Ultra Street Fighter IV: Worth the Update?

And so, another glitzy development arises in the world of Street Fighter. With the release of Ultra Street Fighter IV, Capcom manages to keep its tradition of making WAY more versions of the same game than need be alive and well. You remember Street Fighter II, right? And how many different games there were? First came the original, then the Champion Edition, Turbo, the Super version with the new challengers, and finally Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Well, I can’t say the updates weren’t great, but with every release, we’ve been expected to throw down our money for a slightly sleeker version of the same game with nothing but tempting hooks and subtle refinements.

Back in the 90s, you were asking yourself, what’s really different this time around? Why should I buy it again? Well, luckily, today we have a more efficient way of doing things. As you probably know, companies make expansions and updates to their games through the consoles. It’s pretty convenient not having all of those extra games lying around, isn’t it? No more separate cartridges or disks.

Street Fighter IV, however, manages to be the freak misfit among games today.

The new game follows its predecessors pretty closely. First, there was Street Fighter IV. Then came Super Street Fighter IV (and the Arcade Edition.) Now, here comes Ultra Street Fighter IV. Each of these games has been released on separate disks and on multiple platforms for digital download, all originally valued at $40-$50 a pop. It’s no wonder Capcom has been nicknamed “Cashcom” by the fans. I just hope that after this one, there won’t be a “super special awesome” version. Nevertheless, it is an expansion, and WILL keep you occupied.

As far as price goes, fear not, my fellow gamers; there is good news. If you already own Super Street Fighter IV, you can download USFIV the same way you normally would for expansions for the measly price of $14.99. Even more good news: if you already have the arcade version downloaded, you can get USFIV for free. For everyone else, it’ll be like buying a new game entirely at $39.99 . BUT! This is what you would call the definitive version of SFIV. Get ready for one “hell of a show”! This one has a lot to offer.

Okay, for real. What’s new about Ultra and should you get it?

Pros And Cons

1. Character Count:

If you have the first version, you only got 25 characters. Now with Ultra, you get 44 in total! For those of you keeping track at home, here’s the breakdown:

Original roster: Ryu, Ken, Blanka, Chun-Li, Rose, Dan, Akuma, E. Honda, Fei Long, Sakura, M. Bison, Sagat, Vega, Balrog, Guile, Cammy, Seth, Gouken, Dhalsim, Zangief, Abel, Crimson Viper, Rufus, Gen, and El Fuerte.

Super introduced T. Hawk, DeeJay, Adon, Guy, Cody, Ibuki, Makoto, Dudley, Juri, and Hakan.

The arcade version expanded further with: Yun, Yang, Evil Ryu, and Oni, plus all the rest.

And the new Ultra roster features Rolento, Hugo, Elena, Poison, and Decapre, plus all the rest. (Sorry, Asura didn’t make the cut.)

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself as to whether it’s worth updating your game. Some characters are brand new, and others you might recognize from previous installments. If Street Fighter III and Alpha were more your speed, then you’ll want Ultra. If not, you might still enjoy fighting someone new instead of the million Ryu runners you find online. Personally, it felt necessary to update from Super because Ultra does offer more variety. However, you shouldn’t let characters be the deciding factor. Most of the new characters (in their current state) come from Street Fighter X Tekken, with the exception of Decapre, so you might have some exposure already in that respect, too.

In the end, it all boils down to how they play, and, well… you could say that Capcom got lazy with a few of them. Hugo feels like Zangief (except for how HUGE he is), Yun and Yang look and feel the same, and Decapre is practically a Cammy clone (labeled one of Bison’s dolls. Creepy.) Elena fights like Eddie Gordo from the Tekken, but controlling her feels refreshing in the Street Fighter realm. Poison has been around since Final Fight, and I’ve got to say, it’s refreshing seeing some new female fighters added to the roster and not another person that uses a Shoryuken upperultra-street-fighter-4-elenacut variant (to be fair, Elena kind of does that, but I digress). Last, but not least, we have Rolento the general. He’s probably more American than Guile, and that’s all you need to know.

Overall, it’s nice to see some new faces. It’s also great to include people from even more nations of the world (Now we’re up to five continents!). With that being said, the so-called “World Warrior” tournament is one step closer to being the Olympics; except everyone wants to pulverize each other for their own selfish reasons. Except, perhaps, in the case of Cody. He couldn’t care less if he’s just saved the world. He was bored! Seriously though, the characters feel like they belong and play fluidly.

