Giant Bomb Review

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Super Street Fighter IV Review

5
  • PS3
  • X360

Super Street Fighter IV adds enough great new content to justify skipping over the "Champion Edition" and "Hyper Fighting" steps in the Street Fighter upgrade path.


Hakan will oil up and destroy you.
If you are still interested in playing Street Fighter IV, it's worth your time and money to upgrade to Super Street Fighter IV, an updated version of the game that adds 10 new characters, new backgrounds, a new announcer, new moves for every character, and a light coat of rebalancing that might only be noticeable if you're extremely serious about fighting games. The online mode is still the star of the show, and the options available for Internet-based fighters have been streamlined in some ways and expanded in others. While you'll probably notice a few spots here and there that could have been better, the game's $40 price tag ends up making SSFIV feel like a terrific value that anyone with even a passing interest in fighting games should be able to get into on some level.

SSFIV even makes some attempts to help lesser players get better by giving you way more opportunities to watch other players fight. The new Endless Battle mode is essentially a better name for "Quarter Match," and it allows up to eight players to get in and fight forever--two players throw down while the rest of the players watch and wait for their turn to fight the winner. The game also has a new "replay channel" option that lets you view other online battles, as well as the ability to save any match you're watching for later viewing. The last 30 of your own fights are even saved automatically, giving you ample time to study or, if you like, save them.

 Juri has a lot of basic but effective attacks that should help new players feel at ease.
Once you've saved replays, you can invite other players to connect to you and chat while watching replays. However, the whole system lacks a proper search function. So if you're, for example, trying to find the world's greatest E. Honda players and glean a few tips from the way they fight, the best you can do is either sift through a short list of the latest replays and hunt for a Honda icon or pick the "originals" option, which only shows replays that have at least one of the original eight World Warriors in them. There are other channels for the characters that come from the Alpha series, boss characters, and so on. It's a neat idea, but it'd be a lot more useful if you could set some search parameters like "show me all of the Honda matches where Honda beats Sagat" or something like that. With the right tools in place, this could have been an entire Street Fighter-themed social network. Instead, it's a fun curiosity that should have been more useful.

The single-player game hasn't changed much. You can still mash Zangief's lariat over and over again to beat the AI on its hardest difficulty setting, and even if you aren't just spinning your way to free achievements or trophies, it's not the sort of thing you'll want to stick with for any serious length of time. The great news is that, unless you're fiending over achievements, you don't really need to touch the single-player at all, because all of the game's characters are unlocked from the get-go. As you select fighters in any mode, you'll unlock their additional costume colors and taunts. So jumping online with reckless abandon--or at least just limiting your single-player experience to the training and challenge modes--is probably the way to go. All you'll miss are some new rival battle exchanges for the new fighters and some mostly lackluster opening and ending videos.

Aside from the Endless Battle mode, SSFIV also has a team battle option, where two teams of up to four players can fight it out. The winning player stays on to fight the opposing team's next player, leading to potential one-character victory situations where one player runs through an entire team by himself. There are also ranked matches, which have been streamlined to get you into a game more quickly, instead of presenting you with potential choices for opponents, all of whom invariably get matched up with other opponents while you're still staring at the list. The online performance seems to be just fine, as it was in the previous game.

The training room is a great place to keep it classy. 
The game's 10 new characters come from all over the Street Fighter universe, and they include two brand-new characters that already feel like a lot more fun than the four new fighters introduced in the previous arcade release. Juri is a lithe little lady with a speedy mid-air dash kick and some ground-based flip kicks that make her fast and fun to use. Hakan is the exact opposite, a big grappler with crazy ultras and the ability to oil himself up, which makes him a more effective fighter for a brief period of time. Figuring out when to apply oil without getting hit is tricky, but Hakan's wild techniques are worth the effort.

The other eight characters represent other eras in Street Fighter history, and include a trio of Street Fighter III fighters. While I'll probably never truly figure out what makes Makoto tick, Dudley and Ibuki are fun inclusions. Guy, Cody, and Adon represent the Alpha series nicely, even if I'll never be able to accept Cody's "bored prisoner" character. The other two New Challengers from Super Street Fighter II, T.Hawk and Dee Jay, round out the cast. Between Hakan and Zangief, I feel like the grappler quota is already well-filled, though Dee Jay's cross-ups are still in effect.

