Top critical review
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Another year, another version of SF. Maybe they should've waited 2 years.
on July 3, 2011
[Update: July 30th, 2011- it's just been announced that a balance patch is coming out later this year. I put the link in the customer discussions section toward the bottom of this page. Provided that changes go in the right direction with all characters, not just Yun and Yang, I'll gladly come back and change my score for this game.]
[Update: July 14th, 2013- I know I promised that I'd edit my review to match the changes made when they happened, and didn't do it. I'm sorry for that, but this game is getting updates out the wahzoo. And right now I just found out that this version of SF4 is getting replaced in early 2014 with Ultra Street Fighter IV. It was announced at EVO, earning a lot of groans from practical people. So...you can get this version now and get in some good practice...then go and buy another version in a couple of months, just like most of us did. :p]
Here we are again- version number 3 of Street Fighter 4. Granted, we all saw this coming, and by this point, the only people interested in the game are either going to be the hardcore players or people new to the game. If you follow the likes of Mike Ross, Justin Wong, Mago and Momochi, you probably already have this game and have been reading about the chances made from Super months ago. For those not in the loop, Super Street Fighter 4 brings a couple of new features to the original SSF4 game:
-Yun, Yang, Oni and Evil Ryu are playable characters (and yet there are 2 more open slots on the character select screen!)
-many different online features were added to make things easier to follow and watch
-an ungodly amount of balance changes
Do a quick search for 'ssf4 ae balance changes' and click on the first thing that shows up, and you'll see a huge list of changes made to character moves, damage, hit boxes and more. Sadly, the balance changes were poorly done, and some characters that were already very good (Fei Long) were made even better. Some characters that barely had a chance (El Fuerte and Gouken) were pretty much made worse or the changes they desperately needed weren't given to them. But even worse, Yun and Yang really are as bad as everyone's saying. Yun was a god in Street Fighter 3: Third Strike, and he looks to be the same here. I'd never played him before tonight, but as soon as I activated his Super move, I pulled off a quick 9 hit combo just by randomly pressing a few buttons. Sad. And that palm attack of his? Good god is the hitbox on that thing insane- going through Ultras even after they connect and even working as an anti-air. Yang's really good too, but Oni and Evil Ryu are characters nearly every SF fan could've done without. Not Elena, Hugo or Oro? Not R. Mika or Rolento? We really needed these alternate version characters here? And get this- these 4 new characters don't even have Trials for you to get the hang of their basic combos, so you'll be needing to hit Training Mode a lot if you want to get them down. What gets me is how more characters is supposed to be a good thing in some people's minds. The last installments of SF2 and SF3 didn't have anywhere near as many characters as SSF4:AE, but they're still played by many today, and with many eagerly awaiting Third Strike Online's release in August. The new online features are very nice, and I don't get why it took them so long to get it right, but hey, better late than never I guess.
There's not a lot I can say about AE- you were either looking forward to this or you weren't. If you're the kind of person that's serious about fighting games, you'll pick it up no matter what. If you're new, I recommend going with the regular Super Street Fighter 4, and if you really get into it, just buy the DLC of AE. It's great that this isn't a full price new release game, but it's hard to justify buying it when the balance is so bad and that they didn't add many features. How about a decent story mode?
Edit: I can't believe I forgot to mention this. Arcade Edition might NOT be the last iteration of SF4. Seth Killian, the Community Manager at Capcom, has mentioned in a recent interview that the team behind SF4 is still interested in keeping things going if AE goes well. While it's lame of them to say that so soon, hey- maybe Yun and Yang will be toned down by then.