Best Fighting Game I've Ever Played
As a newcomer to the 2D fighting game scene, I've spent about a month losing and getting my ass-kicked by online friends who are clearly superior to me. I've lost in many frustratingly close matches as well as in absolute blowouts where I stood no friggin' chance. Despite all that, this is quite possibly the most fun I've had on a 2D fighting game since Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
I'm writing this review as someone who has never played a Street Fighter game since SFII:SC Edition, and that is pretty much the only non-free form 2D fighting game I own. So you can gauge how valuable my opinion will be based on these facts about me. Read on as review one of the best fighting games of all-time.
It's a fast-paced game where the basic goal is to beat the crap out of your opponent. Simple right? Of course not. Super Street Fighter IV has the most complex fighting system I've ever seen. Not everything is a simple block and counter. There are combos that you must deal if you want to play seriously, and one complex combo can take hours, even days, to master. That's not even counting all the combos that you have to link together, or all the time you need to practice blocking (the hardest part IMO), and learning the play style of each character. You'll feel pretty overwhelmed as I did being a complete noob. However, if you can make a commitment to just practice as hard as you can, and master one or two characters, then you'll feel the effects of your hard work, and it's a satisfying experience that so few games can bring to you. Remember, training mode is your best friend. Of course, if you're a veteran to the Street Fighter series then this obviously doesn't apply to you. Either way, whether you're a complete noob or a pro the gameplay will definitely satisfy your fighting game needs for months or even years.
The game boasts a whopping 35 characters so mirror matches won't be as often as a game with fewer characters, like BlazBlue, for example. Also the variety of the characters is simply astounding. You have the Judo(?) masters in Ken and Ryu, the Taekwondo master in Juri, boxers in Balrog and Dudley, and wrestlers like Hakan and El Fuerte. Each character has a charm that makes fighting as them all the more enjoyable.
Graphics-wise this is a very pretty game. All the characters are nicely detailed along with some nice animations to their fighting moves. Everything moves smoothly with no hint of any choppy frame rates when I played it, and the lighting can certainly bring the best out of the 360 in certain stages. However, the backgrounds definitely looked like they were payed less attention to. Especially on the Overpass stage where the children's faces look like they're from the PS1 era. There are also a few stages where it just looks straight up bland. However, despite these few minor flaws the graphics excel in this game.
I hate to admit it, but the voice-acting pretty much sucks in English. Japanese isn't much much better, but it's competent enough that I don't have to cringe whenever my character talks. There are some really catchy tunes on here and it's a shame that there isn't a customize track option where you get to choose what song you want to play during a fight. The sound effects are decent, but nothing to write home about although the sound when you hit someone really hard is satisfying.
I haven't played much of the Arcade mode, but I beat it with four characters so I suppose that's enough to tell you what I think of it.
Basically, it makes absolutely no sense. I'm not going to harp on it too much because fighting games aren't known for their storyline. I will say that it's basically opening cutscene, fight three people, bonus, fight two people, fight your rival, then fight Seth, and then ending cutscene. Not exactly what I was hoping out of an arcade mode. It feels so empty and shallow that I just decided to not even bother.
Here's the mode that is the reason to own this game. Online mode. There is ranked match which pits against people at the same or better than you. The goal there is to basically rack up PP and BP through winning, Player Points and Battle Points respectively. Player Points is the amount of points you have earned over all the time that you've played in ranked. They can be lowered if you lose, and this is how skill level is determined. Battle Points is how many points you have with a character over your time in ranked. They can be lost only if you quit during a match, and basically show how much you've played (and won) with one character. This is the best way to gauge a person's skill since they don't have to worry about their skill points with a certain character dropping at all while playing. The best part is playing with friends on Team and Endless Battle. Endless is where each player takes turns fighting the party leader and then subsequently the winner of the previous match. This can lead to fun scenarios where you can end somebodies reign of terror. (Although that never happens if Symph is playing T_T) Team is basically done where you set up the order of fighters in each team and the person who was right before the loser goes next. I haven't played it as much, but it's a good way to have noobs play against different people if they go first.
All in all, this is the best fighting game I have ever played in my life. Yes, it's that good. If you are a fighting game fan and you haven't picked it up, then I must question your sanity. If you are a noob looking to start somewhere in the land of fighting games, then you cannot go wrong with Super Street Fighter IV.