Capcom’s Street Fighter series has been giving players calloused hands for almost three decades now. The latest game in the series, Ultra Street Fighter IV has now made the jump from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, which were released earlier in the year, to the PC.
Apart from the odd dabble over the years, the last time that I seriously played a Street Fighter game was SFII on the Commodore Amiga way back in the early 90s.
And the fighting game genre has come a long way since then.
We’ve seen pixels give way to polygons as fighting games made the jump into the 3D dimension. But all the while the Street Fighter series has maintained the same visual style that made it look so good back in the day.
Ultra Street Fighter IV’s cell-shaded 3D models allows for a beautiful and modern-looking level of detail whilst retaining the unmistakable cartoon-ish Street Fighter visual style. With the optional rendering effects for ink, watercolour and poster effects, every frame becomes a work of art. This a one attractive-looking game.
I was able to run the game at 1920×1080 with all the settings maxed out on my i7 GTX680 rig, with only a stutter when saving- which was admittedly a bit odd, but not a deal breaker.
For the uninitiated the Street Fighter games have been around forever and feature an international cast of colourful combatants fighting each other in locations around the world. The action is mental fast with matches often becoming nothing more than a blur.
Ultra Street Fighter IV gives players immediate access to a roster of over forty fighters from the series’ history each one with a number of costume and ability options. There’s also almost thirty locations to fight across from a North American skyscraper to south Asian streets.
Each character is meticulously detailed and retains all their signature moves, which veterans are going to instantly recognise.
With so many characters it’s difficult to choose which to play with. And seeing as it would take a lifetime to master each character, you are going to need to pick just a few and stick with them. With each fighter having a unique fighting style, there’s something for everyone and if you find yourself not getting on with the game, it’s likely that you just haven’t found the right character yet.
As you’d expect the game comes complete with a number of different modes. Arcade mode is your basic grind through AI fighters chosen by the game. Verses allows you to pick a fight with any character in any arena and either play against the AI or a friend sitting next to you.
Multiplayer battle sends you online for what was, for me, a very sobering experience with a ninja-fingered opponent. Challenges mode allows you to partake in the game’s bonus mini-games like smashing up a car or breaking barrels. Then there’s the training mode, where I really need to spend more time.
Ultra Streetfight IV is a beautiful game. You could say that the fighting game has moved on from the quick-quick-slow Street Fighter style of combat. But under its modern-retro styling there’s a sophisticated set of game mechanics providing an experience that’s both fun and challenging.
Up against the likes of Dead or Alive, Tekken and even DC’s Injustice, the game does seem bit old-school, but there is a reason that Street Fighter has endured. And that reason has been captured perfectly in Ultra Street Fighter IV.