Super Street Fighter IV First Impressions

Frame Data, sparkling new Tier-Lists, and a multitude of new match-ups. To the average gamer picking up Super Street Fighter 4, this may not be much of an issue. However, to the seasoned player looking to sink their teeth into the new features, tweaks and robust additions, it’s everything they dreamed of, and more. I retired from religiously following meta game information such as this when I stopped playing fighting games last year, as trying to comprehend it all in the midst of an online match costed me many victories. As I drove home with Super Street Fighter 4 safely in my possession, much of what I left behind many months ago came flowing back to me.

Although some cynics may say Capcom periodically polishes their existing games by sprinkling a new coat of paint and some extra content, SSF4 dispels that rumor immediately at the sight of the budgeted price tag. At $39.99, a couple obvious improvements sweeten the deal.

Ten new characters bring the new character roster to 35. Joining the fight is Guy, Cody and Adon from Alpha, T-Hawk and Dee Jay from SSF 2, along with Dudley, Makoto and Ibuki from SF 3, to name a few. New faces are Juri and Hakan, which I have yet to fight against. They seem interesting enough as far as new characters go, at least. Going through hurdles like unlocking characters by beating the game ad nauseum with a bunch of flunkies you hate playing is well, as nauseating as it always was. Right out of the box, everyone is ready to play with, even Gouken. Every character has at least two Ultra Combos, selectable before the start of a match similar to Street Fighter 3. This is only scratching the surface, but damn, looking at all 35 people while my game box still smells new is a treat. There’s nothing like going from Guile, to Cammy, and then getting quickly remembering how to take down Dudley.

I got to my third match on Medium in Arcade mode, and it was over – I was getting my ass handed to me more times than I could count. I am really out of street fighting shape. The comprehensive training mode is back again, and spending an hour or two on getting my fundamentals down brought my game back up to an acceptable standard, enough to not feel like a scrub anymore. I won’t show my face online for a little while, though.

Still, even with the new additions, SSF4 isn’t a completely new experience. Whether you’re a Street Fighter enthusiast or a fledgling to the series in general, the best way to ease into this game is to remember that it’s a supplemental improvement to the original. If you passed up SF4 the first time around last year, this is the golden opportunity to catch up on what you’ve been missing out on, as well as enjoy the new material everyone else is eagerly celebrating.

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