New, improved, and rebalanced. That's the theme to Super Street Fighter 4, the upgraded version to Capcom's console hit Street Fighter 4. Featuring new characters, new ultra attacks, and a variety of new game modes Capcom is making sure that it's last iteration of Street Fighter 4 is jam-packed with new content to keep its fans busy. Some of the options may seem a bit frivolous to anyone who isn't a big fighting game fan, but it's the small details that make the difference in this title, and will end up changing the face of the game for many casual and professional players.
The biggest change in the game comes in the form of it's brand new characters. Ten new fighters in total will be added, based upon both unfilled gameplay niches and fan choices. While two of them are new, the others have been taken from a variety of older titles. Adon, Dee Jay, T-Hawk, Dudley, Ibuki, Makoto, Cody and Guy round off a cast of characters that cover the original game to the popular Street Fighter 3. Meanwhile two new characters, Juri and Hakan offer some new gameplay options for longstanding fans.
Juri promises to add a much more aggressive, in-your-face gameplay style with a lot of variety in both short and long range attacks. Boasting the ability to use both low and high fireballs, as well as 'stock' a ranged attack for instant use later, Juri can cover a lot more ground than most other fighters can at the cost of a lower defence. Hakan on the other hand, provides players with a much more silly (though fun) throwback to older character designs. A Turkish wrestler who douses himself with oil before every match, Hakan's character appears to be all about range-control. Armed with a variety of throws Hakan has the ability to 'oil up', which makes his attacks extra effective and provides additional range and damage to a wide variety of his moves. Older characters have also been tweaked to make for a more balanced experience, and extra ultra attacks have been added to all characters (new and old) for a bit of customization.
The new gameplay modes that have been added are a welcome touch to the game, and it's great to finally see a company go the extra step to make fighting game fans feel as appreciated as any other genre. Multiplayer has been tweaked to include options standard to most tournaments, such as a ladder system and team battles. A spectator mode and match recording have been included, in addition to other options all designed at giving players a chance to make the most out of their game.
It goes without saying that most multiplayer games are competitive, but it's nice to see a company finally address the need for tools that help a community thrive and grow. However it's difficult to say if the community will make the best of the tools given to them, or if the new characters will actually help balance the game's unstable roster. With luck the new characters (and general character tweaks) will combine to give a lot of really balanced variety to the series. Be sure to check in a few weeks from now when Gaming Union gives a full review of Super Street Fighter 4.