Gaming Today Beta Impressions for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
For the purposes of this piece, I’m going to ignore the glitches in the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix beta, because it is a beta after all. Yes, there are numerous system-crashing game freezes, sporadic audio at some points, and some slow-down. The point of a beta is to identify problems like these and fix them, which I’m assuming Capcom will do before they release the full game. That said, I’m going to be very, very upset if they don’t correct these bugs.
Anyway, with that out of the way, let me say this for the game: this is destined to be one of the best XBLA/PSN games to come out this year. Period.
The first thing noticeable about Super Street Fighter HD Remixapalooza is that the new visuals are sharp. It’s like meeting that one nerdy girl you knew in middle school years later and finding out she’s grown into a hottie. The animations are hand-drawn and smooth, giving the characters much more defined features. The term “new coat of paint” has never applied to any game more than this one. Hell, even just watching a match can be visual feast.
Super Street Fighter II Ridiculously Long Name HD Remix still retains that same feel as the classic game, while adding a few new twists. Most of the changes in gameplay will really only be recognizable to those who played the hell out of past games (like me). For the beta, only Ken and Ryu are available. In previous Street Fighters, they’re differences were minimal; but for this one, there’s a few more differences that can have a huge impact on a match. Ryu’s “fake Hadoken” is surprisingly useful, as you can often trick someone into trying to dodge or counter, leaving them open to an attack. Conversely, Ken’s got a few new kicks and a faster Dragon Punch, which can unfortunately lead to some very cheap juggling tactics. Aside from that, there’s also a few minor changes in attack trajectories and such (I’m sure a more detailed list of changes could fill a rather lengthy book).
A “Super” meter also fills on both sides during a match, much like in past Street Fighter Alpha games. It’ll take almost a whole match to fill it up, but then you can unleash a devastating special move that takes off half a lifebar from an opponent. Of course, these can be blocked, but if that first hit lands, you’re as good as dead. Some people have claimed this is unfair, but I just see it as a way to get matches over with more quickly. A very nice touch that goes along with these new moves though is that if you just want to play a match with just the classic moves, you have that option too.
One predictable flaw: the Xbox 360 controller is not suited for this game, and yes, it’s because of the D-pad. In a game completely reliant on timing and twitch reflexes, you want a suitable controller at your disposal, and the one for the 360 does not deliver. Far too many times, you’ll get hit because your character jumped at your opponent when you meant to throw a fireball or something like that. Worse yet, you’ll have different problems depending on which side of the screen you’re on. You could have an easy time throwing a fireball out from one side and then find yourself jumping spastically on the other side. Unfortunately, in my experience, the PS3 controller is only slightly better. Really, I wish I could somehow plug my SNES controller into the game somehow. However, playing people online is so much fun that I may end up buying a controller with an arcade-style joystick just for this.
The online multiplayer is probably handled about as well as a fighting game could be. Player matches put you into a room with other players, where you rotate into matches and take on the winner. It’s the digital version of switching the controller around with people in front of the same console, like in the old-school days. You’ll have to wait for others to finish up their fights, but there’s a sense of pride that comes with de-throning someone who’s had a long stay in the winner’s spot. You also enter someone else’s tournament or create your own with up to eight people. Again, there’s a sense of pride here, but now for beating ou four people in a row for the top spot. Of course, I really would like to see a “Mute All Players” option, since sooner or later you’ll run into some d-bag spouting off through the mic. That, and some more detailed personal stats, since you can really only see your win/loss ratio on the leaderboards. Me, I want to know how often I played as a certain character and won, or how many “Perfect” matches I had; that sort of thing. Also playing against friends locally can still lead to hours of fun (single-player however, isn’t available for this demo).
Bottom line though: I’ve got my old “fighting game callous” building up on my thumb from playing this game so much, even with only two characters and having to restart my console periodically. Playing against other people online can be incredibly addictive, even if you get beaten a lot. I can only imagine what SSFIITHDR will be like when there’s a full roster of characters, levels, and more players to compete against. I’ll be sure to report on that when the full game comes out though.