This is a Guest review by Evil Plipster
It's a funny old world, often I look around at the rich lands of the modern gamer landscape and I can't help but be filled with an odd kind of joy at what I see. We have some of the finest games ever made coming out in our times and nothing that paved the way is really left behind so it's with that it gives me happy joy to review Super Street Fighter IV, an updated version of that game that came out a year ago. But fear not, at the tiny cost of £25 you're getting more then enough content to justify the price point.
One of the first thing's you'll notice when playing SSFIV is the noticeably expanded characters roster. Along with the old faces from the previous home version of Street Fighter IV you will see all the locked characters are available from the get-go so if there was any character you wanted to have a fiddle and a fondle with but just couldn't figure out how to unlock them through Street Fighter IV's annoyingly precise unlock system you can dive right in. In addition there's a further ten characters from all around the history of the Street Fighterverse creating a roster that will appeal to the folks that just really missed Cod and really thought what he needed in terms of character development was a bored convict routine and a shiv so he can knife his opponents.
To play the game looks as fantastic as ever, there have been no noticeable improvements or changes to the existing backgrounds or character models but much to their credit the newer additions don't stand out like a sore thumb by keeping to the same art style. Juri seems to be the centre-piece for the new characters, so it's little surprise to find out that she boasts some of the more impressive new moves that are not hard for the newer player to pick up. As always there will be some characters that you have little interest in or if you're like me, just find there are some characters that you just can't do anything with but get the feeling that the moment you step on-line you'll run right into the said character who will then proceed to just embarrass you and question your overall manliness. This brings me to the other new character for the series introduced in SSFIV, Hakan. This Turkish oil wrestler who scouts he world looking for the finest oils to pour over himself as he engages in battle is probably the greatest concept for a gaming character of all time but to play with I utterly fail to impress the cool kids on-line who proceeded to mock me as they crushed his oily head into the mud with ease.
This brings us to the on-line play, there have been some improvements to the match making system as well as some mode additions. The team battle mode where two teams of four battle against each other with the winner staying on to face the next opposing team member this opens for some interesting tactical play, there is also the endless battle play that basically keeps going on and on in traditional olde style "winner stays on" just like it was in the arcades oh so long ago. Both of these modes offer the distressing sight of one person rolling through everyone but in the correct situation this can create exciting and exhilarating experiences.
Of course for a game that hopes to keep its life over on-line play needs the characters to become the most balanced they possibly can and for the most part SSFIV has managed to tweak some things. Sagat's Tiger Uppercut may not seem to have the thwack that it used to but overall you'll need to have quite the trained eye to spot the subtle changes. Not so subtle is the inclusion of the new Ultra moves, the two stand outs to me were Juri's kick 'em to the ground then beat them to the ground to humiliate them yet further...move. And Ryu's amazing new super sexy Dragon Punch that is basically a big fuck-off Dragon Punch in slow motion showing all the jaw crunching awesomeness. Some are combos as some are just very impressive moves, but it does add a new dimension to the game-play.
In terms of sound the game keeps up to the high standards to the rest of the game, the old songs have remained in with some fantastic new remix versions as well as adding new songs for the fighting areas in the game. The voice acting remains acceptable even if the English version does seem to jar with the mouth animations at times but the stand-out vocal addition is by far the new announcer, I personally felt the old announcer is great but they managed to improve with an even better one. One can't argue with improvements in a game update even if it's on areas that didn't need to be improved so much.
Overall there's plenty to sink your teeth into here, with a streamlined match making system and all the players unlocked from the start there's little reason to not dive right on in to some on-line battles. You actually unlock new costume colours and titles as you play a certain character on or off line. The single player experience has had the return of the car smashing and barrel breaking mini-games as well as some very half arsed Anime cut-scenes that really offer no insight into...well...anything. Also there's a handy training mode that while it allows you some practice for various moves and telling you what moves are available for each character, so much of Street Fighter and especially in a more competitive environment is all about the context of the move and the fighting philosophy behind the characters and the game does indeed give you the opportunity to view ranked matches on your console as opposed to the old days when you had to go onto youtube for your tip scouting.
Overall Super Street Fighter IV is a must by for fans of the series. If you didn't buy Street Fighter IV last year then at this price there is little reason for me not to almost demand that you go out and purchase it. But if you want an excuse not to by it and frankly -not- picking this game up is going to need some major excuses to describe why you wouldn't at least want to try Street Fighter, then here it is: They cut "Indestructible" from the game. Yup, that awful song that you inevitably ended up liking from the original? Gone! Yup! Gone!
That being said, go out and grab a copy.