Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Back in the Ring with Ultra Street Fighter IV

After countless teases and trolls for nearly a year, Ultra Street Fighter IV is finally upon us.

Ultra is the fourth revision of Street Fighter IV since the series first dropped in 2008, revitalizing the fighting game genre much like Street Fighter II did for U.S. arcades in 1991.
Rolento reminds me a little of D. Dark from Street Fighter EX...
If you moved on from SFIV a few years ago and are wondering why anyone cares about this upgrade, just move along. The game’s new competitors, modes, and stages probably aren't enough to get you excited.

But for anyone else who’s remotely interested in Street Fighter, pick this up. Thankfully, Ultra is a more robust update than Arcade Edition was. It provides enough content to keep warriors like you seeking Street Fighter nirvana.

About half of the copied-and-pasted backgrounds from Street Fighter x Tekken feel out of place in the main SF universe, but the five additional characters – Final Fight’s Hugo, Rolento, and the ever-ambiguous Poison; along with Street Fighter III’s perky Elena and the “new” character Decapre – fit right in.

Despite her essentially being Cammy with a mask, Decapre is different enough from her “sister” to be fun to play. It would have been nice if her normals were more distinct, however.

Decapre's standing hard punch. She's been taking lessons from Claw (Vega), apparently.

Elena’s jumps are high and floaty, sometimes making it difficult to judge jump-in distance. But other than that, she plays a lot like her SFIII iterations, which is a good thing.

Ever wish Street Fighter IV had a larger, more German Zangief? Well, now it does! I doubt Hugo was at the top of anyone’s SF4 wish list, but he’s about as much fun to play as any other grappler. Just don’t expect to win any major tournaments with him.


Likewise, Poison isn’t going to be tearing up any tier lists, but she offers fresh and stylish rushdown play that’s more worth your time than, say, yet another shoto like Ryu, Akuma, Evil Ryu, and even eviler Akuma (AKA Oni).

Rolento is as good as he ever was in the Alpha series, feeling like a cross between a rekka character (think Fei Long) and Vega, thanks to his long reach. And his first alternate costume, unlocked if you have Street Fighter x Tekken data on your system, is hilarious. I guess he had to make money somehow after the collapse of Mad Gear.

And just to get this out of the way: The Udon “alternate 2” costumes are horrendous. Hire someone else next time around, Capcom.

The new balance tweeks (seemingly) bring most fighters closer to middle tier, but it’s going to take a few months for that to be determined.

For now, just pay your $15 bucks (or $40 for the retail disc, out August 5) and get back in the ring. 

Glad those dinos aren't hungry.

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