I’ll admit it; I’m not a huge fan of fighting games. I’ve never been a fan of memorizing long lists of combos and special moves for each of any one game’s roster of fighters, heck I’ve never been a fan of memorizing the combos for just my favorite characters. Thus, I’ve always been what is commonly referred to as a “button masher”, mashing buttons at random on my controller and hoping that whatever combination of buttons I pressed would result in something good happening on the screen. Oh, and blocking pretty much doesn’t exist to me. After all, why block when you can attack? Sure, this isn’t the greatest strategy in the world and skilled players can counter it without breaking a sweat but it’s entertaining enough, depending on the game. Despite all of that, something about the fighting genre has always intrigued me and when Super Street Fighter IV was released, at a lower than average price to boot, I decided to give it a shot.
Immediately, I felt a bit overwhelmed. This game is positively bursting at the seams with content. For starters, Street Fighter IV boasted an already healthy roster of fighters, totaling 25, but Capcom has seen fit to add ten new fighters to the list including eight fan favorites from previous Street Fighter games (T. Hawk, Cody, Dudley, Makoto, Ibuki, Dee Jay, Adon and Guy) and two new characters, Juri and Hakan. Juri is a quick and unbelievably agile Korean Tae Kwon Do fighter who can effortlessly string combos together and Hakan is a Turkish oil wrestler whose attacks are heavy and who focuses a great deal on grabs and wrestling moves.
Super Street Fighter IV has a highly varied fighting engine that has been tweaked considerably from Street Fighter IV to make the game more balanced. One thing that stands out that Super Street Fighter IV does very well is the diversity in its characters and their fighting styles. From fantastic versions of Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Muay Thai and much more that the characters utilize, there’s clearly a great deal of variety and diversity in the character roster. Even the two characters Dudley and Balrog who both indulge in the Pugilistic arts both have very different approaches to the sport as Balrog is a slower, more power packed brawler while Dudley is speedier and more agile.
Fighters all have such varied and interesting styles that it’s hard to get bored or be unable to find a fighter that caters to your playing style. For me, the fighter I’ve had the most success with is Cody. Cody’s loose but powerful style was a good fit for my button mashing style early on but segued well into actually learning his moveset, including his super and ultra combos.
I was surprised that Super Street Fighter IV is as accessible as it is. Even for newcomers such as myself and people who have limited experience with the genre. For starters, there is a training mode which makes practicing very easy. The trials for each character are a Godsend for newbies and experts alike because they offer you the chance to perfect each special move for all of the 35 characters in the roster and ensure that you’ll be prepared when you take on real players on the same console or on the online battlefield.
Multiplayer has always been one of the cornerstones of the fighting genre and seeing as one of Street Fighter IV’s strengths was in it’s online play, it’s no surprise that Super Street Fighter IV is also great in that regard. Online matches were smooth and relatively lag-free during my testing and the new online modes such as the Endless Battle, which simulates the arcade atmosphere in which the winner stays on and takes on all challengers was very entertaining.
The visual style is one of the most artistic and interesting takes on the genre I’ve ever seen. While some dislike the cartoony and highly stylized art style Capcom has decided to use in Street Figher IV and the remake, I am a big fan of the stylistic visual presentation and it is very refreshing. The art style, focusing on ink blots, bright and flashy effects and comical style is one that is very unique and original. Thankfully, it’s also one that runs incredibly well at a very consistent and liquid smooth 60 frames per second.
Considering that Super Street Fighter IV is built on such a strong foundation, it’s not much of a surprise that Super Street Fighter IV turned out as well as it did. With the new balancing tweaks, new modes, new ultra combos and, of course, the 10 new fighters which brings the total number of combatants up to 35, there’s a lot to be happy about with this re-release. Considering the budget price and the wealth of content afforded to players, there’s never been a better time to get into Street Fighter IV. Super Street Fighter IV is a great value for newbies and experienced players alike and is one that, even given my limited experience with the genre, I won’t hesitate to recommend.