The new characters bring the total up to 35 fighters, which is a healthy number. Each character has been given a light once-over with balancing issues in mind, and every character now has an additional ultra attack. Like Street Fighter III's super art select, you'll pick which ultra you want before heading into battle. Ryu's new second ultra, the Metsu Shoryuken, is really just a big-ass dragon punch... but the visual effects and sound design for it blow away almost everything else in the entire game. It's an amazing move that looks and sounds like the victim's just going to explode or something. There are a couple of other visually striking (and even more extremely useful) new ultras in the game, but Ryu II takes the cake. Most of the others, new and old, pale in comparison.

 New players (or people who didn't spend a lot of time with SFIII) might find Makoto's moves tough to comprehend.
Other parts of the game's presentation have been redone, as well. There's a new fight announcer, a lot of new (and great) music, and a whole new batch of titles and icons to unlock as you fight. There are some great new backgrounds, too, including a Metro City-themed stage and another that takes place during a solar eclipse. Also, on that particular stage, hippos wander up as the fight continues, and they look on as you pound each other. While the graphics haven't been completely overhauled or anything like that, Super Street Fighter IV is still a great-looking game.

On top of all that, SSFIV comes with a nice, full-color manual that does a respectable job at teaching brand-new players the basics, from what the buttons do to the concept of canceling one move into another. However, there's still a big, tutorial-shaped hole in Street Fighter IV. You're left with the impression that if the challenge mode would just show you what it's asking you to do before you do it, or if there was some even more basic training that would show players how to properly use focus attacks and dash cancels, more introductory players would go on to become better, smarter street fighters. Of course, a fighting game is only fun if you're matched up with like-minded, similarly skilled opposition, and in this respect, the game seems to be able to help you have fun, regardless of your skill level. SSFIV makes last year's fighting game a lot better, and it does it at a less-than-full retail price. Like I said up top, if you've got any interest in fighting games at all, Super Street Fighter IV is a killer deal. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
146 Comments
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Posted by Dtat

I might actually buy this!
Posted by Yummylee

Just another small push towards me getting this.
Posted by turbomonkey138

GET HYPE NOW !

Posted by Jeffsekai
@turbomonkey138 said:
" GET HYPE NOW ! "
GET HYPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Posted by RampageAssassin

Can't wait to play this. I've been playing SFIV lots in preperation for this

Posted by Rhaknar

i need this game so bad >_<

Posted by HoChiWaWa

Sweet

Posted by Masonvd

Why do fighting games never have proper tutorials? :( 
 
Make it so hard for newbs to get into it. Like wtf is dash cancel?

Edited by Legend

Five stars! Hell yeah! Can't wait to oil up.

Posted by Jayzilla

I can't wait to play it, but it still baffles me about the training modes, and also the fact that a player is in control of seeding tournaments. That should be automated, because as we all know, people don't have biases, especially in fighting game tournaments :P

Posted by BenderUnit22

Expected. Can't wait for this game.

Posted by floodiastus

5 stars really? I think the whole 2d-plane fighting feels stiff and the controls brings nothing new. It's still like playing the old street fighter but with 3d graphics and a few new improvements. 
 
Still 2d-fighter fanboys will love it, so I can see where all the love is coming from. 
 
I am still awaiting a new Def Jam 2 followup (and yeah Icon sucked balls) :)

Posted by Katajero

For any Street Fighter fan, it makes super sense to purchase this on day 1 and take note that it offers WAY more than the first game. Unless you're a die hard Alpha 2 player who misses mashing the 4 buttons for the combo mode.

Posted by nail1080
@floodiastus said:
" 5 stars really? I think the whole 2d-plane fighting feels stiff and the controls brings nothing new. It's still like playing the old street fighter but with 3d graphics and a few new improvements.  Still 2d-fighter fanboys will love it, so I can see where all the love is coming from.  I am still awaiting a new Def Jam 2 followup (and yeah Icon sucked balls) :) "
hahahahahaha Def Jam better than Street Fighter....joke comment right? :S
Posted by BatmanBatman

Jeff gave this 5 stars...  hmm Im surprised ^_^

Edited by Cleric

Never really cared for the replay feature in the first one, not gonna care now. Besides, if you want to see the real top players in action, you can do it easily by other means (alas without input display).

Anyways, I can't wait to try out some of the new characters, and hopefully get good with at least one of them.

Posted by GunnBjorn

Okay, i didn't buy SFIV in 2009. 
I just might, might think about getting this one. 
Question: Will SSFIV be compatible on-line with SFIV?
Posted by TooWalrus

Picking it up this afternoon.

Online
Posted by Bayne

I need to get some money this just became a must buy. But with the awesome price tag i don't need to find much.

