Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Review

On June 7th, Capcom made good on its promise to release the perennial beat-em-up’s latest DLC pack – Arcade Edition bringing players a taste of what arcade fans in Japan have been doing since early this year. This week, Capcom released a retail version of the game for those that didn’t pick up Super Street Fighter IV the first go-round. We covered it before and as excited as I was to initially report that it would be coming to the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 I can say this:  I’ve seen what fighter’s heaven looks like, and it is as good as it gets.

First things first, SSFIV:AE gives players four new characters to humiliate their competition choose from: Yang, Yun, Evil Ryu, and Oni. Each with their own unique fully animated intro and ending movies, move sets, and full Ultra Combo animations. For those that buying SSFIV:AE as a disc don’t fret, every single character is available straight out the box. So unlike Street Fighter IV, there’s no waiting to get those top tiered characters.

SSFIV:AE also offers various upgrades to the online gaming experience, though some features will admittedly get less use from gamers like myself. One of the most lauded feature is the ability to subscribe to your friends’ replay channels. So the shit talking can continue long after you’ve ended your match.

Speaking of online play, SSFIV:AE gives players an opportunity to play against SSFIV and AE users without having to switch between which version they are playing or alienating one group from the other. If you’ve got either version you can choose who you play against or simply go up against anyone in an Endless Match. There are some exceptions but the general gist of it is that you can either choose the original SSFIV experience over the AE version. Also, new to SSFIV:AE is the ability to name lobbies you create giving hosts an option to easily point out who they want to face (say you want only players who’s player point rant is 2000-2500 you can name your lobby ‘2000-2500 Only’) or just be a general douche about naming schemes (‘I pwn n00bz’).

There have been subtle yet important tweaks to the gameplay in terms of the games physics. Slight changes like improving on hit box regions for characters, power/damage tweaks to characters. Fei Long though not the most powerful attacker can now take a bit more damage than in SSFIV; alternately Sagat’s standing fierce kick is less the equivalent of an atom bomb against an aerial attack, now it’s more like the Iron Curtain.

Another important tweak is to charge characters like Balrog, Bison, Guile, et al. SSFIV:AE puts the breaks on players that have down-awayed their entire gaming careers with any of the charge characters. Gone are the days where you could block to light attack spam your way to victory. It’s not perfect but it’ll make you rethink your strategy if this sounds familiar to you.

Last notable improvement to game play was making Akuma’s Raging Demon super a useful tool offensive tool instead of a gimped attacked that leaves you vulnerable. That half-second pause where Akuma will push his opponent is gone; so step up your game and watch those Super Meters.

The main draw here for both returning gamers and folks picking it up for the first time is the 4 new characters to the game. SSFIV:AE brings to the fold 3 previous characters: Evil Ryu, Yang, Yung and one all new character to the Street Fighter universe: Oni. Each character has been given their own storyline with accompanying animated intro and ending movies in arcade mode as well as unique Super and Ultra Combo sequences. Without giving away anything from each story, Capcom really did right by the fans.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is available now as a DLC for $14.99-PSN/1200 MS Points-XBL or as a full disc for $39.99.

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