Get ready to perform hadouken’s, spinning bird kicks and front kicks till your hearts content with Ultra Streetfighter II: The Final Challengers for the Nintendo Switch. The series has come a long way since the release of Street Fighter 2 back in 1991 in the arcade, but how does it shape up today?
The heart of Streetfighter 2 has always been its close combat three round matches where the first fighter to win two rounds wins as well as its precise controls and deadly combination attacks. Each fighter always came with a raft of special moves that required some solid timing to pull off when needed and choosing the best fighter to face your opponent was never an easy task. Over the years, the balance of the various characters has been tweaked to a point where the feeling of a character being overpowered is no longer the case. The secret is to discover your enemies weak spot and exploit it to the maximum. Thankfully the formula here with Ultra Street Fighter II is close to its core which is an absolute must have when dealing with a franchise that’s so respected and ingrained into gaming culture as one wrong decision can result in a backlash from fans across the globe.
Thankfully Capcom knows how to impress its fans and has kept the core formula intact here for the Nintendo Switch which is fantastic news. Right off the bat, Ultra Streetfighter II: The Final Challengers features a host of game type modes for you to choose from. The classic Arcade mode is here which involves you selecting your character of choice from a roster of 19 characters. There are 17 characters than you will be familiar with ranging from Chun Li to Cammy, Bison to Blanka, there all here. In addition, there are two new characters to try out, Evil Ryu and Evil Ken. Both of these Evil characters have dark histories with Ken who has been brainwashed by M. Bison and Ryu who succumbed to his own inner darkness. Each of these new characters have an aggressive play style. For me personally my favorite character seems to be Cammy over the years, despite initially being Ken, I found it more pleasurable to see the look on my opponents faces when they were KO’d by a female character; priceless.
The formula for Arcade mode remains the same and requires you to defeat 12 warriors that are randomly selected aside from the 4 bosses. If you do find it difficult to proceed you’ll be happy to know that there is a training mode where you can brush up on your techniques as combo’s in order to win your battles. Learning how to perform a special move is not always easy, whether its timing your charge up to deliver a sonic boom to rotating the thumb stick 360 degrees and performing a screw piledriver. Thankfully for newcomers, there is a neat option called Lite controls that essentially allow you to execute at the press of a button a special move. If you’re playing in handheld mode you can use the touchscreen to execute these. It’s a great way for those who cannot execute the special moves to have access to these readily.
Next is Buddy Battle which I found extremely interesting and fun and involves you teaming up with a friend or even a CPU character to face off against your opponent. Essentially, it’s a 2 vs 1 battle where you can both attack your opponent at the same time and from both sides as well. However, both your health bars are essentially halved and you share the same health bar so it’s important to ensure the other player isn’t taking a beating otherwise you will lose the match as well, it’s a team effort. Other modes include versus mode where you can play locally on the one Nintendo Switch which is seamless and fun, provided you have a spare set of Joy-Con’s lying about.
The final mode that is exclusive to Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is Way of the Hado. Here you enter a first person view and become Ryu. Your task is to use the Joy-Con and motion controls to try and execute a Hadouken and Shoryuken move against waves of enemies. Personally, I found this mode fun for a few minutes but grew tired relatively quickly. It’s a neat addition that would be fun with a group of friends around to share in the fun.
There are always times where you wish you could save your favorite match or show your friends that awesome combo that you executed, but unfortunately, they weren’t around when it all happened. Well fear not as Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers adds in replay mode which allows you to save your favorite battles to replay whenever you like which is a fantastic addition. And also, just when you think you have everything mastered you can also adjust the difficulty levels as well to push yourself if you wish.
The multiplayer was unable to be tested during the review and embargo phase and thus does not form part of this review.
Graphics & Sound
Visually Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers has been revamped to the latest flash style graphics that modernize the franchise significantly. In fact, there is an option to swap between the original classic graphics or the new HD graphics. Try it out, I certainly did and realized pretty quickly how far the series has come visually. Also, you have the ability to change the color of your character right after you select you character before a match. So, feel free to customize Cammy in hot pink should that be your thing. Also included in the overall package is the gallery, which includes over 1,400 highly detailed illustrations from throughout the Street Fighter series, taken from the out-of-print Street Fighter Artworks: Supremacy book.
In terms of the games audio this may be an issue for core fans as there has been a complete modernization and make over of the character’s voices and music tracks as well. You have the option in the settings to select the original character’s voices but not the original music tracks which would have been nice, but was not included.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a fantastic edition of the classic Street Fighter series that plays incredibly well and is packed to the brim with modes and options for fans. Whether you prefer the original graphics or the new and refreshed style and audio, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers gives you choices which is great to see. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers can be enjoyed by newcomers or veteran gamers thanks to its great tutorial system and Lite control options. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is an absolute blast to play and we certainly recommend it to fans of the genre and those who want some quick and easy pick up and play action whether its solo or with friends. A must buy.
The version reviewed was the Nintendo Switch version.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers launches on the Nintendo Switch on May 26th.