A new roster update comprises of a nice selection of characters from various series in the Street Fighter universe, as well as two new ones exclusive to Super. Juri is a welcome addition with a quickness that many other characters are lacking, and Hakan is a grappler covered in oil that brings more depth to his style of character.
The gameplay itself is pretty much the same with a lot of small tweaks and balancing changes that aren't worth trying to cover. One of the major changes, though, is the ability to choose one of two Ultras this time around, similar to Super Arts in the 'III' series. I found that a lot of the new Ultras are hit or miss, though some are at least somewhat more useful than the original.
For all of the newer stuff that was added, the Challenge Mode feels like a missed opportunity to instruct to those unfamiliar to the Street Fighter franchise. It simply doesn't put together the things you learn beforehand into practice, and really it's just a series of trials that may or may not be useful to players. Ultimately, I don't understand why it isn't more like a tutorial and less like it is now. These games have gotten a lot of newcomers within the last year, and it would have been nice to be able to have some non-fighting game enthusiasts have a means to pick the game up a little easier. Instead the Challenge Mode will ultimately confuse these people.
Most people who pick Super Street Fighter IV up will undoubtedly be playing a lot of matches online and after spending the better part of 10 hours playing around 100 ranked matches, it all feels like Capcom really dropped the ball once again. To someone who plays a great deal of fighters and wants to have the best experience possible, the amount of lag and connection issues become a really big problem that will most likely go unfixed.
Like Street Fighter IV, finding a ranked match through the online matchmaking system will generally just give you connection issues most of the time. Even when you choose someone with the best connection, many times the connection will change once you enter the lobby to one of worse quality.
Aside from ranked matches, there are finally some viable modes for player matches including Endless Battle, which works exactly like the Quarter Match mode from previous digital Street Fighter releases. Team Battle basically divides the lobby into two teams, with the winners staying on and the losers having to spectate the rest of the matches.
Perhaps the most interesting yet underdeveloped addition is the Replay Channel, where players can watch their own replays, or replays from other players on the network, much like the Bungie Share stuff in Halo 3. However, one of the biggest issues I have with this system is that it feels far too basic, with no way to organize it in a manner that would actually be beneficial to most people.
There's simply no easy way to just find something like a top 10 list with replays that players have voted on for the week or find a place that tracks the top players in the fighting game community. Instead, all you can really do is just choose a channel that groups the characters by game, such as World Warriors (the original 8), Bosses (Bison, Balrog, Vega,Sagat), etc. Perhaps this could be fixed a later date, but for now it's really just useful for checking out yours and your friends' replays.
Super Street Fighter IV won't change your opinion about the new direction Capcom has gone in. It's more of the same, albeit with more features and at a better price. The network issues really bring the title down and ultimately the decision to buy this will be based on your tolerance for lag.
Disclaimers and such: I purchased this game for the PS3 and received no considerations. It should be noted that I, the author of this review, do not particularly like Street Fighter IV. I am purely a fan of CPS1 (Capcom Power System 1) Street Fighter II, which includes what I believe to be the best in the entire franchise: Street Fighter II Turbo. While I have played, and still play to this day, other Capcom fighting games - including Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and 3rd Strike - nothing else compares to those CPS1 titles.