Review: Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition DLC

Is Capcom's latest DLC offering for SSFIV worth the Price?

The Street Fighter series is known for many things, from its fast and fluid fighting system to its robust character options, but one thing that has been more a mark of Street Fighter than any other fighting game is Capcom's love of releasing multiple copies of each title. Each one is tweaked with new character balancing, new modes, options and very often new characters and the series has made quite a name for itself (as well as a running joke) over the fact that you can expect to see between three to five versions of each SF title. The classic Street Fighter II for example, began with a humble eight characters and ended with seventeen (as well as completely reworking all of the art and several movesets for the original fighters) over five successive versions.

Street Fighter IV, Capcom's newest entry in the franchise, has continued with this practice, first with the release of the stand-alone Super Street Fighter IV, and now with a downloadable expansion that will knock you back $15, but will update your copy of the game to the new "Arcade Edition" with new characters, balances and online options. But at $15, is this update worth it?

Whats New:
Once purchased, Arcade Edition will net you a couple of things straight out of the box. The first (and most attractive to the average player) is the inclusion of four new characters: Two what-if characters (Evil Ryu and Oni) following a different twist of the games lore, and another two fighters who, like Dudley or Makoto, are pulled in from Street Fighter III's roster (Yang and Yun). These characters are the real attraction of the update for most, and adding them onto SSFIV's already impressive roster leaves you with an awe-inspiring 39 characters to choose from. The downside is that Street Fighter's gameplay tends to gravitate towards players picking from a few select characters and then never looking back, so unless one of these new characters stands out for you, you might be paying for something that you never use.

The new characters do add an enjoyable amount of variety to the game. Evil Ryu is a faster and more combo friendly version of Ryu who sacrifices health to compensate. He's similar to the classic Ryu, but plays a bit more like Akuma then Ryu. His introduction is golden for the series and there will definitely be a dedicated player-base for him as the game continues to grow (which fits since the character has existed as a favorite fan-hack for years).

Oni on the other hand is a much different beast, a powerhouse character with short range and directional attacks that require skill to use effectively. Oni is effectively AE's version of a boss character: difficult to use, but incredibly powerful if used right. I can honestly say that I have had a lot of fun with him thus far. His creative in-air special, which launches him opposite the chosen direction of the attack, is an effective aerial -counter as well as a dodge move and I once, once pulled it off with enough timing to clear my opponents Dragon Punch as I jumped over him.

Yang and Yun on the other hand are more technical characters, with unique moves that focus on quick rapid combos and knowledge of how each move performs in every situation. Like other technical characters, it's clear that they will both require substantial practice, but the payoff is a powerhouse offense with the ability to close distance across the screen with startling speed. Even just goofing around I found myself enjoying Yun's dashing punch, which coupled with his Super special let me cross the screen in moments before leading into a juggling combo.

Arcade Edition isn't entirely about the new characters though. While they may indeed be the attraction point for the average player, the more dedicated players will be equally interested in AE's balance tweaks. The list isn't long (which is not a surprise given that SSFIV was already considered a high mark for balance) but if you're a dedicated player, you might be happy to know that X characters invincibility frames during a certain attack has gone up by one, or that a certain move has more or less priority. As an Ibuki player I was glad to see that little about her had changed (as I could feel it) from SSFIV to AE. However, I was happier to see a slight nerf to Ryu's power and priority to make him far less of a spammable character. Like I said, if you're a dedicated SF fan, the balance changes will probably make you happy (unless you're a Ryu player), but unless you're really dedicated, it's hard to say that this alone makes it worth $15.

There are a few other small changes to the online system (mainly concerning a better replay system) but aside from that, what you see is what you get. If you plan on making one of AE's new characters your main, determined to make use of the new balancing, or you're the kind of player who wants to have every character available for parties, then AE is worth a purchase. However, if none of the characters look interesting to you, you might be better off waiting for a sale on the DLC (if that ever happens) or skipping it altogether. It's got some deep value, but only if you're a dedicated player. To any other players, $15 is just a steep price to pay for four characters.

Image credit: Capcom

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