Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers – Review

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is now available for the Nintendo Switch and it packs a serious nostalgia punch. When this game was first announced I was surprised to hear it was coming to Switch but with me being a big Street Fighter II fan I was thrilled. After spending time with it for the past week or so I can say it is everything I love about Street Fighter II with a few additions. You have the normal modes that everyone is familiar with but then there is also online battle, a “buddy battle” system and a mode called “Way of the Hado” that utilizes the Joy-con controllers. Overall it is a pretty slick package that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but doesn’t need to.

To start there is the normal Arcade mode. You can set the difficulty, choose the amount of rounds you want and various things like that. Once you get past that you are taken to the character select screen that shows off the usual cast of Street Fighter II characters. This time there are two new characters though with Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. As far as gameplay is concerned they appear to play the same way (for the most part) as normal Ryu and Ken. They just have more of an evil look and some of their moves look a tad different like the fireball looking purple for Evil Ryu and Violent Ken while being the normal blue for the regular versions. In addition to the normal slate of Street Fighter II characters that we all know is Akuma. He is a beast in this game just like in all of the other ones he shows up in. When I had to fight against him I noticed a definite jump in difficulty as compared to my other opponents and it is pretty cool seeing him in the game.

The next mode that I tried out was Buddy Battle. This allows you to team up with a friend and go two against one against the AI. Initially I thought it was a system where you tag in and out similar to something like X-Men vs. Street Fighter but instead you are both on the screen at once trying to beat the CPU. This can be a lot of fun if your friends aren’t very good but still want to play. You can concentrate on beating up the CPU as they join in and try to do what they can. Another use for this is young children. I have a niece that would probably get a kick out of this mode because she could be playing the game with me instead of just sitting on the couch and watching. While playing Buddy Battle I did notice a tiny bit of slowdown though so keep that in mind. All of that said Buddy Battle is a great diversion but probably isn’t where you are going to be spending a lot of your time.

Most of your time will probably be playing multiplayer. There is a versus mode where you can fight against a friend or the CPU. You can also fight local battles across two different consoles. Then of course is the online multiplayer. Online you can choose to fight in a casual match that doesn’t count for anything or you can play in a ranked match that will affect your battle rank. Both of them seem to work well and the one you pick will probably be dependent on how serious you are about Street Fighter. If you are just there to have a good time and kick back you might want to go for that casual match. If you want some good competition and to play against some people that are a bit more serious then you will want to go for the ranked match. Don’t get me wrong though…both modes will have some great players on it and neither one will be a cake walk. While playing it for review I was fairly even in terms of how many matches I won and lost which isn’t to bad.

The next mode is the Joy-con specific mode titled, “Way of the Hado”. In this mode you will use the Joy-con to control Ryu with motion commands. Essentially you will get to perform hadokens, dragon punches and more with motion controls. To do a hadoken, for example, you put the left part of the Joy-con in your left hand face up. Then you put the right Joy-con controller in the right hand and then you put your right hand on top of your left hand almost like you are sandwiching your hands together. At that point you shoot your arms forward and if you did it correctly than Ryu will shoot a fireball in the game. That is basically the gist of the mode. To do a dragon punch is similar only instead of trying to sandwich your hands together your right hand will go up, almost in an uppercut fashion. These moves seemed to work fairly well once I got the hang of it but there is a definite learning curve here. I think this is a great concept but I honestly can’t see me using this mode very often except maybe to show it off when friends come over.

Other items in the game include a gallery where you can view art and illustrations from the Street Fighter franchise. You can also edit and save your character’s costume colors in the Color Editor. Another item I enjoyed purely for nostalgic reasons was the two different graphical styles in this game. There is the current, modern look that you can go for or the original look that appears to be set in 4:3 with an Ultra Street Fighter II border on each side of the screen. I was annoyed I couldn’t change the style on the fly during fights as you can only change it in the options menu. That said I did find it pretty cool to flip between the two styles.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a pretty nice package. If you are a Street Fighter II fan and have played it before you pretty much know what you are getting here. The new modes include the Joy-con “Way of the Hado” mode and Buddy Battle. Then of course you have Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. It is up to you to decide whether the package is worth the asking price. If you are a big Street Fighter II fan I think you will like the package and the fact that you can now play Street Fighter II anywhere whether you are at home, on a plane or in a hotel room. If you aren’t a Street Fighter fan then this certainly won’t change your mind. For me personally I haven’t played to much of the newer Street Fighter games but I always enjoyed Street Fighter II and I’m happy that I now have it on my Switch console.

Score: 7.5/10
Originally posted on Gaming Target

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