There are more Street Fighter games than there are memes about Justin Bieber. OK, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. You get the point. For every Street Fighter game release, there are several others padded with prefixes like Super, Hyper, Remix and Ultra. Ultra Street Fighter IV, which promised a whole host of goodies, was shown to screaming gamers at the Sony conference in February. And for hadouken-blasting PS4 owners everywhere, it has finally arrived.
What’s new about this version, you ask? Well, it has all of the downloadable content, costume packs and other things from the previous iterations of the game, plus a few extra things. Want to watch E. Honda looking like a martial artist coupled with the Hulk as he slams into an Evil Ryu who looks like a flamboyant magician gone horribly, horribly wrong? It’s here. Ever wondered what Fei Long would look like as a dragon puppet while he traded blows with a beak-wearing Ken? Well, fear not. Now you can see exactly what that looks like. If you’ve always thought “I love Street Fighter IV, but I really need some more crazy costumes!” fear not. Capcom has answered your wish, and how.
The other notable addition to the game is Omega mode, which should also be called the ‘holy-freaking-combo-moves-batman!” mode, because things get really insane here. Each character gets a whole new set of moves and some truly delirious combos. If you’ve got some friends over, the Omega mode promises hours of hilarious carnage as you fill up the screen with acid-fueled imagery and hyper-maximum-ultra combos. There’s fire and fists everywhere. Everywhere.
Everything else pretty much remains the same. If you’re new to Street Fighter, you can visit the Training mode and hone up your skills before you dive into the real world and throw kicks at other fighters’ faces. The Story mode is also unchanged, in that it still contains the unintentionally hilarious storyline and campy cutscenes. But if you’ve purchased Street Fighter IV looking for a complex exploration of the philosophical ramifications of warfare, I’ve got bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. To put it simply, this is the most content-rich Street Fighter IV edition out there.
Capcom listened to its fans and gave them the ability to (finally) use their own PS3 Fightsticks or gamepads. Using drivers from Lab Zero, Ultra Street Fighter IV on your PS4 will now be able to detect your sticks and pads from previous consoles, so you can start dishing out those insane combos again. Another welcome fix is that this time around, there’s no input lag for wired or wireless controllers. So whether you’ve got a wired controller or a wireless one, whether you’re firing energy bolts off a Pad or unleashing Tiger Kicks off a stick, the playing field is now completely even. Unless you’re a newbie of course, in which case you’ll still have moments of hair-uprooting contemplation as you’re pummeled by an enemy Seth for the 15th time in a row.
Ultra Street Fighter IV looks fantastic on the PS4. The meaty graphics hardware means you get butter-smooth, 60fps animations at 1080p. Combine it with the stellar sound-effects, and you’ve got a gorgeous looking version of your favorite fighting game. There are no stutters, so you won’t have those frustrating moments where you couldn’t block a critical, game-ending move because the game stuttered a few frames.
Let’s talk about the one arena where the men are separated from the boys – online multiplayer. Lags and inconsistent connections can kill a fighting game, but there are no problems here. The multiplayer on the experience is lag-free and you’ll have no trouble finding opponents to play with. There are a few minor interface issues, such as the command list being unnecessarily complicated to maneuver around, but these are a minor annoyance.
Overall, Ultra Street Fighter IV is the best version of SF IV, which is a fighting game classic. Every jab, every uppercut, every flaming normal and every screen-filling ultra is rendered with frame-perfect fidelity. There are no random hitboxes, and every victory has to be earned, especially if you’re playing on higher difficulty levels or in the online arena. For $25, this is an absolute steal for fans of Street Fighter or of fighting games in general. To say that the game offers you hundreds of hours of content is an understatement. And while it might be tough to keep track of all the different SF IV editions, if you’ve been contemplating a purchase, get Ultra Street Fighter IV. It will prove to you, beyond doubt, why this franchise is a titan of the fighting genre. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a competitive fighter, you’ve got plenty to feast upon here.
Game Review Score 9.2 Out Of 10