Super Street Fighter 4 Multiplayer Preview

One of the main draws of Super Street Fighter IV, Capcom's revision to last year's main game, is the improved multiplayer suite. Ranked matches will return, along with Team Battle and Endless Battle. Replay Channel gets a major upgrade as well, bringing a streamlined replay system to the game.

nope As the game has two Ultra combos for each fighter, two-tiered blind selection is utilized for all game modes. Players will only be able to see their opponent's character choice after entering their own. At this point, players will choose their Ultra combos also without knowing which ones their opponent has taken. Match-up management makes it important to wait until your opponent chooses their character before selecting your Ultra. Smash the button to click through your selections and your opponent will get more information than you, leaving them able to select their Ultra knowing who you picked.

Let's go over the various modes.

  • Ranked Battle - Just like in Street Fighter IV, this is a matchmaking only mode that pits you up against another fighter. The winner will earn Battle Points (BP) and Player Points. BP are earned on a per-character basis, while PP represent your overall strength with all fighters. Ranked matches are best 2 out of 3 and offer no rematching.
  • Endless Battle (Quarter Battle) - Much like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (XBLA/PSN) or Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Endless Battle allows for lobbies of up to 8 players competing in a winner-stays rotation. This mode does not affect BP or PP, but allows groups to fight and spectate. This was not possible in Street Fighter IV. New players may join while games are in progress, but will not be able to observe if they join while a fight is taking place. This mode also uses the blind selection mechanic.
  • Team Battle - Teams of up to four players face off against each other, tournament-style. The winner stays and the first team to defeat the entire other team wins. You'll be able to use matchmaking to find a team to play with or you can assemble a full team before looking for opponents. Player ratings are taken into account when creating and matching teams.
nope The Fight Request feature, which allows players to queue up for multiplayer fights during Arcade mode play can now be switched on and off at any time during an Arcade run. You can also choose whether to queue up for Ranked or Team Battles via Fight Request.

The Replay Channel is great, automatically storing recent matches locally. Players can choose which replays to save permanently to storage and watch at any time. Fulfill certain conditions (win 3 games in a row, etc.) and you'll be able to upload your replay to the community to be viewed at large.

Replays can be shown to a party of up to 8 players. The host can toggle attack and input data as well as skip back and forth between different rounds within a fight or restart the replay completely. Voice chat is enabled throughout. Had a great fight that you want to show your buddies? This is easier than ever.

Though the netcode hasn't changed, you should find more low-latency games as the matchmaking and custom game browser should better prioritize location for game selection. As such, you should see more "five green bars" games online in Super Street Fighter IV.

The new online mode clearly helps the experience feel more community-oriented adding more incentive for Street Fighter fans who honestly are already sure to line up for Super Street Fighter IV. And the lower $40 price tag makes the deal that much sweeter. I'll see you all online when the game is released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on April 27. Who knows, maybe I'll see you on the PC somewhere down the line?