Replay Value: 9.5
When Street Fighter IV launched last year, it practically told the world that the fighting genre has returned. Sure, Tekken, Virtua Fighter and a few other games have kept fighters afloat, but Street Fighter IV lit a fire under the genre's ass...just like it did nearly 20 years ago with Street Fighter II. Like they say, history has a way of repeating itself, and so here it is in full effect, as Capcom has published a new iteration of Street Fighter IV, much like the numerous iterations of SFII released all those years ago. Aptly named Super Street Fighter IV, this isn't just a glorified expansion that Capcom could've sold as downloadable content (which was initially the plan a few years ago). No, Super SFIV is a full-fledged game boasting a massive 35 character roster.
That roster includes the 25 fighters from the last game, in addition to 10 new fighters. Now, when talks of expanding SFIV first came up last year, it was discovered that Capcom was working on 10 new fighters, but had said they're projecting to add 6-8 new characters. Later on, Super SFIV producer Yoshinori Ono did say that perhaps they may use a total of 10 fighters if the fan reaction was big enough. The reasoning for the uncertainty is due to the length and difficulty it takes to design and implement a fighter into the game, all the while making sure the balance of the fights remains as perfect as possible. Capcom not only achieved preserving the balance, but they did end up adding two more fighters to their initial projection.
More than just adding new fighters, Capcom went back and reworked the original characters, as well, not only tweaking their balance, but also adding to their arsenal by adding or enhancing a number of their moves. I do have a complaint, though...let's no laugh at me when I admit that Dan is a character I enjoy playing with. I've liked him since the Alpha games. That said, why did Capcom make him look like such a fool in this game? I'm aware that he was always meant to be a parody character, but here in Super SFIV, it's a little ridiculous. First off, he's about 50lbs overweight, and bears the most ridiculous and uncanny resemblance to Steven Seagal. Second, he doesn't even have the same fighting stance as in past games.
Small quibbles aside, Super SFIV is easily worth the purchase. If you recall, I predicted it to retail at 39.99, which it does. And that price-point makes the game a fantastic purchase. Now, on top of the new characters, new moves, and other enhancements, Capcom has also added in bonus stages from Street Fighter II into the single-player mode. So twice during your tournament you'll be treated to some nostalgic interruptions, which includes the car destruction and barrel breaking – now if only a thug cried “oh my car” at the end of the car stage, hey, we do have a few Final Fight characters in Super SFIV, after all. Now, what's even more great about Super SFIV is that each fighter has a unique story that you'll get to see during single-player sessions...and you'd imagine that Capcom would recycle the stories from last year's game, but they didn't – so even the returning fighters have new storyboards. Awesome.
Online modes have seen new additions with the ability to play matches ranging up to 4 on 4. Now, these are elimination based matches, so there won't be eight fighters beating each other senseless on one screen. That said, it's still a fantastic way to play the game with a bunch of friends, simulating that cozy arcade feeling when you'd gather with buddies after school or on the weekends and take turns playing. Even if you have a copy of Street Fighter IV, I'd reckon that Super SFIV is well worth the purchase, considering its fairly friendly $40 price-tag.
Visually, the game has remained largely the same. Perhaps Capcom has cleaned up a few odds and ends here and there, but it isn't anything significant that I noticed immediately. The art style remains the same, and just like past Street Fighter updates, the stages here have seen a few minor aesthetic changes too. In addition to stages, some of the fighters look a little bit different, either in attire or face. For example, I noticed Ken's face doesn't look as unusual as it did in SFIV anymore, which is very nice. And of course, in addition to the enhancements, there's a number of all new stages for you to see and fight on, all of which are done very well.
Moving on, I'll tell you one thing that I was happy to hear in Super SFIV was the changed intro theme. Gone is the terribly cheesy and painful song of last year's game, and replacing it is a very well done arrangement taking cues from Ryu and Ken's themes from Street Fighter II, but largely sounding like a completely unique tune. In addition to that, because the game boasts a story for every character, there's actually a fair amount of voice acting in the game, and it's all done very well! Yes, the announcer is still a bit on the (intentionally) cheesy side, but that's a small gripe.
Super Street Fighter IV is one of those rare exceptions where it's worth double-dipping. The exception is simply because instead of just releasing the same game with 10 new characters, Capcom went back and reworked the balance, added new modes, added bonus stages, redid the storyboards, changed various aesthetic bits and pieces, and on top of that only charged $40 for it all. To me, Super Street Fighter IV is a no-brainer. I urge fans of the genre and the last game to pick this up!