Although lacking extra incentive, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is still an addictive, beautiful fighter.
With Super Street Fighter IV, Capcom learned their lessons well by tweaking the game's balance and adding in ten more characters for gamers to choose from. What changes players will discover here in Arcade Edition is unfortunately little. Fortunately, there are some positive additions that will make players forget about its predecessor for a long time. For starters, the aforementioned changes for this latest installment is obviously apparent with the inclusion of four new challengers, two of which we've previously seen before while the other two make their debut as playable for the very first time. Ryu can no longer control himself and gives in to the dark side, becoming Evil Ryu, while Oni Akuma believes himself to be a terrifying god with unstoppable powers. Yun and Yang, whom we last saw in Third Strike, skateboard and rollerblade out of their home and jump into the frying pan in order to test their skills against the best fighters in the world.
Yun and Yang are twins that are both aggressive and deadly, focusing on hitting you with fast, powerful strikes and can juggle their opponents in the air, rendering them helpless for a good while. They are considered fan favorites among the community, so do not be surprised if you face your fair share of the duo online. Meanwhile, Evil Ryu has been granted new powers, such as the ability to teleport in either direction, and can land some quick combos with the aid of an axe-wheel kick and Oni Akuma is a dangerous combination of Akuma and Gouken, their moves deadlier than before, to give him an advantage against all of his foes that dare to cross his path. Both Evil Ryu and Oni Akuma are powerful and can easily finish you off quick if caught off-guard, but there's a terrible price to pay, as their health can be drained quickly and can be stunned in a matter of seconds, so those who intend to play as either character for the long haul should keep this in mind and make sure to incorporate good strategy both offensively and defensively.
With the addition of these new fighters, balance must change and unfortunately, it's not for the better. Yun and Yang are completely overpowered and very dangerous in the hands of an expert, making them feel god-like, whereas the rest of the cast is completely nerfed to the point of where they can still provide a fight, but are considerably less weak than the twins. Even Evil Ryu and Oni Akuma, who are brutal with their own strength, would do not well against the twins, who prove to be too-powerful. Capcom should have taken more time to polish up the balance and put everyone on equal footing instead of making a few characters stand out from the rest and making it harder for players to win their battles with fighters that may or may not get the job done, depending on how good or bad they are. Super Street Fighter IV did well in this front, but Capcom failed to get the job done well, making this a big disappointment. On top of that, if you want to learn new combos or moves in order to gain a better understanding for the newcomers, then it will have to be done through trial and error, as Capcom decided not to include challenges for all four of them. This is frustrating, forcing the player to discover on their own how good they can be instead of giving them a basic idea of their potential and how far they can go with it. On the other hand, it's a positive journey to go through and you may even be surprised of the results, as long as you're willing to stick with it and stay dedicated to the path of being a better player with these new fighters.
To make matters worse, small, new changes that were seen on the arcade were not included on the console versions, such as the lack of a new title screen or not seeing new cut scenes for the rival fights between the newcomers and their main foes. Why Capcom decide to omit these small, yet significant changes will forever remain a mystery. But one thing is for sure; it does hurt the overall package and holds it back from being an excellent fighter that has it all. Still, the good news is that if you've never played any of the games before Arcade Edition, then there is still plenty to do. From smashing cars and barrels to understanding why all the characters have a reason for participating in the tournament and what happens to them after it's all said and done, there's a lot of replay value to be found here and that's a good thing. Even if you managed to unlock everything, testing your fighting skills against some of the best in the world is an incentive for gamers wanting to be better than before, as no fight will play out the same way and gamers will either win or lose, forcing them to either keep or discard strategies all the time.
Visually, Arcade Edition is exactly the same as its two predecessors, the characters animated and full of life, each of them different from the other. The game runs very smoothly on either platform and the only time when it can be bothersome is when you're playing against an online opponent that has a bad Internet connection, bringing in a lot of lag and hurting your chances of winning the battle. All the stages teem with life, especially in stages that involve people. When hit, they will react and when you win or lose, some will shake their hand or leap with joy, so just about all of the stages seen in the game never remain stiff and boring to lay your eyes on. There's also no problems with the game's sounds either, as the music from the previous two games return and you can switch between Japanese and English voice acting at anytime. None of the music tracks are forgettable and some can even stay in your head for days, including the character themes as well.
Truth be told, Arcade Edition may be a great addition, since it boasts four new characters and has been rebalanced from the ground-up, making sure every fight stays interesting, no matter who you decided to play as. Unfortunately, the lack of extra content is what ultimately holds it back from being the complete package it should have been. But the excellent visuals, impressive soundtrack, entertaining gameplay, and the incentive to take your skills to the rest of the world will make players from all ages come back for more, so either if you decide to buy this game via downloadable content (DLC for short) or through the retail player, in the grand scheme of things, you really can't go wrong with Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.