Posted by Bluethunder35

Trading away No More Heroes 2 straight up for the PS3 version of SSF4 tomorrow at Best Buy Canada. The best just got better.

Posted by TripMasterMunky

Hopefully I can trust this review more than Jeff's crap review for the first SF. Hardly mentioned anything about online last time, one of the main reasons a lot of people get the game, only to get it and find out there was no kind of quarter match mode whatsoever.

Edited by Brackynews

This review is relevant to my interests.
 

@Darktoad450  said:

" Why do fighting games never have proper tutorials? :(  Make it so hard for newbs to get into it. Like wtf is dash cancel? "

Jeff has said similar things. Video tutorials and the like. The fact is certain echelons must be broken in to, and those communities simply don't want us fly-by-night types sullying the grounds. Despite the desire for profit, the developers of those games are also part of an elite community. There are plenty of fighting games for newbs as you say.  DoA and Soul Calibur are accessible and have tutorials to a degree. You can mash and have fun. Street Fighter needs a bit more commitment.
Posted by TheOGVandalvideo

Time to go into the heat of battle.

Posted by Schizoid

Man, I really wish I had the money to buy this.

Posted by MasonL87

I will totally be picking this up first thing tomorrow morning. Got my fightstick all warmed up and I'm ready and raring to go.

Posted by Parsnip

So was there something in this one that the owners of SF4 would be able to unlock? I remember hearing about it, but never knew what it was exactly.

Posted by Th3_James

Buying a fightstick soon.

Posted by ShadowVirus

Already pre ordered this and can't wait for it to arrive!

Posted by Brake

Not that I needed any more convincing (pre-order in the bag), but great review anyway. Bummer about replay mode. Guess I'll just stick to Youtube.

Posted by Aishan

Really looking forward to this, even having not played a Street Fighter game since SFII Turbo on my Mega-Drive. 
 
Friday can't come fast enough.

Posted by Mezmero

Well done on the review.  I was staring to question if there would even be a review.  I thought the simple existence of the first game would automatically cost it one star.  But who am I to argue with Jeff?  Looks like this game is the real deal.  I remember when I was just about to buy the original, this game was announced.  So I knew I had to wait.  I can't believe I was able to hold off on buying the original for so long but it looks like it was worth the wait.

Posted by sn0wman47

On the side where it states the ESRB rating it says "M" instead of  "T".

Posted by mubress

Stupid United Kingdom, why do I have to wait until Friday!!!

Posted by Cleric
@mubress:
I feel your pain man. Italy salutes you, lol.
Posted by Katajero

What the, what's with everyone saying there's no tutorials?! Okay, there are loads by searching the web, but in-game, aren't the Challenges technically tutorials? I mean they put up commands for you to power through, Hadoken, BAM. Shoryuken, BAM. 
 
The challenge mode was the tutorial, since it consisted of you perfecting moves and combos, while also asking you to do other things such as dash cancelling and what not. There was the tutorial!

Posted by TheYear20XX

Welcome back to the stage of history!
 
...wait.

Posted by Onigenko

Man, sometimes I hate being European. But yeah, HYPE!

Posted by mooncake

you get colour 11 and colour 12 for owning street fighter iv vanilla. 
 
also, if you want to get serious and become good in this game, then you already know how, and don't need in game tutorials.

Posted by cjmhockey

I would probably consider buying this, even though I already got SFIV but with the announcement of MvC 3, I am going to hold out on buying this.

Posted by EDfromRED

 I'm thinking of picking this up for the 360. I just have the regular controller though, and was wondering if the combat greatly suffers without a fighting stick. Anybody have any insight on whether the regular 360 controller suffices?
Posted by Scooper

Good review. I can't wait to get my hands on the game.

Posted by s0ck

Preordered it already and for the low price i think its worth upgrading. 
 
I have to find some use for that tournament stick   :)
Posted by Stang

Hype has reached god like levels.

Posted by giancarlo123x

Damn it, too many good games. I might pick this one up. I put about 100 hours into SF4 and sold it a long time ago. I always miss it now and then. Ill be sure to pick this up sometime in the near future.

Posted by JJOR64

HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPE

Posted by Floppypants
"However, there's still a big, tutorial-shaped hole in Street Fighter IV."
which makes this game completely worthless to me.
Edited by DavidSnakes

5 stars after pointing out the absence of a tutorial?  35 characters if anything is a drawback.  So much clutter, so much to wrap my head around, it sounds like a second job.  Pass

Posted by lonelobo77

cool
Posted by Cirdain

Never!!!

Posted by copycatzen

Great review!
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