6 tips for playing Ultra Street Fighter 4
Better study up on the competition.
1. Try out all the characters.
I know this goes without saying, I mean it's Street Fighter. Chances are this isn't your first rodeo playing a fighting game before. If it does happen to be your first entry into playing Ultra Street Fighter 4, then you have quite a few characters to choose from. There are 44 characters to choose from in total, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and learning curve.
Try playing and testing all of the characters to see what they can do. Everyone has their own playing style, so you don't necessarily have to use a character someone else is using because they seem to do a lot of damage or take less time to master. Mastering even one character can take months if not years to do, so take your time and learn what you can about that character. I main Poison in Ultra Street Fighter 4 and there are some things I'm still learning about her myself.
Another thing: don't pay attention to tiers. I know, tiers are there for a reason to show you who the best and worst characters, but honestly any character can be good in the right hands. It's all about how well you use that character. Sometimes people pick characters based on their interests, others due it for their fighting preferences. A good example is Cammy being a popular choice. Her attacks are quick, her combos do reasonable damage and she's good at keeping her opponent on their feet.
2. Endless lobby is your friend.
Training mode? Sure, you could use that if you want to, but endless lobby is where it's at. In endless lobby you can join up to 8 other people and watch others fight while you wait your turn and chat with others. I can't stress enough how important it is to watch how others play so you can start planning out a strategy. Everything from how they play to the characters they use will play a big role in how well you're going to do against them.
Not only is this mode important for getting great at the game, but it's also a fantastic way to meet up with other people in the game. Having a chat with some of the others fighters can really open up things about certain characters that you may or may not have known. Plus, it doesn't hurt to make a few friends while you're blasting fire at your opponent. That's just part of the fun.
Such a mode was created for communication and team work. It's not always about beating your opponent, but rather learning just how other people well based on the character they're using. I've learned a few new things about Poison and Rolento just from watching other people play. Get a good group together and have a weekly endless lobby gathering so you can learn a few things, and get to know some really great people.
Poison kicking butt.
3. Play to learn, not play to win.
Accept what I'm about to tell you and take it with a grain of salt:everyone loses. Just because someone is the best at Street Fighter doesn't mean they didn't have their fair share of losses as well. That's all part of the learning experience. If your playing solely for the purpose of winning every single fight then you're going to be in for some major disappointment. There are some people that have been playing Street Fighter 4 for years, and this includes major tournaments and events. You're not going to win every single match, but you should be in it to learn something from each fight.
If you win, learn why you won. if you lost, learn why you lost and how you can do better in the next match. Fighting games such as this are designed for the purpose of learning and adapting, not at being the number one fighter in the whole universe. I used to be like that when I was younger, spending hours fighting person after person so I could be the best in the Xbox Live leaderboards. Then the logical part of my brain slapped some sense into me and made me realize I was fighting for the wrong reasons. I would take every loss hard and be hard on myself, when in reality it was all a learning experience.
Learning something new about a character, or even reviewing something that you already know about them is a great way to stay ahead in Ultra Street Fighter 4. Keep in mind that there is always someone out there who is better at fighting than you are. It comes with the territory of any fighting game. Don't take your losses too hard, and don't take your wins too lightly.
4. Don't Ultra as you're getting up.
So you've been getting rocked in the first or 2nd round. Your opponent is giving you a good beating with Rolento and you have Ultra ready to unleash. They knock you down to the ground, and you figure"oh no they don't, I'm not going down without a fight!". So you decide to use your Ultra as you're getting up. Then they end up blocking it, or even worse see it coming and jump over you, leaving you open to a barrage of attacks. Then you sit there and wonder "how the heck did that happen?".
On instinct, it may seem wise at times to use your Ultra meter when you're getting up. Heck, you may even have an unblockable ultra or your opponent's health is low enough where you can chip them out and win the match. Don't do that. Ultra on wake up is super predictable. Newer fighters make this easy mistake because they figure the opponent is overconfident and will let their guard down. It's the kind of things a veteran player looks for, and one they will take advantage of when given the opportunity.
Save up your Ultra and wait for the moment to strike. That could mean anything from comboing into it from Red Focus, using it from a regular combo or using it when you think the opponent is vulnerable from a focus attack. There are also other circumstances that allow you to use them too. Chun-li's Hoyokusen Ultra can go through fireballs at the start of the fireball when it comes out. Cammy's Ultra, Gyro Drive Smasher, can go underneath Ryu's fireball at certain distances and Ken's fireball as well.
5. If it's been a while, hit that training mode!
Something that I'll refer to as "the fighter's curse" occurs when you haven't fought in Street Fighter 4 or other fighters in a while and you're rusty. Some people take a brief hiatus from a fighting game, then come back to it and get wrecked pretty hard. Combos end up getting dropped, inputs don't come out the way they usually do. That also comes with the territory of any fighting game, specifically this one.
Even going a week without playing Street Fighter 4 will show in your fighting and play style. Go to training mode, get your hands used to doing special move cancels, nail your inputs correctly and hop back into the fray in online modes. Some people get back into the groove of fighting games faster than others. This will also depend on the character you're using. A character's learning curve can take a while to get used to again when you haven't played in a while.
Since I tend to always use Poison I just focus on nailing down my combos into Whip of Love and jump cancels. I also have to remind myself to play aggressively with Poison and zone out my opponent with Aeolus Edge and crouching medium kick.
6. Just have fun!
As cheesy as they may sound, the most important tip of all is just to have fun and experience the game. Street Fighter 4 has a large fanbase that grows each and every day. With Ultra Street Fighter 4 it brings about new characters and new mechanics to them. Have fun and tinker around with all of them. Experience the taste of victory and the bitter slap of defeat. Get to know some of the people around you and play with them often. If you're not having fun playing the game then you're doing it wrong.
So you may not be the best fighter, and it make be a while before you become great at the game. Remember that rome wasn't built in a day and you don't have to be great at everything. Learn at your own pace and just have a good time with the game itself. That's really all there is to it.