It’s been 6 years since the initial release of Street Fighter IV. That day marked a great return for the beloved fighting game series and has since spawned several new iterations of itself. The latest iteration is Ultra Street Fighter IV on the PlayStation 4. A day that unfortunately fell a little flat.
As I write this review I would like to point out that much of the issues with the initial release of Ultra Street Fighter IV for the PlayStation 4 have been fixed, and as such I will be reviewing based on the latest patch. I will reference some of the initial bugs and any that still linger although I believe they’ve mostly been squashed.
Round 1. Fight. Ultra Street Fighter IV is a spectacular game, and the PlayStation 4 port (now) mostly reflects this. At its core it is the same Street Fighter game we all know and love, and for most players that will be enough. It comes with all previous DLC and has been optimized to run at 60 FPS. Does this make much of a difference? Honestly, it’s barely noticeable (and I’ve played many a PC game at 60 FPS so I know how beautiful it can be). Having all the previous DLC is great, it’s nice to mix things up with your favourite characters and since I’ve personally been too lazy to buy the animal / vacation variants on my Steam copy of the game, it’s quite refreshing to see Akuma dressed as a dragon.
As I’ve mentioned, the game has been optimized to run at 60 FPS, but this appears to only be during fights. The menus can be particularly slow and laggy in the PlayStation 4 port. Although this is something being addressed in the post release patches. Before any post release patches went live, some players experienced issues such as characters duplicating on screen, terrible only connectivity, and even invisible Sonic Booms (there’s a case here to call this one a “feature”). I was fortunate enough to not notice most of these issues, although the online connectivity was sometimes questionable. Most of these issues have since been addressed but it’s an insult to the fans of the series to release a game in such a state. Now, Capcom had little or nothing to do with the PlayStation 4 release and I don’t know if that should annoy me or not? Is this Capcom saying “We’ve made our money off of Street Fighter IV, let someone else deal with it.”, or are they too focused on the development of Street Fighter V that they were happy in trusting someone else to do the work? I’d feel much better about the latter. The port was handled by Sony and Other Ocean Interactive, a studio that released a Mortal Kombat Kollection that had similar day one issues. Capcom’s lack of interest in the port should have rung alarm bells from the beginning and while the game had a rough start, things are starting to look up.
Thankfully, the PlayStation 4 port supports the use of PlayStation 3 arcade sticks making use of the drivers developed Lab Zero for Skullgirls. The drivers don’t register as a PlayStation 4 controller so you’ll need one of those to start the game, go back to the home screen, and if you play for extended periods, you’ll need to twitch the analogue stick occasionally to stop the PlayStation from entering Rest Mode.
The game sits now, a couple of patches later feeling more like Ultra Street Fighter IV. The character roster sits at an intimidating 44 characters, campaign mode is still the same; weak story telling with the AI being God-like on “Very Hard”, the Ultra challenge mode is available to play so players can learn some of the new character’s combos, character’s move are performing as they should be, and most importantly, I still suck at footsies.
So, the real question, is Ultra Street Fighter IV for the PlayStation 4 worth buying? At €20 / $25 for the game including all previous DLC it’s hard to not say yes. Day one release of the game I would have most certainly warned you away, but since a lot of the issues have been addressed it’s now worth the price. If you own Ultra Street Fighter IV on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or PC, and are happy to keep playing on those machines then save the money. If you’re new to the Street Fighter franchise then welcome, and try not to judge some of the costumes too harshly!