Ray Willmott reviews Ultra Street Fighter IV…
With Capcom, you can rely on one thing: they know how to make a crazy game title. While Ultra Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition isn’t the most extreme interpretation of that – take a look at the title of the new Dead Rising 3 DLC – it certainly helps to paint a picture.
Sadly, we’re no closer to an announcement or release date for Street Fighter V, but fortunately the content offered to players with this new downloadable add-on pack (the last of its kind for SFIV) is going to keep you playing a game you already love for months to come.
For starters, Ultra gives you six new stages, all of which come from Street Fighter X Tekken and five new characters, including some old favourites. Characters include Hugo, a spoof of Andre the Giant who first appeared in the Final Fight games, but has gone on to be a popular, familiar warrior within the Street Fighter universe. Poison, his female manager, who has also enjoyed fame in both Final Fight and Street Fighter realms, firmly plants her stilettos into the battlefield. Elena, a tall, Kenyan female with dance steps in her fighting style, making her similar to DeeJay, jukes and jives her way to victories. Rolento, who can be closely likened to Guile in terms of his fighting style but with some new quirks and gimmicks.
And Decapre, a unique hybrid of Cammy and Vega, holds a very dark, powerful secret, unveiled through the character’s animated ending if you manage to beat the game. Without question, Decapre was my favourite to control. Where the likes of Hugo can throw a punch and knock off a quarter of an opponent’s health, Decapre can be all over the screen, hacking and slashing in a violent and sadistic way, systematically decimating an opponent from the moment the action starts. The good news is all fighters are good for different things and their style of fighting is unique and pleasing. With these five new challengers, there really is something for everyone.
Street Fighter X Tekken fans will also be pleased to know that six stages from the game have finally made their way to Street Fighter IV. Popular battlegrounds, such as Jurassic Era Research Facility, Cosmic Elevator and Blast Furnace can now be put in rotation, in addition to the beautiful Pitstop 109, The Half Pipe and Mad Gear Hideout.
But Ultra isn’t just about cosmetic differences, the add-on fundamentally changes the SFIV experience from the ground up. In fact, The Ultra Combo Double, Red Focus Attack and Delayed Standing additions will force you to completely change your battle strategies. For instance, Ultra Combo Doubles let players choose both character’s Ultra Combos, but at the expense of doing less damage. Red Focus Attacks absorb multiple hits and is a focus attack that turns the character red, and Delayed Standing alters the timing of a character’s wake-up while they get back to their feet. Unblockable setups have also been completely removed.
There are also new modes, such as Online Training, which lets you train online with your mates and Elimination, which is a team battle mode for online play, and to cap it all off, Ultra SFIV lets you record your online matches and put them on your own YouTube channels. You can even watch them and view them for your own self-interest to see where you went wrong – or right – and how you can continue to improve.
With a wealth of further tweaks and improved character balances, Ultra Street Fighter IV is an absolute must for Street Fighter fans, and really is the fan service fight-fans have been waiting for. Essential if you’re a regular online Street Fighter IV player or continue to love and enjoy the game since the day you bought it.
And hey, if you’re an Xbox 360 owner with Gold, you can download Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition for free until the end of the month, then just purchase the Ultra update on top to reap all the benefits. Ultra-convenience!
Ray Willmott writes about video games for various outlets and even runs his own website. He also writes novels – follow him on Twitter