Ultra Street Fighter IV Review: the definitive version of Capcom's seminal beat-'em-up

Review Score

Ultra Street Fighter IV

PSU Review Score
8.5
Avg. user review score:
0.0

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Summary

Ultra Street Fighter IV refines Capcom's celebrated brawler to within an inch of its life with some great additions, making it a must-have for any hardcore fan.

We like

  • The new characters are great
  • Balance tweaks and various additions deepen the game's combat system
  • The most substantial SFIV update yet

We dislike

  • Various content is reused from Street Fighter x Tekken
  • Casual fans may not appreciate some of the more subtle additions

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

The Focus Attack has also benefited from an overhaul. Now, holding down the Medium Punch, Light Punch, and Medium Kick buttons buffs the maneuver to become the Red Focus Attack, allowing you to absorb more punishment from your opponent. However, the window of opportunity here is decidedly thin, and therefore meticulous timing on the player’s part is required, not to mention some half-decent knowledge of your opponents moves to boot. As such, there’s a gamble as to whether or not you’ll be successful; if it connects, the payoff is well worth it, but concurrently, there’s also the risk of missing it or your opponent landing a throw. Experts will likely take full advantage of this and mix and match with the regular Focus Attack, further supplementing SFIV’s comprehensive defensive capabilities. The fact it’s there and ripe for the strategic picking is a great little extra.

Meanwhile, there’s also the fact your character’s recovery has now been tweaked so you can delay the period of time it takes you to get back up after being knocked on your arse. This is pretty significant, as a lot of crafty buggers can time their attacks to capitalize on their opponents weakness as they rise off the floor, so this delay allows you to fool or outright punish their attempts at pummelling you as you get up again. Like most advanced moves, it requires judicious use of timing and understanding of SFIV’s nuanced gameplay mechanics, but it proves immensely useful if you can use it right.

Also up for grabs are two new game modes. First up is the ability to enter the Training mode online with another player, allowing you to duke it out with a fellow gamer, rather than sit twiddling your thumbs in a lobby or smashing your way through Arcade Mode. Then there’s the Team Battle for those of you who like to put a bit of teamwork into the mix, and makes for a break from the usual one-on-one fighting that makes up the bulk of online fighters. SFIV’s online component was already strong to begin with, and these extras only further complement an already-fantastic line-up.

At the end of the day, Ultra Street Fighter IV is a pretty substantial add-on, and while it’s easy to palm it off as another chance for Capcom to relieve of us our hard-earned cash, there’s actually plenty of stuff here worth the asking price. Sure, the fact much of it is tied directly to the intricate nature of the series means hardcore fans will likely benefit from it the most, and the reused SFxTekken assets might leave a bad taste with some gamers. Overall however, the extra fighters, modes, move tweaks, additions and balances make this the definitive version of Capcom’s seminal brawler and a must-have for any Street Fighter fanatic.

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