Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix is the second Street Fighter game to hit the XBLA, the first being Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. While that was a faithful representation of what long time Street Fighter fans know and love, it didn’t have a lot to bring in a new wave of Street Fighter fans as its graphics were old school and not up to scratch in the new HD era. Can the new look that SSF2THD sports pull in some new Street Fighter fans in time for Street Fighter IV in February, or is it just another port of an old, but not tired game?
The answer to the above question is Yes and No. The reason I say no is that although it has a fantastic new look and the same awesome gameplay, to a degree it still doesn’t differ from anything we have seen before. Having said that, I personally think that even if you haven’t played Street Fighter before, the gameplay is so good that any fighting game fan will fall in love with SSF2THD and even casual gamers will too. Gameplay is what makes Street Fighter so special. It is why there have been so many different versions of the Street Fighter II game and why it was THE arcade game to play in the 1980’s. Myself turning 30 in March this year, I have seen the evolution of the Street Fighter brand, in particular Street Fighter II, and believe me, SSF2THD plays just as good, if not better than any version before it. The smoothness of the character movements, the responsiveness of the controls and the way you can put combos together, makes this game extremely addictive. There is just something special about Street Fighter that for me, still makes it the best fighting game engine ever made. Don’t get me wrong the gameplay isn’t perfect, as there can always be improvements in the responsiveness of the controls, especially with the 360 D-pad and there is a glitch in the game which you won’t notice most of the time but can be annoying. It is when you are right up close to your opponent and you try a heavy punch or kick, sometimes it just goes straight through them as if they are not there and does no damage. This is a bug that really should be fixed, but luckily won’t affect that much on your fights.
SSF2THD is more accessible to the casual gamer than most fighting games. I am not saying the game has no depth, that couldn’t be further from the truth, what I mean is that a complete beginner can pick up the game, learn a few moves in a matter of minutes and at least be competitive. Of course, as with every fighting game, you will encounter opponents that know their character extremely well and it will be almost impossible to beat them, but at least that is not the majority of fights you will participate in.
SSF2THD has the best visuals of a Street Fighter game ever made. It just pops out of your HDTV, as it looks so good. Everything is so detailed and rich in colour and personality. The characters are larger than before and move so smoothly, it is just awesome. Everyone these days seem heavily focused on how real something looks, but stuff that, this is good old-fashioned graphics in all its HD glory. Due to how good this game looks, my anticipation for how good Street Fighter IV will be has hit new heights.
The music in SSF2THD is its traditional cheesy music that has been a part of the Street Fighter series for 20 plus years now. The good thing is you don’t really notice it too much as although it is cheesy, it does suit the game well. The sound effects are great as they pack more of a punch now and just feel like they belong when played through a 5.1 sound system setup. They are much improved over Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting and really make your hits feel more effective.
Multiplayer is where SSF2THD and all Street Fighter games for that matter truly shines. These days multiplayer is more about online than local multiplayer, but if you have a buddy or 2 that plays Street Fighter, being in the same room is the best multiplayer experience as you can have some pretty intense battles and the best thing is there is no chance of lag. As for online, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting on XBLA had some issues with lag, especially in quarter matches, but if you just did one on one with a fellow aussie, it was fine. Luckily, the online engine for SSF2THD has been updated and it is now possible for us Aussies to get a good match with someone overseas. This is particularly good for the ranked matches as you can’t pick who you will play so there is little chance of knowing where the person you are about to play is from, at least till you look at their gamercard after the match has finished. There is still the odd game with bad lag, but most of the 200 plus online ranked matches I have played has been relatively lag free or have had only a small amount, which hasn’t affected the game.
There are a few different online modes in SSF2THD. There is the tournament mode where you can participate in an actual tournament to see who the best is. There is ranked and player match modes. Player matches lets you setup what you want and invite friends to play whereas ranked you can either do a quick match or set one up and wait for someone to join. The ranked mode is tracked as you can go into the leaderboards from the main menu and see your weekly and all-time rank. You can even filter it to you and your friends only.
SSF2THD is the best version of Street Fighter yet. Its smooth, addictive and accessible gameplay and its awesome looks make you wonder how good Street Fighter IV will be. For just 1200 MS points, this is one of the best XNLA releases yet and one of the best fighting games released on the 360.
This is the best fighting engine out there and is just a joy to play.
Beefy sound effects mixed with classic Street Fighter music makes it a good but definitely not great sounding title.
So detailed and full of colour, it just jumps off the screen.
The best online fighting game for the 360. Minimal lag compiled with addictive gameplay means you will be beating up your friend’s and fellow Street Fighter rivals online for months to come.
What more can I say, it’s an XBLA game, but is probably the best fighting game on the 360. SSF2THD is just an unbelievable achievement. I can’t wait to see what Street Fighter IV will be like.
Reviewed and Written by Craig Cirillo