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I don’t know, man. I just can’t get INTO Street Fighter IV. And even though all my friends say, “It’s just like Street Fighter II, it’s just like Street Fighter II,” I just don’t feel it, man. It seems far too awkward compared to SFII for my tastes, and it definitely feels like a step backwards after the stellar Street Fighter III. If you want to see me rant some more about it, you can find my thoughts on it here, as all my complaints for Street Fighter IV remain the same for this latest incarnation.
Still, I know a lot of people liked Street Fighter IV, and more power to them. So I’m going to review this latest entry in the series as if I was one of those people, because if you’re a fan of the last game, then you’re going to love the hell out of this one.
Now, before I get started, here’s a brief history. Back in the mid-90’s when Street Fighter II was bigger than Jesus, every couple of years you’d find a new version popping up in arcades with some added new feature that wasn’t advanced enough to make the game considered a true blue sequel. First, there was Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, which allowed you to play as the four formerly unplayable boss characters: Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison. It was a worthy entry in the series that, at the time, seemed entirely necessary. Next, Capcom made a super fast version with the suffix Turbo, which everybody really liked. Next, they added four MORE characters in DeeJay, Cammy, T. Hawk, and Fei long and plugged another new title to the mix, calling it SUPER Street Fighter II. Swell, okay, so where’s Street Fighter III already? And finally, they made yet ANOTHER addition to the franchise, calling it, are you ready for this, SUPER Street Fighter II TURBO, which pretty much solidified the fact in gamer’s hearts that Capcom was basically saying, "Screw you, you’re not getting a true sequel and that’s that."
Now, back in the 16-bit era, if you wanted four new characters or faster gameplay, you pretty much had to buy a brand new game which was pretty much the same as the last one that you already had but with a few new additions, which totally sucked. But, lo an behold, now we’re living in the age of downloadable content, and we don’t NEED to suffer through any of that garbage anymore. All we have to do now is just plunk down a few extra bucks on our credit card accounts, and voila, revamped game without ever leaving the house. Isn’t technology wonderful? But the reason I bring all this up is because somehow, Capcom found a way to essentially make you pay for the exact same game all over again with a few extra bells and whistles like they used to do back in the 90’s. How is this even possible? Granted, it’s a whole $20 less than the copy you probably already have in your library, but really, you’re pretty much paying for the EXACT SAME GAME. So, what should you do then? Should you buy Super Street Fighter IV, and feel screwed all over again just like you did when you were a kid, or should you say, "Screw you, Capcom, I’m not giving you anymore of my money." You’re not screwing around with ME anymore. Oh, no, I’m much wiser now. And stronger! Well, I can honestly say that you should choose the former option over the latter in this case, as Capcom truly went the extra mile with this one. Honestly, I actually can’t believe that they’re not charging FULL price for this baby, as they truly overstuffed it this time around, making for a fully complete game.
Let’s start out with the characters first, shall we? Now, in all honesty, there are really only two new characters if you’re a Street Fighter junkie like myself, as all of the others characters have been in previous entries in the series before, most notably, Street Fighter Alpha, and Street Fighter III. This is just fine with me, as playing as Dudley and Adon is the naz. But I do have one problem with this: Guy and Cody, both from the Alpha series just don’t feel like they did back in the day. They feel slowed down to fit the whole SF IV momentum, which is just fine if you’ve already settled into that groove, but if you haven’t and you’re expecting the ninja quickness of Guy in the Alpha series, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed, as he moves about as fast as his animation will allow him to.
Still, when added in with the other characters who were already on the roster, that makes it a total of 10 new faces in SF IV, which is quite a bit of characters for an update and much more than would be suitable for downloadable content, so I guess the price is just about right for all the new characters you’re getting. But as for the REAL new characters, I’m a little torn if I really actually like them or not. Juri is a master of Taekwondo, and she’s a good character, but I find her a little boring and don’t really find myself satisfied with her on the roster. Oh, well. The other is Hakan, a Turkish oil wrestler. I think I like him quite a bit more because he’s a bruiser, making him fit comfortably with say, a Zangeif or an Abel, but he’s also quick, like a Ryu or Ken. He’s also a truly unique character—sliding on the floor and grabbing you, only to have you slip out of his greasy grasp—and I can see myself using him in online tournaments…as soon as I get to those, I should say.
Oh, and about online play. Now, a lot of people I know thought SF IV was pretty good online but had a few snags to it, mainly unbalanced characters who could be exploited to the extreme. But I’ve been reassured by all my friends that SSFIV fixes all those problems and is much more balanced this time around, so Sagat users won’t be cleaning house so much anymore, which is good, because Sagat sucks.
Also, for all of the previous characters, new ultra combos have been added, as well as new story modes, so even if you beat the game with Ken before in the last game, you might want to play as him again so you can see what happens next with his pregnant wife, Eliza, and his family. I mean, it’s not like the story is any better than it was before, but if you’re like me and have to see EVERY single ending in the game, then it’s nice to see that new ones have been added. Again, it’s just another sign that Capcom went the extra mile with this ass-kicking baby.
So, overall, if you loved Street Fighter IV, then you will be head over heels for this latest installment, as its new characters, new stories, new moves, and more balance, make it worth the $40. But if you’re like me and are in the stark minority who DIDN’T really love the original Street Fighter IV, then this one’s not going to make you a true believer either. Still, the price is certainly right, so get it. You know you want to. Hadouken!
Platform(s): PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360