Review: Ultra Street Fighter IV (PS4)

USF4-StoryThe Street Fighter series has never been one to wow or dazzle with an amazing plot but it does have one. The series of games known as Street Fighter IV takes place several months after the events of Street Fighter II. Seth, a strange being, begins another fighting tournament in an attempt to draw out the world’s finest fighters to complete his top secret BLECE project.USF4PS4-ScreenThe story isn’t anything worth reading about and honestly isn’t the main focus here. Instead, the Ultra rendition of Street Fighter IV for Playstation 4 is aimed to be the most complete and definitive rendition of the game. While that’s both true and false (at the moment, at least), the Playstation 4 version represents the most content filled version. Every single one of the game’s playable 44 characters is here with every single alternate costume included too.USF4-PresentationVisually speaking, Ultra Street Fighter IV retains the original super stylised ink painting like visuals that the previous editions of Street Fighter IV employed. It’s bright and colourful and one of the best looking fighters on the system so far, even if it’s from the previous generation. For the most part, the game runs at a silky smooth 60fps which is the gold standard (or even minimum) for fighting games. The resolution has been upped as well which leads to a more PC-like experience rather than what was seen on the previous generation of consoles a few years ago.

Prior to an update, the game struggled to run at the same level as previous versions of the game, but post patch, the game runs like a dream. It’s smooth, it’s more responsive than before and it looks amazing. Capcom did the right thing by packing so much detail into the backgrounds of the levels as it helps them feel alive.USF4-PS4-Screen02The voice work is probably culturally insensitive but does the job at merging these characters and their vivacious appearance and personalities. Everything is here as you remembered it, although we did notice, especially during some scene transitions (for example, between ultra-moves and normal gameplay) that there was still some very, very slight stutter.

For the average player, it’s not a huge deal but for the more professional player it can easily mean the difference between winning and losing.usf4-GAMEPLAYStreet Fighter IV is a typical fighting game. You choose a character, battle against another character and whoever depletes their opponents health wins. It’s a simple system that works well. Ultra Street Fighter IV plays the same as Street Fighter IV, largely, but with some alterations. The game has a roster of about 44 characters to choose from, each with their own unique fighting style and special moves.

As such, it’s quite daunting at first, especially for new players, with who to choose. Thankfully the game offers Ultra Challenges, which serve as tutorials on how to use each characters special moves and create and capitalise on combo opportunities. Given that Street Fighter IV is such a technical fighter, it’s great that the developer has provided as many tools as possible for players to find their niche in the games many offerings.USF4PS4-ScreenssThe big new feature in all the Street Fighter IV games is the Focus Attack, which allows players to absorb moves and launch a counterattack with the press of two buttons. It’s a simple system that works remarkably well – and its applications in battle are numerous for veteran players but also approachable for newcomers. The Ultra iteration introduces Red Focus Attacks, which provide more invincibility opportunity for the player, but also heightens the consequences if improperly performed.

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For the most part Ultra Street Fighter IV plays like you remember on previous consoles. There is some slight input lag, which is definitely a deal breaker for those playing at a tournament level, but for the average player this difference will be undetectable and/or negligible. But it’s still a disappointing issue with the Playstation 4 port of the game that should be fixed, hopefully, in another patch.USF4PS4-ScreensTournament players will also appreciate the “edition select” options for each character – allowing each character to behave like they did in each Street Fighter IV game. Obviously, given how unbalanced this is, this mode is relegated to unranked play but it’s a nice inclusion overall. Especially for Omega Mode, which introduces new moves for some players, usually at the expense of game balance.

All the online modes you love and remember from the original Street Fighter IV and its updates are included here too. We were mainly matched up with Australians during our matchmaking, which hopefully is an indication that it works rather well. Once in actual matches, the games run as smooth as butter, which is especially encouraging. We were unable to find or test with any international players beyond Japan, but performance was great there too. Given how disappointing some other fighters have been in the online market, it is nice to see Ultra Street Fighter IV performing admirably.USF4-ConclusionUltra Street Fighter IV is easily the most comprehensive and complete version of Street Fighter IV. It’s got a wealth of content – including a roster of over forty characters, heaps of challenges and trials to teach you how to play, and some robust and functional online modes too. It’s got over a hundred alternate costumes included in the package without having to shell out anything extra.

But its price on the Australian Playstation store is truly the only thing that feels slightly off about it. While the game is offered at US$25, here in Australia it’ll set players back at least AU$40. Don’t get me wrong, it still represents fantastic value, but it just feels like an unnecessary price gouge. Not to mention that this version of the game still doesn’t stand toe to toe with the previous gold standard – the Xbox 360 version.

But with a few patches it’s sure to be fantastic, and even then, for the average player, this rendition of Ultra Street Fighter IV will be more than playable. It’s just the small, elite percentage that it’s not quite up to scratch for.

Huge and varied roster
All downloadable content included
Robust netcode
Small performance issues here and there
Higher price in Australia