Japanese street fighter player Inoue posted his thoughts thus far on Street Fighter IV. Interesting way of looking at each character and the over all system and gameplay.
Quick and dirty summary of "Game Style":
Street Fighter 2 is a good game because it uses this kind of strategy
(explains elements of Street Fighter 2)
Street Fighter 3 is also a good game, because it uses this kind of strategy, building on Street Fighter 2
(explains elements of Street Fighter 3)
Street Fighter 4 is an awesome game, because you can play it like SF2 or like SF3. Of course, some characters are more restrictive in their styles than others, but overall this is a game where you can use any of the elements from old Street Fighter games effectively.
Overall, thus far Inoue thinks the design is spot-on and a worthy successor to the series.
Quick and dirty summary of "Character Introduction Part 1"
Didn't understand a couple of random sentences, but got most of his summary. Tried to get the main points.
Ryu (The character if you want to force your opponent to play SF2)
- Strong for SF2 style players
- Hadouken and Shoryuken are pretty much all he has at short range
- Weak against cheap play (heavy damaging or runaway characters)
- Shinkuu Hadouken's ability is inadequate (not enough damage)
Ken (The character that will definitely guess right sometimes)
- All-purpose character
- Immense destructive power
- A straightforward, linear character; not for flashy players
- Probably the best character for players who study him seriously
- Hard to win with for people who can't outplay opponents or characters
- But, that's fine
Zangief (Doesn't matter if you guess wrong)
- The definition of beatdown
- But, also has impenetrable defense
- Attack and defense are high, but you have to guess a lot, so high risk/high return
- But, due to his life amount and attack power, he's actually middle risk/high return
Rufus (Do you know the right answer for what I'm going to do?)
- Lots of tricks nobody knows how to deal with (for now)
- Not bad for a player who likes picking strong characters
- In the future as throws become his main way of breaking guard, he'll be weak to grapplers
- Against opponents backdashes and throws, you can deal a lot of damage if you read them correctly
- In the future, will probably be considered upper mid-tier
- In conclusion, a pretty good character
M. Bison/Dictator (I get to do what I want. I won't let you do what you want.)
- Excels for players with good footsies/zoning
- All aspects of him are at least upper-mid tier: Rushdown, defensive, runaway, waiting, breaking guard
- For people who want to break down "cheap" players and characters, Dictator is recommended
If you just want to play Street Fighter 2, Ryu.
If you want to play Street Fighter 4 to its maximum limit, Ken.
If you want to beat characters like those two, Zangief.
If you want the highest win percentage right now, Rufus. He's really good for the time being.
Finally, if you can't stand "cheap" play (a Zangief who just gets in your face and guesses, or a Blanka/Chun Li that just sits there), Dictator.
By the way, I've mostly been playing Abel lately. People's opinions will differ, but he's probably my most recommended character.