Street Fighter is a fighting game series that is close to my heart. Like many others, Street Fighter II was my introduction to the series and to this date, it remains one of the most played entries in the Street Fighter franchise. Seriously, this game used to be in every arcade and played by millions of people worldwide. It redefined fighting games for years to come and had a memorable cast of characters from Ryu, Ken to classic villains like M. Bison and Sagat. These characters have all become iconic now thanks to the exploding popularity of Street Fighter II.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is perhaps the definitive version of the game that is released on Nintendo’s new shiny handheld/console hybrid offering an experience that is not only playable on the go, but also on the big screen. The game features remastered visuals that adhere to the artwork of the original game. The new sprites are clearly made for a high-definition resolution and they look gorgeous on the big screen. However to top it off, these visuals are not forced which means the game gives you the choice to switch between either the remastered visuals or the old school sprites, which evoke nostalgic memories of playing the game in arcades.
The core gameplay of Street Fighter II is solid. There is still the same amount of enthusiasm when executing a hadouken or shuryuken. The characters from the classic Street Fighter II are all there but Capcom has added two new ones this time around: Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. Both of these characters might be familiar to fans of the franchise and since this is the first time these characters have appeared in Street Fighter II, their fighting moves are rather interesting to use here. Evil Ryu is able to use the power of the dark hadou to execute some flashy moves. He is a fun character to use in the game but feels like a little overpowered at times.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is based on the 2008 release of Street Fighter II: HD Remix. The visuals have been slightly retouched for the Switch re-release and Capcom has also added plenty of content to the game including a variety of different modes, however the price of the game at launch is $39.99, and while I enjoyed my time with it, the price seems like a bigger hurdle here than the overall package. Considering that Street Fighter II: HD Remix launched at $14.99 back in 2008, perhaps a similar but slightly more expensive price point could have made it a more attractive value proposition, but as it stands, Ultra Street Fighter II has to do a lot to justify its asking price.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers has added a set of new modes to the mix. Some of the modes are returning from the past games including the buddy mode, which allows you to fight against an opponent alongside a friend. This is a fun little mode that is good for a short burst of time as the game pits two human controlled players against a CPU controlled opponent. Aside from that, there is the Arcade mode from Super Street Fighter II Turbo and the Versus Mode, which also works for local multiplayer. If you prefer to try your skills online, there is an online mode for that as well so basically majority of the required gameplay modes have been covered by Capcom, but they have also added some neat extras to the game.
One of the new mode, which is specifically marketed for Street Fighter II on the Switch, is the Way of the Hado mode. This is a unique mode that utilizes the motion control scheme offered by the Switch hardware to present a first person action mini game where the player has the ability to use hadouken and shuryuken by attempting these moves in real life. This mode is mostly aimed at the casual players however the way it has been integrated into the game is terrible.
To start off, the motion controls have a tendency to register incorrectly which executes a different move than what you are trying to attempt. Even if we ignore the inconsistent motion feedback, the gameplay is simply not fun. You are just fighting an endless goons of M. Bison army so it often feels dull for a short amount of time, trying to build combos until a final boss arrives. It is exciting to see at first but gets repetitive rather quickly and unless you want to keep a high score, it doesn’t serve much purpose here. It is a shame though because the first person camera view of executing an attack is a cool concept, but it just needs to integrated in a meaningful way for the game.
If you are a fan of the artwork, you can check out some exclusive art in the Gallery section. There is also a color editor available for those who prefer to use a custom color for their character. It is not essential for the overall experience but it still provides an incentive for customization of the characters.
The biggest disappointment with Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is the disappointing ‘Way of the Hado’ mode. The price of the game could have been cheaper but there is no doubt that this is a solid port and the definitive way to play Ultra Street Fighter II on the go.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a fighting game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Switch video game console, which released on May 26, 2017.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers offers a nostalgic trip down the memory lane, featuring the same addictive gameplay from Super Street Fighter II but improving it with remastered visuals. It takes advantage of the hardware features offered by the Switch to offer an experience that makes it the definitive version of Street Fighter II.