Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers review: No Hado

Does Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers provide the ultimate Street Fighter experience on the go for Nintendo Switch users?

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: May 26, 2017

“I think fighting games have gotten a little too complex these days with 3D planes and graphics, monster combos and specials, and some even have equipment you can earn and upgrade! Whatever happened to the simple, one-on-one 2D fighters of the 16-bit heydays?” If that’s something you are constantly asking yourself, then Capcom has heard you because that seems to be the primary idea behind Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers for the Nintendo Switch.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is essentially an HD port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, which came out way back in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. In case you weren’t up on your Street Fighter history, Street Fighter II was such a massive success they released half a dozen versions before finally moving up to the third numbered entry in the series. So this new game is at its core a port of a game nearly 25 years old. But it has been updated with a number of tweaks and a few new modes to make it more than just your straight port. Does that make it enough to warrant a purchase?

Capcom

The first thing that really stood out to me about Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers was just how crisp the visuals are. Sure, it’s an old game, so it’s not going to be as impressive as efforts like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, but every fighter looks incredibly clean and smooth along with the stages while simple, being nicely detailed with great use of color.

This is an example of a game looking like how you remember it instead of how pixelated it actually looked almost 25 years ago. And if you want that experience? Ultra Street Fighter II allows you to switch back and forth between “classic” and “new” graphic styles. Though again, the “new” style is so good to look at I can’t imagine going back to “classic” except to be wowed at how much of a difference there is. This goes for music and sound effects as well, and I feel the same way. Some of the updated music is tremendous, especially standout tracks like Vega’s.

Capcom

So aside from updated visuals and sound, what new does Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers have to offer people? Well, firstly, there are a few new modes. The most significant one of these is the ability to play against other people online. Unfortunately, as of this review, the online mode has not been made available to try out, and will not be until the game actually releases. If that is a primary reason you want to buy this game, you may want to hold off until the game is actually out and people have gotten time in with the online mode. We will update this review when have gotten some time with that mode.

The other new modes are “Buddy Battle” and “Way of the Hado.” “Buddy Battle is where you and a buddy can both take on a computer opponent. Why is this even a mode? I have no idea. Maybe if someone wants to play with you are they aren’t very good? It’s perfectly functional but seems completely pointless.

“Way of the Hado” is way worse than pointless, however. In this mode, you play as Ryu, arguably the most iconic of the cast of the Street Fighter franchise. It’s in first-person mode, and you use his well-known maneuvers to mow down waves of Shadaloo soldiers. It might have had some potential, but then someone had the idea to make it based on motion controls. The result shouldn’t surprise you. It’s monotonous and dull and on top of that, the motion controls barely work. Anything I pulled off was by complete accident. This is not a mode even worth trying for a laugh, it’s just terrible.

The other new additions to the game are two “new fighters”; Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. How are they different from the normal versions of these guys, you ask? Well, other than a couple different maneuvers (i.e. Violent Ken has a teleport), not much. The series has such a varied roster; it would have been nice to throw somebody in there that was in a game from later in the series or even throw in a couple of guest characters from another series. It’s still a pretty good-sized roster with 19 characters that all play pretty differently, though, so you should find somebody that fits your play style as is.

Capcom

The thing about Street Fighter as a series, though, is it’s generally a game that demands an excellent controller in order to pull off some very complicated moves, so how do the controls for the Nintendo Switch handle a game like that? Not super well, I’m afraid. I will admit that I’m far from a fighting game expert, but I’ve definitely put in my fair share of hours in a wide variety of fighting games. I can usually manage to pull off basic maneuvers and a few special moves, if not some devastating combos and supers.

While the Nintendo Switch offers a wide variety of control options for Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, all are just different levels of underwhelming.  This mostly due to the button placement, the L and R triggers are just not the best setup for pulling off moves that require a series of button presses. But also the D-pad that comes on the Joy-Cons is pretty abysmal for this style of game. The Pro Controller has a great D-pad, so that does help a lot. However, that adds an additional $70 to serve the best of several underwhelming options for playing an already expensive Ultra Street Fighter II on your Nintendo Switch.

Capcom

At the end of the day, I have to wonder who Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is really for. If you just want a competitive multiplayer game on the Nintendo Switch, there are better options. There are arguably comparable cheaper options in the myriad of Neo Geo releases on the eShop if you just want a good classic fighting game. So I can only imagine this is for those who own a Switch, want to play Street Fighter II on the go, and are willing to deal with functional but sub-par controls to get it or pay a lot more for a better controller to play it with. That has to be a pretty small audience.

Update added after online component was added: A big appeal of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is the online portion. With the Nintendo Switch, you can actually try out your skills against anyone, anywhere. Well, anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection any rate. The good news: the online works pretty well, There were a few hiccups here and there due to poor connection speed, but with several hours of playing I never had a problem with dropped fights and it never took too long. The problem is that the online is about as bare bones and stripped down as you can get. There is casual, ranked, and that’s it. No options to set up leagues, tournaments, guilds, etc. No extra modes that might be different and fun. It’s functional, but just feels so limited.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

Capcom

6

With a functional, but extremely bare bones online component, the game nonetheless offers great visuals and audio quality. Underwhelming new gameplay modes and controls just don’t transfer well to the standard Joy-Con controls for the Nintendo Switch.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.