Ultra Street Fighter IV Review

Indestructible.

With Ultra Street Fighter IV, the masterful Street Fighter IV series has reached its fifth, and possibly final, incarnation. Five years of tournaments, balance patches, and community input have coalesced to form the definitive version of a fighter that continues to evolve to this day. In his review, former GameSpot editor Dan Chiappini described Street Fighter IV as "undoubtedly one of the finest examples of the fighting genre in this generation." It's a worthy accolade, and one that still holds true today.

Ultra Street Fighter IV brings with it a whole host of changes and additions to the game's previous releases: Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and its 2012 update. Six new stages, five new characters, and three new game mechanics are successfully integrated into an already feature-rich game and introduce new strategies that help keep this seasoned fighter feeling fresh.

Any major Street Fighter expansion wouldn't be complete without adding some new fighters to the fray. Poison, Rolento, Hugo, and Elena will be instantly recognizable to Street Fighter fans from their recent outing in Street Fighter X Tekken. However, these characters aren't just cut-and-paste copies from SFXT; instead, they have been reworked to fit naturally within SFIV's play style. Newcomer Decapre rounds out the roster. While she bears a striking resemblance to another world warrior, Decapre has her own distinct fighting style, which deftly mixes charge-based attacks with rushdown tactics, two fighting styles that traditionally do not mix.

Outside of the five new challengers, Ultra Street Fighter IV brings with it a myriad of tweaks and changes for the existing cast. None of the existing 39 characters have gone untouched in this expansion; however, the bulk of those changes will likely go unnoticed to the untrained eye. Increasing the damage of Rose's crouching light punch by 10 or reducing the startup of Dudley's medium kick by one frame may not sound like much on paper, but taken as a whole, these changes and dozens more combine to create a more equally balanced roster.

While the character-specific tweaks are not as apparent, ultra combo double, red focus attacks, and delayed wake-up are much more disruptive additions to the core mechanics of Street Fighter IV. The ultra combo double is a third ultra combo option that lets you go into battle armed with both of your character's ultra combos, but at reduced damage for both. This gives you more options in the fight, and is an especially effective addition for characters such as Zangief who have both antiair and close-range ultras.

You can now change your button layout on the character select screen.
You can now change your button layout on the character select screen.

A red focus attack functions in much the same way as the standard focus attack, except that it can absorb multiple hits at the cost of one energy block. This makes it a great tool for absorbing multi-hit attacks--looking at you, E. Honda--or for punishing a random ultra combo. Rounding out the trio is the delayed wake-up. Being able to delay when your character rises is a much more subtle addition, but an important one nonetheless. The delay does not last long, but it is enough to throw off the timing of a practiced opponent's next attack. Together, these three changes have a tremendous impact on the higher-level strategies of Street Fighter IV and offer new strategies for series veterans.

Ultra Street Fighter IV's updates don't stop at its characters. Online, you can compete in the new Elimination mode or work alongside distant friends in the Online Training mode. Elimination is a competitive mode where two teams of three duke it out to see which team is the best. When a player is defeated, the next one on his or her team swaps in until one side has no combatants left. To help prevent one player from steamrolling an entire team, Elimination mode does not restore health between rounds (naturally) or matches, similar in structure to the King of Fighters series.

A couple of new options for the truly dedicated round out Training mode. Save states let you take a snapshot of the current battle and return to it at any time with the push of a button. This is a handy addition for those who want to practice location-specific attacks or combos rapid-fire without having to reset the character blocking over and over again. Network simulation is the other upgrade, but it's really more of a novelty. This option lets you simulate increasingly severe levels of input lag to make you feel as if you're playing against someone with a poor Internet connection.

Edition Select lets you play different iterations of the same character, from vanilla Street Fighter IV to Ultra.
Edition Select lets you play different iterations of the same character, from vanilla Street Fighter IV to Ultra.

