Review: Ultra Street Fighter IV (PS3)

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Title: Ultra Street Fighter IV
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (19 GB)
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom/Dimps
Original MSRP: $39.99 / $14.99 (Upgrade for Super Street Fighter IV or Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition only – 3.5 GB)
ESRB Rating: T
Ultra Street Fighter IV is also available on Xbox 360 and PC.
The PlayStation 3 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Golden Minecart Award Winner 2014:
– Best Fighting Game (PS3)

With this third and final iteration of Street Fighter IV, Capcom hasn’t only reworked the balance yet again but they’ve also added a decent amount of new characters and stages. If you’re a Street Fighter IV fan you probably had no problem upgrading on Day One and for those patient holdouts Capcom swears this is the last one before Street Fighter V… no, really!

Gameplay:
I think that this category (like many in this review) has been thoroughly covered in the past. It’s Street Fighter IV proper and anyone that’s into the series will still get the same ultra-responsive control over their chosen fighter be it a local match or even across the wire. The Street Fighter formula has been around for years with new aspects being added for each generation. As an old Street Fighter II player I soon forget to even attempt Ultra’s and many of the other things added over the years but I still enjoy what I’m playing.

15, 7.36 PM

Of course watch matches at events like EVO and you’ll quickly realize that this has become more than simply a game, it has become a premiere sporting event with some truly gifted standouts that possess inhuman reflexes and control skills that have taken years to master. I know that a lot of people consider games like Starcraft and League of Legends the premiere eSports games, but for me, I love watching the fighting games and since this series has been around for so long the elite players are pretty amazing to watch.

To me that says a lot about this series in general and Street Fighter IV in particular. Capcom seems to understand that the community is what makes this series so successful and they listen to that community more than most other developers. That’s where this third version of Street Fighter IV came from and it’s a pretty significant upgrade. Added to the already bulky roster are five new characters – bringing the total to forty-four though four of the five new fighters were featured in Street Fighter X Tekken.

You’ll get:
Decapre (A member of M. Bison’s Dolls)
Rolento
Elena
Hugo
Poison

And six new stages as well, all of which were featured in Street Fighter X Tekken:
East Asia: The Pitstop 109
Europe: Blast Furnace
North America: The Half Pipe
South America: Cosmic Elevator
Jurassic Era Research Facility

15, 7.37 PM 1

Additionally, the thirty-nine existing characters have all been rebalanced taking into account feedback from the community. There were even some additions like “Double Ultras” and a new “Red Focus” but I am definitely the wrong person to explain those. A pretty major addition is that you’ll actually be able to choose different “versions” of the original characters from the previous Street Fighter IV games. So for example, you can pick Ryu from Super Street Fighter 4. I haven’t played with it much, but it’s a pretty sweet option no matter what.

Another addition to the game that I love is the ability to direct-upload replays to YouTube (at 480p), which actually works pretty well. Archived videos have become a pretty essential tool for the community and not needing a complex capture setup is a great addition to those that play this game competitively (or those that WANT to do so since it’s an invaluable training tool.)

Visuals:
The visual style hasn’t changed with this new version so it will definitely look and feel familiar if you’ve played any revision of Street Fighter IV in the past. The animation is still silky-smooth and solid enough to allow the pros to scope-out specific frames of animation. Stages are very well designed with some funny bits here and there for spectators to discover. The action never stutters and whether the art-style is pleasing or not is completely subjective. Personally, I’m a fan of the visuals in the game and now that I’ve gotten used to everything it’s actually nice to see that Street Fighter V will continue with these aesthetics.

15, 7.40 PM

Audio:
Not much has changed since the original Street Fighter IV besides the obvious additions for the new fighters and stages. Not to say that’s a bad thing though because I’ve always loved the audio design which sounds equally impressive in headphones and through a home theater. Bass taxes the subwoofer and every move impacts your ears just as much as your foe.

Online/Multiplayer:
Playing online is a staple for many fighting games and even though it was a pretty poor experience when the original Street Fighter IV was released the team made great strides to make it one of the best to play online. Even though it’s not perfect, and probably never will be, simply because of the twitchy and down-to-the-frame accuracy that the higher echelon can play to, the online experience is pretty damned good nowadays.

Of course, I personally HATE to play against randoms on the Internet because, well, I’m just not that good. But playing with a group of friends can be an all-night affair filled with trash-talk and a lot of laughs. Like I said, it’s not perfect when compared to playing next to each other on the couch but it’s about as close as it’s ever going to get.

15, 7.46 PM

Conclusion:
Like I said above, if you’re a fan of Street Fighter IV you’ve probably already upgraded to Ultra. If you’ve been thinking about getting Street Fighter IV though, Ultra is definitely the one you want. It’s the most complete version of the game available and the price isn’t bad either. If you get the digital version be ready for it to eat about 20 GB of your hard drive by the way and you’ll need about another 10 GB free for the download and install to function properly.

It’s a great game to have though and luckily the online works well enough that you can still play against others even if you don’t have any gaming friends in your vicinity. I do recommend hard-wiring to your Internet router though as you’ll definitely suffer some performance issues via WiFi. In my mind, this is still the definitive fighter and if you enjoy the genre this is a must-have.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Elgato Game Capture HD60 screen capture feature.

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Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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