2. Gameplay

Have you ever faced someone online that has totally exploited the combo system in Street Fighter? Quite a few characters have inescapable, infinite combo setups that just ruin the game for the player who makes that one fatal mistake. Ibuki is a prime example, but no more. USFIV has taken out these “rinse and repeat” combos, by adding a few things to the mix, and giving many characters subtle overhauls.

Ever been stuck in one place? Well, in Ultra, you can keep your character down and plan a strategic recovery without being forced to defend into something deadly. Innovations like this balance the gameplay and keep it refined.

How about the stuns? You only got one hit of invincibility (on some attacks) to stun your opponent in previous versions. In Ultra, if you’re willing to give up some EX gauge, you’ll do a red EX stun that gives you a few extra hits, which is slightly more fool-pro023563of.

Another interesting inclusion is the option to use both of your character’s ultra combos in the fight. Of course, there is a cost to that, however. Choose the “W” option and your saving grace move will do far less damage than the single option. Although, skilled players can use this to their advantage, because by having access to both ultras, they’ll be able to use either whenever appropriate. Call it opportunistic or strategic, but again, it’s justified by the rebalanced damage allocation. But, on the other hand, I don’t really see a lot of potential when the move that’s supposed to pull you out of the gutter only takes away a hair and a half of your opponent’s health. And usually, you’ll use the ultra that best suits your style of gameplay anyway, and not take the time to think about it during the match. Let me just say, it’s neat, and useful for some, but definitely not for all. It’s nice having the option, nevertheless.

So far, there haven’t really been any drawbacks from the new developments. In fact, it’s been very well received by fans. In my opinion, if online ever got needlessly frustrating without a fair challenge, then drop the extra $15. It’s well worth it.

3. Extras

These shouldn’t be what clenches the deal for you, but they’re fun things, in any case. Ultra includes new arenas (try the Jurassic Era Research Facility. You’re fighting in front of T-Rexes! What more do you want?), colors, new anime cutscenes, and costumes. They all look sleek and still have that Capcom charm that keeps you coming back. (the Mad Gear Hideout arena is hilarious, too, by the way).

One of the only two things that frustrate me regarding extras are the rival cut scenes with the new Ultra, as well as Arcade characters. Why? Simply because there aren’t any. Before the rival fight, you get pumped by the intense tone set by the music and atmosphere and finally the exchange between the two fighters. That smack talk is something that really gets you in the mood to sock the opponent silly, and without it, it feels strangely bare.

If I had to have one more minor complaint, it would be regarding the auto-save feature. This thing saves in places where you could skip over in Super. Not so much anymore. This occurs most obnoxiously in the arcade mode after every fight. You have to view your bonus and win quote and wait for the darn thing to save. I remember telling myself, “Okay, I’ve only beaten one stage. What’s it saving?” As annoying as that small wait is, it’s definitely35993_1_0d0effafba not worth crying $15 over.

How’s the online experience nowadays, now that we’re on the third update? Aside from the rebalanced combo engine, replays got a heck of a lot better. You can now upload them directly to YouTube. This is major! The only place you could save them on Super was your hard drive, and even then you could only view them through the actual disk. Now, it’s that easy! Oh, except you’ll need some wins to upload when you want. Yeah… better study that command list.

Final Thoughts

Who’s to judge, but Ultra Street Fighter IV  might just be a MASTERPIECE.

It can’t get polished any better than this. The control feels nostalgic and comfortable. It’s very beginner-friendly and has a ton to offer any skilled veterans. It has everything a fighting game should: a strong roster, challenge, balance, specials, online, variety, fluid controls, and lots of extras.

Do yourself a favor and get it. If you’re serious about your Street Fighter, you’ve probably already downloaded it, but if you’re still thinking about it, then still get it. The vast content included in this deluxe version is addictive and just as awesome to look at. Nothing ever feels stale. It’s hours of fun, and I highly recommend it. Fifteen bucks is nothing for all you’re getting. So what are you waiting for?

One final note: you might want to do it anyway. The next Street Fighter game won’t be released for about five years, and most likely, everyone will have updated soon anyway. So beware, and download it ASAP. This one had legitimate Capcom effort put into it, and is here to stand the test of time.


Ahem. Submitted for the approval of fighter fans. You’ll love it. Agree? Disagree? Sound off below.


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  • http://tito76.webs.com/ tito76.webs.com

    combos has killed fighting games =(