[Review] Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers - Nintendo Everything

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[Review] Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

Posted on May 24, 2017 by (@LyonHart_) in Reviews, Switch, Switch eShop

System: Switch
Release date: May 26, 2017
Developer:: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Chances are nowadays that when you talk to someone about fighting games, one of the first titles to come to mind is Street Fighter. The series has spanned decades, with 2017 marking its 30th anniversary which is further celebrated with the updated release of one of the most seminal fighting games of all time, Street Fighter II. Before the imminent release of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers on Switch, the game had already returned many times in the past. To some this may seem excessive, but for the most hardcore of Street Fighter fans, it’s a way to continually preserve the history of one of the most successful fighting game franchises of all time, as well as one of the most important titles in the series. However you look at it, Ultra Street Fighter II has a lot to love about it if you’re an avid Street Fighter fan, but may leave a lot to be desired to those looking to jump in for the first time or have casually spent time with the series over the last three decades.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is an arcade game that’s been brought over to your home and, with the power of Switch, the palm of your hand. The thing is, like most arcade games, while they’re fun for what they are, they’re meant for short bursts and don’t actually have that much content. Everything from the start is unlocked, and the few things you see on the main menu when booting up the game, like Arcade, Buddy Battle, Versus, Online, and Way of the Hado is all you’ll really have to play around with.

Arcade Mode offers your standard Street Fighter experience where you’ll choose a character and go towards a series of fights. Nothing particularly exciting happens here besides getting to write your initials at the end of it all. It’s a classic way of playing, but it looks great doing it thanks to the refined visuals.

The sprite work is wonderful, and it’s made even more apparent when switching between the classic style and the HD style Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers has on by default. It’s fun switching between the two, and also changing the sound quality in the process, to see the differences between the original hit and its contemporary big brother. Capcom has done a wonderful job restoring it for 2017, and it looks utterly fantastic on Switch’s screen.

Oddly enough however, the game doesn’t operate at a full 16:9 – it’s more like a 3:2, so there are slight black bars to the left and right side of the screen. The blacked out sides are slightly in use if touch mode is enabled, which allows the player to tap the sides of the screen in handheld mode to initiate one-touch combos instead of a string of inputs. Other than that, though, it’s odd to see the game not be in full widescreen, even though the menus are. It’s a strange disposition that’s weird to look at and go in and out of in between battles. The main menu is incredibly clean and gives the option to change backgrounds while browsing the options, so it gives a sense of personalization to the game, but with the background being mostly covered by the game modes available, it doesn’t really offer much.

Buddy Battle is, to me, where the game really shines. Rather than fighting one another, players can team up either locally or with a CPU and go 2 v 1 against some tough opponents. Teammates share one health bar, and when one player is defeated, it counts as two rounds won for the 1 CPU, so you’re constantly on your toes and making sure you’re not always going in guns blazing or having one person take all the hits. It’s an immense amount of fun, and much like Arcade Mode you’ll just keep going through a string of fights until you “win” the mode. Enemies will get tougher, and having the right combination of fighters is key to success towards the end.

You can even look cool doing it by choosing between one of ten color options for fighters this time around – and even make your own in the Color Editor by making unique skins for the fighters or the ones you like to main. It’s extremely easy to use and has a simple selection of three layers of colors to choose from to modify the palette of a character. One will effect skin tone, the other clothes, another decal or secondary colors. Making a specific combination of colors and saving it will make it available for the character you chose to edit, and can be used in all available game modes. I had fun making an avatar-looking Chun Li and a Hulk-inspired Ryu. It’s a small and goofy but also cool thing to have to add a little more personalization to the feel of the game for players who dive in.

One of the highlights of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is that, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter, Capcom has put a wonderful gallery that you can view at any time that contains art and illustrations throughout the years – a lot of which are out-of-print or never saw a release outside of Japan. All of the images have been faithfully restored and uploaded at an extremely high resolution so you can view them in all their crisp beauty as well as zoom in to get a better look at the detail on some pieces. Although you may not visit it much, it’s an absolute joy to go through it and see how much the series has changed, the different styles and amount of characters that have made their way over to Street Fighter, and the different interpretations various artists have.

The most surprising new feature Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers brings is regrettably its worst, which is its new Way of the Hado mode. Way of the Hado has players become Ryu in a first-person, motion controlled mode that basically turns into a first-person brawler that’s poorly executed. The tutorial has a few moves to teach when starting up, and once that’s done you’ll jump right into a Stage Battle or an Endless Battle, where you can fight a bunch of M. Bison’s goons until you tire of the same monotonous Hadoukens and Shoryukens. Motion controls can be tricky, as a lot of the time there’s an issue with calibration and accuracy, and this just adds to the fire. It’s a cool concept that’s immediately shut down once you begin to try it. Enemies come at you slowly, and all Ryu does is stand there while you’re left to your moves. If there had been a little more mobility rather than a tech demo, this could have been a mode that was much more fleshed out and appreciated, but this was what seems like another attempt to make something a little more worthwhile for the game’s overall content.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, this game is simply Street Fighter at its most basic. While Street Fighter II is a seminal entry in the series and fighting games as a whole, there are only so many tweaks, changes, and remasters one can do before it begins to lose value. Even though the aforementioned sprite work is stunning, the controls hold up, and the history is preserved and added to even more with a great gallery, overall Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers sometimes feels like a shallow attempt at a game that’s really had nothing added to it since the last time we saw it get remade. The few new modes and additions of Evil Ryu and Violent Ken don’t add much – if anything – to the overall gameplay, so it doesn’t necessarily shake things up.

