The Street Fighter IV series has had an incredible run. Having single-handedly bringing the genre back from the dead, Capcom rode the wave of success by releasing Super Street Fighter IV, which was an excellent update to the original. In fact, Super Street Fighter IV was so nice, I bought it twice. Now, Capcom is closing out the Street Fighter IV series with Arcade Edition, which is available now as DLC for Super Street Fighter IV owners for $15, or as a separate disc for $40.
At the price point of $15, it wouldn’t be fair to expect as big of an upgrade in Arcade Edition as was found in Super Street Fighter IV. However, I think that what you get at the price of $15 is a reasonable offer if you’re looking to spice up your copy of Super Street Fighter IV. In the DLC, you’ll get four new characters, character-wide balance changes found in the latest arcade version, as well as a number of new replay features.
Let’s talk about the characters first. You’ll get Yun and Yang from the Street Fighter III series, as well as Evil Ryu and Oni, who is the final form of Akuma. Evil Ryu and Oni are alright additions, though their fighting styles are already heavily represented in Street Fighter IV with Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Dan, and to an extent, Gouken and Sakura.
While Evil Ryu and Oni may not set the world on fire, the two characters that are grabbing the headlines are Yun and Yang, at least among the hardcore crowd. Besides the fact that they’re really fun to play as, there has been rumblings in the hardcore fighting game community that the twins may be over-powered. Based on the time my friends and I have spent playing as Yun and Yang, I’d have to side with the community on this one. They have a lot of great offensive weapons that much of the cast can’t deal with. Unless you’re playing this game at a high level, you probably wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with Yun and Yang. If you are, it’s really annoying to face off against a good Yun or Yang player, though they’re still beatable.
The rest of the cast haven’t been forgotten, as everyone has received some tweaking in Arcade Edition to make the game more offensive-friendly. While the hardcore crowd will cheer or whine over the subtle changes made to frame data, hit boxes and move properties, the average fighting game fan likely wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Super and Arcade Edition. As a Rose and Cammy player, I am kind of sad to see my characters get nerfed, but maybe I’ll find new characters to play as or simply adapt to the changes.
As for the replay channel stuff, it’s a step in the right direction for fighting games. Super Street Fighter IV already had the best suite of fighting game replay options available, and they get better here. By purchasing Arcade Edition, you get the ability to follow players like you’d follow them on Twitter, and receive updates on when they have new replays to watch. You can also send replays to your friends, and easily watch high-level play through the game’s Elite Channels. The upcoming release of Street Fighter III: Third Strike promises to include YouTube support, which would have been nice here, but for now this is a nice step up.
If you have any sort of interest in the fighting game genre and have yet to make a splash with any modern fighting game, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is a great place to start. I’d recommend you pick up the disc version when it’s out at the end of June. Everything that made the Street Fighter IV series amazing still holds up, from the easy to learn and difficult to master gameplay to the solid offline and online feature set. The nitty gritty stuff about the balance changes and the new characters at this point won’t hurt your experience.
However, if you’ve had your fill of Street Fighter IV and aren’t itching to go back, I don’t think this latest upgrade is for you. Arcade Edition is likely only to appeal to the hardest of hardcore Street Fighter IV fans who won’t be alienated by the balance changes and the addition of top-tier Yun and Yang to the fold. As much as I love the Street Fighter IV series, Arcade Edition isn’t going to be enough to fully engage me like it used to. I’ll play this with friends when they’re online, but my quest to be the best will most likely continue with Marvel vs. Capcom 3 or Mortal Kombat.