While so much of Street Fighter IV has been touched up in this new expansion, Trials mode continues to receive the cold shoulder. This mode is now horribly out of date and still uses character data from Super Street Fighter IV. It lacks trials for all five of Ultra's newcomers, as well as the previous batch of newcomers: Evil Ryu, Oni, Yun, and Yang. Since this mode is a good way to get acquainted with new characters, it's disappointing to see that developer Capcom has not yet updated it. Capcom has said it plans to release some sort of update later on down the line, but the absence of a fully realized Trials mode is certainly felt.

Trials aside, Ultra Street Fighter IV is a great expansion that smartly builds upon the core game. With all of its tweaks, new mechanics, and extra game modes, Ultra will definitely appeal to the diehard Street Fighter IV fans who still remember the tyranny of vanilla Sagat. Nearly every aspect of the game has received some sort of enhancement or upgrade, and the result is an expansion that makes a great game even better.

The Good

  • New characters all feel distinct from existing roster
  • New game mechanics deepen an already rich fighting system
  • Save states and online practice are welcome training tools

The Bad

  • Still no love for Trials mode
  • YouTube uploading doesn't currently function

More Platform Reviews

About the Author

While he may have more L's than W's in his logbook, Maxwell McGee is still a longtime fan of both fighting games and Street Fighter IV. Together, he and Cody face down the many rivals who stalk GameSpot's offices. And for some reason, they're all Ibuki players.
139 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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AuronAXE

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Edited By AuronAXE

I suppose it's weird that they release more versions but it's their flagship fighting series, it's pretty darn good and it sells. The average gamer who doesn't comment on Gamespot loves the crap out of games like this and personally I think if it's working for Capcom, keep at it.

If you don't like it, just vote with your wallet as you've always been doing.

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ObscenelyGreat

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Edited By ObscenelyGreat

@AuronAXE Oh so novice aulon, you mean to say these same-trash amateur noobs like you here who do follow and comment on Gamespot and regularly like rabid dogs are above average gamers? Hahahahahaha for real!!! It's so funny I'm crying!!!!! Your follower fetish cum nature aside try telling me better jokes next time journeyman.

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TheDarkHero

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@AuronAXE Sensible people are not allowed here. Permabaned.

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rawkstar007

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Maxwell McGee? Is Eightspot hiding their reviews behind badly conceived pseudonyms now?

I'm sorry but that name just looks so incredibly made up lol.

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tom_cat_01

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@rawkstar007 Maxwell's been writing/presenting on GS for years and years....

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fgjnfgh

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why is Capcom so dumb? Now I have to wait 'til August to get the full version with costumes

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TheDarkHero

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@fgjnfgh Because EVO doesn't wait for anybody.

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ObscenelyGreat

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@thedarkhero So much for an unimportant petty competition.

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Henninger

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Edited By Henninger

Looking forward to playing with Elena & Rolento. I'm not that good with them but I'll experiment with em. I hate Hugo & I'll beat the game with Decapre & never use her again because she's a charge up character (they don't fit my play style).

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Yaranhameleh

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The amount of 8s on this site is getting me irritated. I am not saying this game deserves a better score, it's just it seems like any major release out there gets an automatic 8. They should bring back the .5.

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snk0610

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@Yaranhameleh


Yes not only they should bring back the 0.5 they should bring back the older rating system.


They used to have scores like 8.8 or 9.3 just like IGN.


They should bring it back.


That's the most accurate rating system.

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TheDarkHero

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@snk0610 @Yaranhameleh A more accurate rating system is not having one.

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zardon3001

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@thedarkhero @snk0610 @Yaranhameleh I agree, people dwell on the numbers too much when the only thing that really matters is what the reviewer had to say about the game.

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Henninger

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@Yaranhameleh I didn't even notice that they got rid of it.

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alien-hell

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what's this gripe for anyway? at least they are tweaking and enhancing the same game and don't release totally new sequel and name it SFV for charging you more money, just like something WB is gonna do for Mortal Kombat and call it MKX. Capcom is doing right for this game

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Dswiss

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"YouTube uploading doesn't currently function"? Maybe because the game hasn't officially released yet?

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TheDarkHero

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Edited By TheDarkHero

@Dswiss When it comes to side stuff like YT, SF is not finished. But the beef is well cooked.

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DuaMn

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@Dswiss It is officially released yesterday.