The Verdict

Ultimately, Street Fighter II’s gameplay holds up, though Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a game we’ve seen multiple iterations of over and over. The inclusion of Evil Ryu and Violent Ken as extra characters with a few new modes just don’t feel substantial enough. The game is meant for the most hardcore of Street Fighter fans, and although I do believe casual fans will enjoy it, they’ll be relying on their friends to play with to use their copy since there is no real incentive here for someone who is on and off with the series or even potentially brand new to pick this up. There is no denying, however, that the sprite work and everything that’s been remastered looks stunning both on TV and off. The most hardcore of Street Fighter fans will undoubtedly appreciate having this in their collection, especially now with the ability to play on the go and immediately have access to multiplayer features with single Joy-Con support. But if you’ve played Street Fighter II previously, you largely know what to expect.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers review copy provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

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  • Justmadeanaccount2

    This game is lazy and barely offers anything new. It’s just Street Fighter II HD remix with a horrible mini game, color editor, and two slightly color modified sprites they’re trying to pass off as new characters. I wouldn’t pay more than 10 bucks for this.

    • Hylian Ticipated

      Forget Way of the Hado, which should have never been a thing, but color editor mode, replays, grab breaks, and the art gallery are new. I’m not sure what you’re wanting out of Street Fighter II other than what it’s always been. Now there’s a chance for another community of SFII players again without using FightCade for unreliable old arcade ports.

      • Justmadeanaccount2

        Fanboys will make excuses for any sub par garbage that’s thrown on the Switch. I was expecting NEW CHARACTERS AND STAGES. THIS IS A NEW GAME. This barely adds anything to the game besides some BS no one cares about. Who is going to play that horrible mini game? Who is going to flip through the image gallery more than once? How long are you going to play with the characters colors until you get bored? These are LAZY features that were just thrown in to make it seem like they did something. This is 40 freaking bucks and the original HD Remix was 10 bucks. This is in no way worth 30 more bucks.

        • Hylian Ticipated

          Nobody is arguing the price. You’re saying it’s lazy, and perhaps it is, but it’s Street Fighter II. If you want to complain, then do so about why there’s not the next mainline SF on the Switch instead of what was already expected. Say what you will, but I love having my own color palette for a character. The artbook is out of print and are all high quality scans, over 3000 pieces of art. This game is SFII for SFII fans. The longevity is the core gameplay even without colors and concept art. The only thing that’s truly lazy is the broken and gawd awful Hado mode. The rest works as is.

        • Lance Devon

          New game? Where the HELL have you been the past decade and a half? Capcom loves their re-re-re-releases.

          Don’t like it, be a big boy, put on the pants and keep your wallet in the pocket. It’s what smart people do when Capcom releases something… Again…. And again.

  • theFooFighter

    As someone that has become a more hardcore street fighter fan recently I’ll definitely get my $40 worth out of this. I can see why casual players would think it’s meh but I’m going to find a main and drop a few hundred hours into the online mode over the course of the next few years just like every other fighter

    • Hylian Ticipated

      I think the price is definitely too much, but I’ll also get my money’s worth out of it, like you. I’ll be putting a lot hours into fighting friends and that’s easily justifiable compared to a single player experience for $60. I do think it should be cheaper in price, but I’m hardcore and I won’t be thinking about the price I paid next year when I’m still playing it.

    • Atom Smasher

      Let’s just hope Capcom doesn’t completely bork the netcode.

  • Melatelo

    The fact Capcom ported Street Fighter 4 to the 3DS for the launch..and this is what we get on the Switch is kinda sad. Not to mention how much work that would of been to get the game on the 3DS which was vastly underpowered when compared to the 360/PS3. Instead we get a port of a remake that already came out on previous gen consoles- with a few added features. Capcom take almost zero risks these days, it’s just sad. Even a couple of years back we were getting interesting titles like Dragon’s Dogma and Asura’s Wrath. Won’t be picking this up that’s for sure- not at that price.

    • Velen (Not WoW)

      That’s cause SFIV and it’s updates have been milked to death already, so there’s no point in putting it on the Switch from a financial perspective.

      I’m more irked by the fact they’re not making a Switch version for MvC Infinite. Switch could definitely handle those graphics.

      • Reggie

        And SFII hasn’t already been milked to death?

        • Velen (Not WoW)

          Point taken.

      • MajoraMan28

        Was it confirmed that Switch won’t be getting MvC?

        • Lance Devon

          Nothing stated yet, but I predict the first release will skip the Switch. If Capcom does what they always do, they’ll release an “ultimate” version a year later with all the DLC and perhaps sees a Switch release. Probably better in the long run for Fighter gamers who own Switch anyway, no need to pay for more pieces of a full game than a game’s legitimate price.

          • Velen (Not WoW)

            @majoraman28:disqus What he said, and considering the fact the game comes out in September, there’s no way it’s getting a Switch version this time around.

  • Linkavitch Chomofsky

    I’ll get it once it gets down to twenty. Definitely a must buy for me, but it’s not urgent.

    • Linkavitch Chomofsky

      Also, maybe it’s easier for someone who lived through the arcade era to justify, but $40 dollars is only 160 quarters. I used to drop a lot more than that into the machines.

  • FutureFox

    It’s just good to have a Street Fighter before too much craziness was added; and that’s from someone who really likes SF third strike.

  • Roto Prime

    I truly hope this game sells super good and then Capcom makes Ultra Street Fighter III 3rd Strike on the Nintendo Switch hard copy!!! I will buy that game 2x a month for a year…

    • R.Z.

      I hope the game sells super bad and Capcom puts some effort in their next titles.

      • Reggie

        Nah, it only does the opposite. They lose out on money and are forced to make up for the losses by developing cheap mobile games.

Related Game Info

Platform: SWITCH
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release date: May 26, 2017
OWN IT: 2 [I own this game]
BEAT IT: 0 [I beat this game]
Buy now