Top Critic Average
Ultra's label insinuates that this is the ultimate realisation of Housemarque's original vision. In truth, it's little more than a re-skin, and the seasoning of novelties adds little of enduring substance. Instead, the original remains a classic. Its somewhat sterile charms are undiminished by time, and so space cadets will find much to love here, in the bustle of a perennial galactic rush hour. Veterans, however, need not apply. Whether that's testament to Housemarque's delivery of an original that could not be improved by tampering, or its new custodian's lack of vision, is another question.
Without doubt the definitive version of Super Stardust. Some might be disappointed about the fairly limited new additions, but regardless, it's still one of the greatest arcade shooters around.
Overall, this is a great arcade throwback - an old school style shooter where the only goal is to get the highest score you can and unlock the planets. However, the question of whether there's enough new content here for those who bought last gen's Super Stardust HD including the DLC, I wouldn't recommend it. That said, this is the perfect introduction for new players.
A classic continues to live on with Super Stardust Ultra. Although its transition to PS4 feels minimal in places (especially with the lack of online play), it's still rich with content, and its shoot-em-up action will draw you in for hours on end – especially if you're working your way up the leaderboards. Besides, those rocks aren't going to blast themselves, right?
Returning fans won't get much new worthwhile content, except in the refreshing streaming mode, but if you are new the series this is the kitten kabootle of all things Stardust.
That's not as negative as it might sound, though, because huge AAA games with massive production and marketing budgets have come out and been completely forgotten in the seven years since Super Stardust first landed on the PS3, but the advantage of a great arcade game is that it's timeless. It's just as much fun today to blast through massive fields of rocks and dodge-y, twisty, explodey enemy waves as it was in the early days of the PS3, and if the rumored (but incredibly likely) Morpheus compatibility works out then it will be great in VR, too.
For long time fans of Super Stardust, this is probably a disappointment. There's not much that's new, save for a new mode or two. If you've never played the game before though, this is as complete a package as you'll get.
If you already own a prior entry and aren't bonkers about the series, you can probably pass on Super Stardust Ultra in favor of something original like Geometry Wars 3, as very little is wholly new here. But if you're the type of gamer who worked tirelessly in the past for a top Stardust score and can't get enough, this is the smoothest package yet. While I may be slowing down with my love for the franchise in light of recent competition, the light isn't entirely extinguished.
It's hard to describe Super Stardust Ultra as a disappointment, because the core gameplay loop – almost eight years after its original introduction – is still as enjoyable as ever. That said, this doesn't feel like the next frontier for Housemarque's revered shooter series – more like a stopgap along the way. Veterans should know that, outside of some visual enhancements and extra modes, this is pretty much Super Stardust HD. That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course; newcomers are encouraged to take aim at this right away.
If you've never played a Super Stardust game before, then Super Stardust Ultra is an easy sell. You're getting a host of fantastic game modes to explore along with fantastic graphics and a smooth framerate. This is the complete package and there hasn't been a better time to suit up and take a ship for a spin. However if you've already played Super Stardust HD then the extra game modes and visual enhancements may not be worth the asking price. The game will remain to be an arcade classic, but existing fans will find a lot of disappointment here if they're looking for a new experience. In the end, this a good update to an already fantastic game that deserves its place on the PlayStation 4. But next time, let's have a brand new game Sony.
There is nothing at all wrong with the core of Super Stardust Ultra. The issue lies with how much remains the same as a title that came out nearly eight years ago while the studio responsible have moved on to bigger and better things.