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bunchanumbers

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Edited By bunchanumbers

You guys can hate all you want but SF4 is a game that people will be playing for years. $15 for this is a mere pittance compared to the blood sucking that goes on in almost every other game. I'm looking forward to upgrading my SSF4 to USF4. And I'll probably be buying the physical disc in August.

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RabidBurp

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@bunchanumbers

Too bad they refuse to add Trials for all of the new characters introduced since Arcade Edition.

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bunchanumbers

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@RabidBurp @bunchanumbers I was hoping for trials for all the characters. But in the end the fighting game engine will tell us all we need to know about the updated characters and combos.

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DuaMn

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@RabidBurp @bunchanumbers Trials are there to introduce the characters, not teach the game. Trial combos are most of the time very useless and learning them will give you nothing other than ability to do unnecessary combos. If you want to learn useful combos for a character just go to Youtube search for tutorials or just go to training mode and practice yourself.


Yes, adding trials would be fun, but there is a reason it is not getting any attention. They are just unnecessary.

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TheDarkHero

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@DuaMn @RabidBurp @bunchanumbers If memory served me right, Capcom wants to hold out this time and observe the Combofiends this time around.

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deactivated-5ee5e6de994c1

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So when is Capcom going to crash and burn.

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TheDarkHero

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Edited By TheDarkHero

@fragsnipa Why do you sould like a selfish ass?

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Silent_5nake

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I'll wait for the ultra super duper edition at the end of the year.

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DuaMn

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Edited By DuaMn

@silent_5nake What's going to happen when you get the ultimate edition? These editions are not about content they add, they are about balance changes and tweaks. Waiting for last edition is not smart if you will only play single player and a few online games and leave it. This is not Fallout 3.

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MJ12-Conspiracy

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then in a few more years we'll see SF4 Mega Edition, SF4 Ultra Mega Edition, SF4 Ultimate Tournament Hyper Fighting Championship Edition and SF4 We're Taking You For A Ride So Just Throw Us Your Cash You Suckers Edition....

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DuaMn

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@MJ12-Conspiracy How about shut up play your own game? SF4 is not Call of Duty or Battlefield. They don't release two map 15$ DLC one week after release of an unfinished game and two months later create another game and forget their broken "old" game.


SF4 is almost 5 years old, can you understand that? They are releasing expansion for a 5 year old game. This is forth expansion but only second paid one. So what's wrong with expanding a great and widely played game if fans demand it? You are the reason corrupt business practices are all around us. You wouldn't notice a good business practice even if it kicked your head. Use your brain and don't go "aww DLC is evil" like a sheep.

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deactivated-5ee5e6de994c1

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@MJ12-Conspiracy Cant wait to pre order Ultra Mega PIMP SLAP UR BITCH SF4 edition

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LittleMac19

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I'll buy the mega version next year.

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TheDarkHero

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@LittleMac19 Good luck finding a definitive version of SF...Cuz there will never be one to a casual.

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deactivated-57ad0e5285d73

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Series has gone down hill. Virtua Fighter 5 is where it is at, now.

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eze_sl89

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@Heirren No, MK, virtua fighter died since the days of dreamcast. Update yourself dude

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TheDarkHero

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@eze_sl89 @Heirren MK is for casuals and VirtuaFighter isn't dead.

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RJLateralus

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@thedarkhero @eze_sl89 @Heirren They have to have Mortal Kombat at mayor fighting tournaments! otherwise, I would not have time to go to the stores to get some snacks. Or to help me sleep while MK is playing.

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kidflash2000

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How many versions of this game are we going to see??? Are we going to see a Final Ultra Complete Street Fighter VI next? Seriously...

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TheDarkHero

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Edited By TheDarkHero

@kidflash2000 You, as a casual fighter, will never see a definitive version of these high curved fighters.

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gantarat

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DLC - 15 $

Retail - 30 $ (August)

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Ultra Street Fighter IV

First Released Jun 7, 2011
released
  • Arcade Games
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox 360

Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition features a roster of 39 characters, with four new characters added.

8
Great

Average Rating

784 Rating(s)

8.3
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
Alcohol Reference, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence