It’s been over fiver years since Capcom revived interest in the arcade fighting genre in one swift move with the release of Street Fighter IV. This is not an exaggeration and the proof is in the thousands of arcade that it helped shift over the years. Surprisingly enough, the publisher is still supporting this title to this very day and the latest proof comes in the form of the Ultra Street Fighter IV edition.
Unlike the Super and Arcade editions that came before, this new version of the popular fighting title seems keen on focusing more on any new features added. It’s possible that anyone that isn’t huge on the genre will initially not notice them. After all, Street Fighter IV has always been popular with skills players due to its inclusion in just about every arcade tournament in the last few years.
One such new feature added is Red Focus, the ability to perform quick parries by using two bars(fill up whilst fighting). It’s actually a bit difficult to explain properly how players may benefit from this new move. It was possible to perform this move a couple of times(some by accident). It’s a handy way to deal with quick strikes when facing characters like Chun Li. It definitely felt like one of those moves which will take some serious practise before being able to take full advantage of in a match.
Another new idea that works quite well is being able o choose both Ultra moves for a character. This meant dealing less damage, but it presented the opportunity of having more choices when it came to using up the Ultra meter. It worked well enough in practice, given than it adds the element of surprise, since there are different Ultra combos to choose from. It makes for more entertaining matches due to the fact that they end up being less predictable.
As usual, existing characters have been modified to accommodate the arrival of new challengers. Playing a few matches as Cammy gave the feeling that some of her trademark attacks have a shorter range. It’s always interesting to see all these little changes since it ends up having a profound effect when it comes to how each character performs against all the others. This also gives new players a better fighting chance since those used to how these characters performed in previous editions will have to adapt.
On a more superficial note, there are also various new costumes for each character. Some of the costumes given to characters are rather fetching. Poor Dan has been given a tribal outfit that makes him look even funnier than usual. These may seem insignificant when compared to ensuring character moves are balanced and new features worked well. But at the same time, it’s nice to have these new costumes included as part of the edition for anyone that likes playing with different outfits.
Each of the four characters currently announced as new additions also have also starred in Capcom’s cross fighting title, Street Fighter X Tekken. Out of these four characters, the one that seems the most balanced in the current build is Poison. Her quick whip attacks and upward kick move from Street Fighter x Tekken work really well. Her ability to move swiftly within the arena and fairly accessible move set are sure to make her a favourite with casual players.
Elena on the other hand feels like more of a technical character. Her attacks now seem to have a shorter range when compared to her outings in both 3rd Strike and Street Fighter X Tekken. It felt like the sort of change that players would adapt after a few matches.
Hugo is still a power beast and it feels like his range of moves has gotten more similar to Zangief’s. It’s still very enjoyable to successfully perform some of his devastating grabs. Rolento is very agile and playing a few rounds with him gave the feeling that he has become a character that is easy to use.
This edition also includes a few stages from Street Fighter X Tekken. The ones used during a few fights seemed to fit in right at home with other unusual Street Fighter locations. On a final note, it became apparent after playing a couple of matches that it has become harder to take advantage of knock backs to link Ultra/Super moves.
It’s surprising to see that Capcom can still add some new elements to a title that has been given various new editions over the years. Even more so since it’s been done successfully. The promise of even more new content being announced certainly makes for a promising new edition of Street Fighter IV.
This new edition feels like it’s targeted towards skilled players and so to stimulate completive play. But the addition of characters such as Poison also mean others can get into. It needs a few minor changes, but Ultra Street Fighter IV seems like a worthy new challenger.