Super-Sized Fighting!

User Rating: 9 | Super Street Fighter IV PS3
Oh mama…don't let them hurt me!

So, eh, yeah… I got Super Street Fighter IV (SSF4) after having really enjoyed the heck out of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom (TvC). I grew up on the original Street Fighter, so I wasn't completely oblivious to its demands as a fighting game. That being said, I haven't really touched the series since that first one hit arcades, oh, so many years ago. But I still lived to tell my tale…

We just got our PS3 this past Christmas, and though the original Street Fighter IV looked really appealing, it also intimidated the hell out of me. Six attack buttons, a myriad of joystick inputs, Focus Attacks, EX attacks, Supers, Ultras…ugh, I would pass out just thinking about it all. But like I said, TvC ended up being the perfect gateway drug, giving me the guts to try SSF4.

Boy, am I glad I did. No, I'm not using a fighting stick; no, I'm not using a fighting pad. I'm using the regular ole Dualshock 3, and it's serving me fine…for now. I do think I would eventually like to graduate to a stick, but for the time being, I feel like I'm able to get down the fundamentals okay as is.

And the fundamentals of this game are simply amazing. I'm sure for diehard fighting fans who came out of their mamas' wombs with a fightingstick in hand might have plenty to complain about with SSF4. For me, though, it's a $40 package that is smacking me in the face with an abundance of value.

You probably already know about the new characters; you know about the new modes, etc. All I can do is report back on what it's like for a relative noob. Yeah, the game's damn brutal at times, especially online, but every time I notice myself getting just a little bit better, it's a major triumph – totally rewarding.

The online is also damn-near perfect. If there's one thing I want to point out above all else it's that you can check people's disconnect rate. In case you didn't catch that the first time, let me repeat it: YOU CAN CHECK THE PERCENTAGE OF TIMES A PERSON HAS DISCONNECTED DURING RANKED MATCHES. This is huge. If there's one thing people complain about a whole lot when it comes to these types of games and online play, it is rage quitters. Sure, I'm an old geezer, but I, too, hate being robbed of my victories.

The only real complaints I have with online play are that match making is dubious and sometimes other players still lag even when they show up as having four green bars (the maximum) for their connection quality. You can select an option to be matched up with players of your same skill level, but the player points are often way mismatched, and you end up fighting (more like being used as a punching bag) against players who are way out of your own league.

One last gripe, and then I'll wrap this up. During the Trials for each character, there's no replay option to show you how each move is supposed to be executed, nor a hint system to explain the timing or difference between Cancels and Links. Techniques such as Buffering and Chaining are things you'll have to learn elsewhere, and it can be frustrating when first starting out.

Still, the package is pretty darn amazing. For $40, I've got a game I'm sure to play for years to come (so long as Capcom doesn't surprise us with an Ultra Super Street Fighter IV Turbo HD Deluxe Remix). It would have been nice to get the costumes included for free, rather than as DLC, and I was hoping to be able to find the Indestructible opening as an unlockable. Those minor quibbles aside, this is THE fighting game to buy right now. It's gotten me and my whole family excited about the genre again, and I can't put the game down. No, I don't plan on ever taking on Daigo or Justin Wong, but I'll enjoy my little slice of fighting heaven while it lasts.