Deadly beauty from around the world
From its opening salvo of a striking introduction and dramatic music, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on PlayStation 3 impresses. Retaining the distinctive hand-painted appearance of SFIV, Capcom's beat 'em up features gorgeously animated visuals, flashy moves and a variation of styles in both the fighters' looks and the backdrops they battle on.
While each battler has their own distinct visual personality that comes to life during the fight, the scenery around them is also alive with detail. From the dizzying heights of Metro City (home of the popular Final Fight characters Guy and Cody, who are also playable) to the open safari complete with giraffes and hippos taking in the fight, there's always something to be entertained by, whether you're fighting or not.
There are some well thought out extras as well, such as the more dramatic presentation of rival fights, where two bitterly contested characters clash in the game's main storyline. During these bouts the rivals will constantly talk and taunt each other, adding an extra layer of tension and competitiveness to the battle.
Everything to do with Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition's presentation has been designed to help ramp up the drama and fun of the game. Its polished exterior holds easy ways for newcomers to get into the action (thanks to tutorials, button mapping options and a streamlined menu), while those familiar with the series will feel right at home with the animated cutscenes and unlockable extras.
Fresh faced fighters
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on PlayStation 3 introduces four new characters to its lively arena. First up is the spritely and confident Yun, a baseball cap wearing skateboarder with a brilliant batch of attacking moves.
Yang is the second newcomer, and is a slightly more reserved and balanced alternative to his twin brother Yun. Both twins bring new fighting styles to the mix, offering an extra treat for Street Fighter III: New Generation fans.
Evil Ryu is a more sinister version of the much-loved world warrior, his noble fighter's heart replaced by a ravenous desire for bloodthirsty battles. Finally, Oni, a demonic version of the combatant Akuma, makes up the quartet of new characters.
With these new fighters ready for anything you can throw at them, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition's full roster totals a staggering 39 characters, each offering their own style and techniques. And with a sprinkling of new costumes to kit them all out in, you can now beat your foes down with the likes of Ken, Chun-Li and Guile rocking the freshest gear.
Return of the beatdown
Street Fighter IV's main strength was its compelling and measured gameplay, allowing for flowing fights and a learning curve that anyone could appreciate - and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on PlayStation 3 is equally as deep and polished. The fluidity of each battle is perfectly balanced with pixel perfect hit detection (so you never feel cheated by a punch, kick or projectile when it strikes your character), a massive move-set for each character, and a consistent sense of speed that is never overwhelming.
Playing Capcom's beat 'em up is not only about fast fingers, but rapid tactical decision making, too. While all of the fighters carry a range of effective and powerful special moves, knowing when to use them is the key to success. Many moves have counters or can be parried, leaving you prone to fight-losing consequences. At the same time, experimenting to create your own combinations unravels the secrets of your chosen fighter, making it a very rewarding experience.
There's a clear consideration for how well you play as well, through the fun Challenge mode which lets you practise with any of the characters while teaching you their moves, and the popular car and barrel smashing bonus levels have returned from Street Fighter II to nicely break up the action.
Rage against the machine... and your friends
New characters aren't the only addition to Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on PlayStation 3. While the gameplay has benefited from some tweaks to balance the abilities of each fighter, this excellent beat 'em up also has a range of extra features to make sure your multiplayer experience goes the distance.
You can still battle with friends offline and online, and now you can choose to play using Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition's extras. For those wanting to watch videos of the best players duke it out online, the Replay channel has been revamped so you can now track your favourite experts and top ranking players. These replays can be saved, so you can view and study the best fighters in the world to improve your techniques.
Make sure you don't miss all the new titles and icons that come with Yang, Yun, Evil Ryu and Oni. These give you even more choice when personalising your Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition player profile - the perfect way to celebrate a hard-earned victory over your friends.