Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition Review (XBLA, Xbox 360)

Posted by Jim Cook, Jun 13, 2011 09:49

Important Technical Note - Multiple Versions Exist: Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition has two different versions, one of which requires a functional copy of its predecessor. The Xbox Live Arcade download, costing 1200 Microsoft Points/$15 USD, is considered an add-on/DLC for the previous version of Super Street Fighter IV (not just regular SFIV, but Super) and you will have to have that game’s disc or the Games on Demand version in order to play. The DLC release is already available at time of writing, though a stand-alone retail disc will be released on or around June 28, 2011 at roughly $40 USD MSRP.

Super Street Fighter IV Arcade EditionThose of you who were around for Street Fighter II’s arcade run back in the 1990s probably remember that Capcom fell into a nasty habit of issuing incremental upgrades to it. There was Championship Edition, Hyper Fighting, Super, Super Turbo... all of these games added something new, but they were modest improvements and after a while it became hard for all but the most diehard players (such as those who to this day adore Super Turbo as a classic fighting game) to justify buying into it. Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition represents an unfortunate return of this same trend, but admittedly offers enough new content that a fair number of players can probably accept it while others may have had their fill of Street Fighter IV in any form by now.

Arcade Edition is still very much the Street Fighter IV that you know. It’s still a 2D fighting game with a huge roster of characters beating one another up with punches, kicks, throws, energy fireballs, and so on. It’s not a revolution, merely a gradual evolution whose major offerings are new characters, tweaks to existing ones, and some improvements to the interface; particularly how you view replays of previous fights. Any one of these things on their own might not be very compelling, but when put together they make for a decent product and it’s worth discussing each one in some detail.

Virtually every returning character has been changed in one way or another, a series of ’buffs’ and ’nerfs’ that seem intended to make some characters have to rely on more varied plans rather than repeatedly using a specific attack over and over, or mean to otherwise improve or weaken them to be more in line with the average fighters. On the positive end, you have characters like Guy; he now does less damage on some of his attacks but instead has the extra speed and reach that he needed. On the flip side, there are several characters who lost far more than they gained and it has been a matter of some debate whether these served to make them reasonable and average fighters or were too harsh. More surprising may be that some characters ’improved’ mostly by virtue of other characters becoming weaker, indirectly solving their problems against those foes. Some of these changes are obvious and intuitive, others more subtle and require study, but they’re a somewhat mixed bag regardless.

Perhaps less exciting but still welcome are the changes to the Replay Channel. Sharing your match replays with others has been made a little easier, and you can even find a specific player’s matches if you know their Gamertag/username. The addition of ’Elite’ channels shows you only matches by highly rated players, which helps narrow down what quality of fights you’ll watch in this mode but finding matches for specific characters is still somewhat difficult. Nonetheless, even these incremental changes are welcome and one can only hope that more fighting games implement these same features.

Next: New Characters and Conclusion

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Our Rating for Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition Review (XBLA, Xbox 360)
7.5 Overall
The good outweighs the bad in this latest version. Most of the new characters are worthwhile (if somewhat unvaried) additions, match replay improvements are welcome, and the balance changes at least help make some weaker characters viable. We’re nonetheless seeing diminishing returns on the third version of the game; so this one won’t change your mind if you’ve already had your fill of Street Fighter IV.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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