Review: Ultra Street Fighter IV (PS4)

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Title: Ultra Street Fighter IV
Format: PlayStation Network Download (14 GB)
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom/Other Ocean
Original MSRP: $24.99
ESRB Rating: T
Ultra Street Fighter IV is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
Portions of this review also appear in our PS3 coverage of Ultra Street Fighter IV.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 425 of the podcast.

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.

ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV_20150525210605

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.

… also includes ALL of the DLC that was released for the game on PS3 …
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

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.

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You’ll still be able to upload your replays to YouTube, but obviously that’s all handled via the Share functionality of the PS4. You can save replays like normal and obviously videos from Share will be uploaded at a higher resolution, but only at 30FPS (even though the game runs at 60FPS).

The PS4 version also includes ALL of the DLC that was released for the game on PS3, so you’ll have a bevy of costumes and alternate colors to choose from even though some of the color and motion variations will still need to be unlocked by playing the game.

… input lag that was experienced in the PS3 version is still present …
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.

On PS4, Ultra Street Fighter IV runs at a full 1080P/60FPS and the visuals overall are cleaner. Load times are noticeably quicker as well, which is a welcome change.

 

Unfortunately, what’s being reported by communities like Shoryuken.com is that at the time of release, the input lag that was experienced in the PS3 version is still present in the PS4 version. The worst part about this still being present is that Sony specifically addressed the issue pre-launch as something that wouldn’t be present on PS4.

Details are still sketchy regarding if the input lag is always present, if it’s only when you’re using a wireless or wired controller, or if it only happens when using a PS3 USB controller. You read that right, the PS4 version has included the PS3 controller drivers developed by Lab Zero (developers of Skullgirls). It’s the same set of drivers used in Mortal Kombat X, and if you’re using a “Licensed” PS3 USB controller, it should work.

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You’ll still need to start the game using a DualShock 4 and it will need to stay on while you’re playing with the PS3 controller, but still, if you don’t want to spend $100+ on a new stick yet, it’s a welcome option. How this affects the visuals though is that for those that are “experts”, frame counting is completely off, which essentially ruins the game for competition. At this point the PS4 version will probably be disqualified from some upcoming events which is a shame since this was brought to PS4 to simplify things, especially when Street Fighter V releases.

For the laymen though, the game looks great. The visuals are smooth as silk on PS4 and the crisper detail is nice to have.

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.

… when the matches run smoothly it’s a great experience …
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.

PS4 online, so far at least, has been really good. There have still been matches with noticeable lag, but when the matches run smoothly it’s a great experience. I’ve always been in a party so I’m not sure about voice chat and I still wish they’d at least show the life gauges of the two in the fight while you’re waiting in a lobby. So far though, online has been good enough for my tastes. I’m sure that others would disagree with me though.

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.

The move to PS4 was pretty transparent overall, but with all of the previous content included and the price at $24.99, if you like the Street Fighter games it’s a great value. Some have a problem with it only being available digitally but to me, I like simply having it on the hard drive and at the ready. This isn’t meant to be anything more than a convenience release anyway and I’m pretty sure it made things much easier to not print discs or cases.

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 Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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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