Also On: PS3, PC
I remember visiting my local arcade in my youth and seeing a new version of Street Fighter II almost every single week. There was, Champion Edition, Turbo Champion Edition, Rainbow Edition and on through Super and Super Turbo. Even part 3 received many revisions before they were finished. It seems Capcom loves to rehash and remake older games several times before releasing a sequel or a new title, and while Ultra Street Fighter IV is definitely not a new title, it’s not a bad update either.
Ultra Street Fighter IV is not a new game; let’s get that out of the way first. If you own Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, or Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, you know what to expect here. No changes have been made to the core gameplay, graphics, or controls. This is simply Street Fighter IV with added characters, some fan favorites like Rolento and Elena, and others that aren’t so welcome like Poison, Hugo and someone (or something) called Decapre. Also, instead of creating completely new stages, Capcom decided that you didn’t appreciate the stages in Street Fighter X Tekken enough, so all of the new arenas are ripped from that game with no changes made. Actually the only true completely new change that players have never seen before is the character of Decapre, which is basically an overpowered Cammy with very intense moves. So, instead of calling this a new game, Im calling it the Street Fighter IV that should of been 5 years ago.
While I am not digging the lazy inclusion of SFXTK backgrounds and the cut and paste job of the new characters, Ultra is not bad at all. Everything from the awesome graphics, tight controls and special moves from previous versions are all here. Like its previous incarnations, this game is a top notch fighter, and this ultra upgrade makes it even better. To spice things up a bit for the retail disc version, Capcom has included over 100 costumes from all previously released DLC including a few new ones exclusive to the retail version. As I’ve stated before in other fighting game reviews, costumes do not change the gameplay at all, and are only appealing to a handful of fighting game fans. You can get all of the minor move set changes, characters and stages with the downloadable upgrade available on Xbox Live, PSN and PC so the retail version is only there for people who like to dress up their fighter, or for those who haven’t yet experienced Street Fighter IV yet.
Inside the Ultra upgrade, you do get some new modes and a few tweaks not found in other versions. Some of the fighter’s moves have been changed for better balancing, and you can double up the Ultra Combo for added damage when you execute them. Online is where you will find more added fun, like Online Team Battle. Here you join a team of 3 players and battle other teams to victory. This is a lot of fun and should have been included from the beginning. Other than some move tweaks and some added modes, there isn’t much to say about this latest incarnation of SF4, other than it doesn’t break anything, but doesn’t break ground either. While the new characters included are a nice plus, all of them with the exception of Decapre are ripped right from Street Fighter X Tekken, with little or no changes made to them. Like it is with almost every version of Street Fighter in general, you either love or loath aspects of the roster. Some characters are a good fit, while others seem like they don’t belong.
Since this is technically a rehash of a game from 2009, the retail version can be had for a relatively low price of $40, with the downloadable upgrade (if you have another version of SF4 in your library) setting you back only $15. If you are deciding between download or retail, it basically all comes down to if you want the 100 costumes found on the disc, or if you have enough HDD space for the upgrade.