Man…that’s a mouthful…
It has been 3 years since the original Street Fighter IV came out and now we have the latest iteration of this legendary franchise. If you have been staring at the massive character select screen from Super Street Fighter IV and thinking that it’s still not enough, this piece of DLC is definitely a must buy. It brings 4 new combatants into the fray, bringing the character total to an astounding 39. It also tweaks the online replay functions such as the inclusion of “Elite Channel” that showcases players with more than 3000 PP will be added to give more players an easier way to find good or at least more entertaining matches(though to be honest, I consider my matches to be quite boring even though I’m of 3500+ PP). The game also adds a host of game balance tweaks and changes (ranging from the change to M.Bison’s Ultra 2 command to the nerfing of E.Honda’s j.Mp) that no seriously competitive Street Fighter fan should miss. Now with that being said, the content being offered here is by no means an essential purchase for the average player, and especially not the player that did not flock to the arcades to play this game when it 1st came out locally(I know I did). For all but the most hardcore fans, this downloadable add-on to Super Street Fighter IV is like icing on a cake, delicious but unnecessary.
Just to be clear, I am currently reviewing the downloadable add-on version of this game, the full game (Super + AE DLC) can be purchased from stores as Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. This game is still one of the best Fighting games on the market right now. The focus of this review is the new content, which starts with Evil Ryu.
On the outside, Evil Ryu looks like a mix of Ryu and Akuma wrapped up in some of the coolest fire effects I’ve ever seen in Street Fighter. He has the glowing eyes of Akuma, a permanent Aura of Dark fires surrounding him and the “lava” pit on his chest totally turns him from a generic Akuma Clone to something totally different and unique to the Street Fighter Universe. His move set is also quite unique; he has the standard “Shoto” type moves i.e a Hadoken and Hurricane kick, he also has access to Akuma’s teleport special. However he also has a plethora of unique attacks which makes him unique, attacks such as a lunging Axe Kick capable of striking an opponent 1/3 of the screen away and a Mid-air dive kick that would make for some excellent mix ups and wake up games which forces your opponent to make some tough decisions as his standard bread and butter combos are capable of dealing significant amount of damage. Though it’s also worth mentioning that Evil Ryu has significantly lower amount of health compared to the rest of the cast.
Next on the list is the ominously named “Oni” which looks like the Love child between a Seiyan and Gouken. According to the arcade mode, Oni is Akuma’s demon form, as such he still retain most of Akuma’s attacks but he does has enough moves to really set him apart. Like Evil Ryu, his on-screen appearance is intimidating as he bristles with ominous energy and sports a glowing mass of spiky hair. Oni’s special includes a Slash attack which crosses up when the Fierce or EX version is used, the attack even allows followups. His ‘death from above” smash is also another useful tool in shutting opponents down. Even in mid-air Oni can be a danger, as he has a “jetpack” special which enables him to rapidly change is direction mid-jump, and can perform a Raging Demon super mid-jump, though this version can only land on opponents also in the air. His 2 ultras are a throwback to Street Fighter 3rd Strike with ultra 1 being Messatsu Gou Hado which is really a fancy name for a bigger version of your ordinary Hadoken while ultra 2 is really Kongou Kokuretsu Zan in which Akuma grabs a fistful of Ki and Smashes it to the floor.
The twins from 3rd strike makes their reappearance in AE and nothing has changed since; they are still quite imbalanced in the hands of even an average leveled player. They may not feature the cool factor of Evil Ryu and Oni's bevy of special moves, but they are considered to be the top pick for tournament level players in both Japan and US, even the infamous Daigo “The Beast” Umehara picked Yun as his character of choice. Yun (the one with the hat) can swiftly travel across the screen with lunging punches and spinning shoulder charges, and can deliver a quick, multi-hit rising kick. Yang (the one with the hat-like hair) is also quick to cross the screen, capable of initiating an invulnerable dash and a forward roll that transitions into a rising kick, and is a character that will definitely require practice to unravel his more effective combos.
It is important to note that a character’s effectiveness is not based on the amount of special moves available, but to minute details like the hit boxes of normal strikes, unique moves and even the amount of frames of start up and recovery a certain move has. If you're the type of player whose eyes blur over at the mere mention of details like the extension of Ken's standing light punch hit box or the slight damage reduction of Guile's flash kick, then you're not in the core market for the Arcade Edition content.
The changes in Super Street Fighter IV's Arcade Edition aren't game changing for most players but serve to further refine and balance one of the best fighting games in existence. The four new fighters are great edition to the already impressive roster. If you're an obsessive fighting fan that demands the most up-to-date experience possible, then by all means download this update to Super Street Fighter IV. But if you're a more casual fighter, this isn't a must-buy piece of content.
Ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is a CAPCOM Game, ©CAPCOM CO.,LTD. ©CAPCOM U.S.A., INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All other trademarks are owned by their respective owners.