If you're at all familiar with Brady Games' MvC3 and UMvC3 guides, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect in their offering for SFxT. Joe Epstein, Daniel Maniago (Clockw0rk), Logan Sharp and Josh Richardson all return after collaborating on the aforementioned UMvC3 guide, and again offer an in-depth introduction to the game that no beginner, intermediate or tournament player should miss out on. Character-by-character walkthroughs featuring informative "battle plan" sections and most notably frame data steal the show, and the mechanics section is loaded with interesting tidbits that really aren't explained in the game (for example, that the "cross cancel" (aka alpha counter) move cannot KO an opponent). For beginners, the glossary section should be really helpful in explaining the terminology that litters some of the more technical talk.
I like this guide; I admire the work that Epstein and co. are doing for the community and I think that having such good quality guides are invaluable to players and the FGC as a whole. With that said, I must address a gripe that keeps me from ranking the SFxT guide as highly as the UMvC3 guide. It seems to me that in terms of raw content, the improvements that the UMvC3 guide made over the vanilla MvC3 guide seem to have been forgotten sometime during the production of the SFxT guide. UMvC3 got rid of all the worthless sections like title unlocks and achievements - things that don't really matter in the long run and it still boasted a nearly 600 page count. SFxT brings back the achievements section as well 10 useless pages at the end of the book dedicated entirely to concept art. Now, realistically I don't care whether or not this kind of stuff is added or not, so long as the character walkthroughs - the real meat of this book - aren't shortchanged. Here's where it gets ugly.
Brady Games' SFxT guide does not feature any character walkthroughs for the upcoming 12 DLC characters. I am assuming this is a PR issue - after all, UMvC3's costume DLC was leaked by early copies of Brady's guide breaking street dates. It also does not feature any of the PS3 exclusives, namely Cole and the cats. Nor does it feature the timed exclusives, Pacman and Mega Man. I fully understand that these omissions are likely not Brady Games' or Epstein & co.'s fault, but the absence of these 17 characters is very jarring. Especially considering that both Shuma Gorath and Jill Valentine were featured in the vanilla MvC3 guide. It's a bit difficult to fully back this book when so much content from the game is missing. Say what you will about patches and the availability of information on the internet, but the UMvC3 guide is STILL the best source of information for that game - and I truly wish that in a half year when the DLC characters drop I could say that Epstein's SFxT book is also the best source of information for SFxT. Sadly, I can't imagine that will be the case.
With all that said, I still encourage you to buy this guide. There is a ton of solid, extremely helpful information available here that will almost certainly still be relevant well through 2012 (and hopefully onward) - and Amazon is selling this book dirt-cheap. I hope that the omission of DLC characters doesn't discourage fans of fighting games from supporting good information and frame data in our strategy guides. I hope too, however, that these complaints will reach the team at Brady and they understand that glaring exclusions such as these undermine the hard (and good!) work of their team.