Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition Version 2012
Soon after Arcade Edition came back to consoles, Capcom updated the title into Version 2012, a free patch that came out in both arcades and consoles. Previous SF4 games have been criticized for rewarding safe defenses over aggressive play, while Arcade Edition tilted the balance too much towards offense. Version 2012 attempted to create a better harmony between the two approaches.
Above: Yun and Yang share a lot of moves, but the latter twin battles with a calculated offense based on his Mantis Slashes. Unfortunately, a cooler head didn’t help him prevail in Version 2012.
Image Credit: Capcom
The nails that stick out are the first for Capcom to hammer down. Yang received a laundry list of damage reductions, smaller hitboxes on certain moves, and the removal of a post-knockdown invincibility glitch. Yun received a similar treatment, but Yang suffered more since he doesn’t possess the explosive momentum his brother does, and the developers later said that they punished him too hard.
On the other hand, Evil Ryu and Oni benefited from additional tweaks. More than just Ryu with some of Akuma’s moves, Evil Ryu had brutal combos and a useful Wheel Kick special, but wasn’t scary enough to warrant having very low vitality. The fallen hero gets a slight health boost and attack buffs like the ability to cancel his hop kick into a Hurricane Kick. Both practitioners became threats later on in the version’s life, with Evil Ryu taking the inaugural Capcom Cup thanks to the combo master Sako.
Some buffs amount to giving World Warriors like Ryu, Rose, Balrog, and Guile back things they shouldn’t have lost in the first place. Most agreed that in SSF4 Rose’s Soul Satellite Ultra worked too well as a risk-free escape move. Arcade Edition nerfed it, but also weakened other moves and added horrible fights against the twins on top of it. Version 2012 made Soul Satellite a bit better and undid nerfs dating back to the original Street Fighter 4. Her weak get-off-me moves, however, made her a prime target for what became this update’s strongest tactics.
Cammy replaced Yun as Version 2012’s biggest villain. While her Cannon Strike dive kick had more restrictions than earlier in the series, it left the opponent stunned for a long time on hit or on block. Coupled with her improved normal attacks, the British agent can quickly stun her target and win a match once she gains momentum. Like Akuma, Ibuki, Seth, and C. Viper, she also possessed hard-to-block “vortex” mixups after knocking her enemies down, and along with other fighters she had “unblockable” jump-in attack setups, a fault that has been in the series since Day 1 but has only became prevalent recently. These often character-specific tactics are actually blockable, but only with very precise timing due to a flaw in the game engine.
Knockdown-based mixups overshadowed other forms of offense. For example, Cody uses a strong ground game to hang button mashers with meaty hooks and crushing combos, but he has a terrible time escaping pressure if he falls. Someone like Cammy can open him up from a number of directions and make the other player look completely helpless. Frustrating does not mean unbeatable though — you can watch a second video where the same players have a completely different match here.
Some characters stood out in other ways. Sakura was bad in the original Street Fighter 4, but over the years she got boost after boost that gave her a very safe offense with her light Hurricane Kick as well as powerful stun combos. American player ChrisG ascended to dominance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but he applied his same philosophy of taking control away from his rivals to become the sole US representative in 2013′s inaugural Capcom Cup with the schoolgirl.
Character diversity was still strong in this game despite the advantages of the best fighters thanks to top players sticking with their favorites and Capcom’s tinkering with those who hung around the bottom half of the cast. The Turkish wrestler Hakan is great when his attacks are powered up with Oil Shower, but his trouble getting and staying oiled up harmed his effectiveness. Arcade Edition made the oil effect longer and easier to maintain, and in Version 2012, he starts the match greased up. South Korean player Infiltration was a terror in 2012 thanks to his dominant Akuma and extensive match-up knowledge, but for the 2013 Evolution tournament he switched to Hakan (7:00 in the video) to outlast a surging PR Balrog.
Next Page: Ultra Street Fighter IV adds new mechanics and familiar faces.
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