Game of the Month - April: Super Street Fighter IV
April has been a peculiar month. Splinter Cell: Conviction finally came out of the shadows with a modernized approach to stealth, leaving newcomers and veterans divided. Meanwhile, the highly anticipated expansions for Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins barely escaped mediocrity. One game impressed us with such overwhelming force that it could be a contender any month of the year.
Super Street Fighter IV
When Super Street Fighter IV was announced, I slipped into flashbacks of 1993 -- rocking a bowl-cut and bouncing to Wu-Tang Clan's first album nonetheless -- while Street Fighter II was being recycled yet again. Super Street Fighter IV is no minor upgrade though. Like a dragon punch to the throat, Capcom silences the doubters with the inclusions of Team Battles and Tournament Mode (available June 15), as well as the return of the car-crushing, barrel-bashing Bonus Stages. Ten fighters join the ranks of an already formidable cast. Old favorites like Dee Jay, Ibuki, and Cody stand alongside two newcomers - Juri and the oil-covered Hakan. New or old, every character has a second Ultra Combo to choose from. Super Street Fighter IV is too substantial to be called a makeover, and once again, Capcom shows the world how a real fighter is made.
The runner-up for April was a game long in the making.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Sam Fisher has been a man of mystery. He disappeared three years ago, after Double Agent, resurfaced with a guerrilla-hobo style, and fell back under the radar. He has finally arrived to change the spy-game forever. Splinter Cell: Conviction ditches some of the series' demanding conventions, including long waits in the shadows and hiding bodies, in favor of fast action and smooth cover-mechanics. The beloved online mode, Spies vs. Mercs, was replaced by cooperative endeavors and arcade-style challenges, complete with new outfits and upgrades to purchase. Splinter Cell: Conviction was not the stealth-game that we fell in love with, but there was no doubting its spot as one of the best action-games so far this year.