low as 30. These matches felt A-OK.

Super Combo Finish!
In addition to the basic ranked match, you can also get a group together for unranked matches. There's also a tournament option that lets up to eight players collide in a bracketed tournament, though you don't actually get to watch any of the other matches in the tournament. There are also some other smart but minor things in play here, like the way the game doesn't show you what character your opponent is picking ahead of time. This prevents players from trying to create specific, advantageous match-ups by waiting for the other player to choose a fighter.

In recent history, re-releases of old arcade games has been a trend, but it's also been a real non-event. Most of these games received a quick coat of fresh paint, which usually made the game look worse. Things like online play are only included in their basest, most simplified form. HD Remix makes most of those older releases look like cheap cash-ins. It may cost more than most arcade updates available for consoles today, but with the number of important changes being made and its extreme attention to detail, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix sets a new standard for downloadable arcade games... even though I still think Blanka's face doesn't look quite right.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
78 Comments
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Posted by lightwarrior179

Excellent review,Jeff.

So glad that I can finally do some Street Fighting on my 360. :P
Posted by Hammersmith

Surprised to see no mention of the difficulty of Akuma in the arcade mode. He's hard! Beatable, eventually, but seriously I can't remember the last time I've gotten such a quick ass whooping in a fighting game.

Posted by headcase

Fighting isn't my forte so I can't comment on this, but Capcom seems to have kicked ass in the retro department as of late. Mega Man 9 and now this. Keep 'em coming boys.

Posted by The_Icon

So...5 stars...again .

Posted by eternaLightness

Played this a few days ago at my buddies house. Had a blast.

Posted by Clockswork

Yes start with the half stars or raise the bar to 10 stars, please :/

Posted by frenchdork

I believe for Giantbomb 5 stars doesn't mean a perfect game, it means that it's a must have.

Posted by liquidfkinfire

Its good to know i'm not the only person that thought the new art for blanka ( both the portrait and sprites ) is actually worse than in super turbo.  Aside from that, really the game is amazing.

Posted by English

Too many people seem to have pre-defined notions of what 5/5 means. Throw that away, because giantbomb has a different rating system.

Posted by Usagi

Greatest downloadable title ever so far!

Posted by HiroSeven
Posted by GreggD

On the subject of OC Remix's...Remixes, I really hate what they did with Dhalsim's stage music. It was my favorite.

Posted by Bgrngod

Wow, my fiance and I are all over this.  Glad it turned out on the good side of average.  Got the arcade sticks from VF5 all ready to go!

Posted by ocdog45

how about you mention ps3 gamers are better then 360 players since you were getting stomped on the ps3.

Posted by zityz

I played the demo and its mad fun, once im done with the other stuff in the stockpile i'll pick this up, mostly for the online, most of my friends are not fighting game fresh.

Posted by lasafrog

Man I'm grateful for two things right now:

Street Fighter and Jeff Gerstman.

Nice to have them both still around and rad as ever.

Posted by Wildfire570

Man Jeff, you make the some great reviews! I was getting interested in this game too but right now I'm kinda confused on what game to buy on the Xbox Live Arcade! Its either this or something else I dunno lol

Posted by HomoPocket

LOVE the game but I have one complaint, and it's a pretty dumb one. But I was totally disappointed that they omitted the animated intro sequence of Ryu bouncing up and down followed by shots of Cammy, Chun Li, and Akuma. I friggin loved that intro.

Posted by Zerodash

I can't believe how much better T. Hawk is now.  He is pretty much a brand new character.

Am I the only one who counts Hyper SF II as a legit entry in the SFII series? 

Posted by NateDogg

A great review for a great game!

Posted by shanegodfrey

As much as this game is great and balanced and all of that, I feel like a few characters are still unbalanced. Yea akuma is now weaker and is now not an unfair character to use. And yea some of the new moves are cool like ryu's fake fireball. But some of the larger characters (ehonda, thawk, and zangef) all seem to be extremely over powered and have a GIANT reach across the screen. I had some kid beat me online with ehonda and only hit me 4 times. That shouldn't happen. If you get grabbed by any of the above mentioned characters, you will probably die because half of your life is gone. If cammy grabs you and drives your head into the ground, it does about 1/10th of the health bar in damage. But whatever I get it, they are bigger and should do more damage; but really...four hits for death from ehonda just does not seem fair.

Posted by dsplayer1010

@BlackWaterCO 

He likes fighting games and thinks this is a great one. Why the grain of salt?
Posted by manny_styles

I wil always love Street Fighter but more Street Fighter II.  All of the Street Fighter II incarnations focused on strategy because of the gameplay, but I feel that its not soo much nesseccary in Hyper Fighting Remix!!!^_^

Posted by MindChamber
"Smoothing things out would ruin the gameplay"  So Jeff, thats pretty much bogus.  The game runs on 60frames, as do most older games, and bascially when you are seeing is a set of extreme frames, theres plenty of room to add animation.

The REAL truth, is this game was alot more overwelming than a comic book crew can handle.  Just because you can draw, does not mean you can animate., and attempting to adjust certain frames with bad anatomy instead of animating it all from the ground up  ends up with bad rotoscoping effect with jerky animation.


Posted by DECA555

trophies?

Posted by Sunjammer

People are just boring morons up in this place. GB will give 5 stars to games they want to give 5 stars to. Why? Because they want to! If you're terrified, read the user reviews for comparisons. GB are not a one-stop source for game reviews period. They are, as far as i can tell, a one-stop source for game reviews of high profile titles, and it's REFRESHING AS HELL to see a site with a more positive angle that isn't afraid to let OBVIOUS personal bias shine through. Because they don't owe us motherfuckers shit; It's opinion.

Stop your bitching you statistics whores and play the demo. I'm not a big super + turbo xtreme streetfighter 2 fan (SF3.3 for me), but this is easily the best SF2 iteration yet. That it's playable on the 360 stick online is just perverse; not entirely sure how they put that together. I actually like playing Sagat now. What the hell.

For an SF2 or 2d fighting game fan, this is a 5-star game, and Jeff is a 2d fighting game fan. OOH COMPLICATED. Jesus christ. Go back to IGN or whatever.

Posted by benred66

holy shit



100%  this game kick ass

Posted by Bozo

I don't even play street fighter, and I have been completely compelled by this games competence.
It makes me want to be a better player, and looks absolutely stunning in HD.