Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Nintendo Switch Review – Right In The Kisser
You’d think that more game companies would be developing fighting games for the Nintendo Switch. [...]
You'd think that more game companies would be developing fighting games for the Nintendo Switch. It seems almost rife for that sort of competition, with the JoyCon mini controller able to operate with games like Tekken 7 and Pokken Tournament. But, alas, the competition is slow out of the gate – but at least it's coming.
And the first fighting game out the door – right before ARMS, natch – is Capcom's Ultra Street Fighter II, a souped-up port of its hit 1991 fighting game. A game, by the way, that got the fighting genre started in the first place. So it's only fair that it somehow kick off the fighting frenzy that is sure to come on the Switch, provided developers get an idea of what it can do for them.
Fortunately, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers provides such an idea. The various control schemes available in the game work to every benefit. Playing in portable mode, you may just be surprised at how well the game plays, as you can pull off supers and more intricate moves – even Zangief's spinning piledriver – like a boss. Even better is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which lets you operate like a fighting champ even further.
In fact, I was perplexed at how well the game even plays with a tiny JoyCon controller. I've complained in the past that this thing is just too small for certain games, especially to adults who have enormous hands (you know who you are). But Ultra holds up pretty well with local two-player contests, to the point that you may not even mind that you're playing on a tiny little thing.
What's Here, And What's Missing?
Considering that online hasn't launched yet, this is pretty much the only option when it comes to local play (well, unless you have that Pro Controller, then things are a little more comfortable). However, judging by Capcom's history in keeping up fighting servers, it should hold up just fine.
Plus, the bevy of options available to players is pretty nice. Along with the standard versus matches, which we've come to expect from the history of Street Fighter, we've also got a buddy mode, where two players can take on a much tougher opponent in co-op fashion. It's actually pretty fun, especially as you devise a strategy where you execute two special moves at once, essentially sending them to their defeat. After all, it worked so well for Ryu and Ken in the Street Fighter animated movie, right? Take that, Bison!
That said, I would've liked to have seen an option to adjust the speed of matches. It's kind of weird that option isn't here, since previous Street Fighter games had it on hand. Also, where are the bonus matches? I can't help but think beating up a car and smashing barrels would have been a lot of fun in HD.
Missing online and small features aside, the fighting action in Ultra Street Fighter II is superb. As I mentioned, the gameplay is beautifully dialed in, and the ability to switch between the classic 90's graphics and the wondrous HD visuals (they look really good, despite the limited animation) is cool. You can't do it mid-match – this isn't Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, after all – but just being able to take a trip back in time without turning on your SNES is a delight.prevnext
Way Of The Ha-don't, More Like
I also like the idea of the two new (well, new to Switch, anyway) characters added in Ultra, in the form of Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. While they may not be entirely original entities that fans will drool over, they're cool nevertheless, and seeing them in a match against the likes of M. Bison and/or Akuma is something they'll still enjoy.
Ultra Street Fighter II has other options as well. You can actually go and customize the colors of your characters, in case you feel like recreating someone as the Incredible Hulk (not Blanka, he's already green, c'mon) or some other fantasy color. It's a neat mode, though there should've been more customization options.
And then there's…Way of the Hado. This is probably the most gimmicky addition to the game, simply slapped into place so that someone can feel better about using their JoyCons in the midst of a fight. Personally, I wish Capcom would've skipped this in favor of adding more games from the Street Fighter series. It's fun the first time around, but it's a very one-note mode where you basically attack, block and then do it all over again. Think Punch-Out!!, but with a serious amount of limitation.
So there are some gimmicky modes, and small things here and there, but Ultra Street Fighter II as a whole is a loving tribute to the classic series that most of us grew up with. However, of course, there is the one nagging issue that's hard to get over – the price. In the past, Street Fighter games have sold anywhere from $15 to $30, depending on what was included (like the Street Fighter Collection and what have you). This one sells for $40.prevnext
Slightly More Expensive Than Expected, But Worthwhile
More than likely, this was a Nintendo decision, since it knew that the game would sell. Does it kind of shut out a few Street Fighter fans unfairly? In a sense, yeah. Could it have used more extras to justify such a high price? Absolutely.
But here's the thing – the game is still incredibly fun to play after all these years. Sure, there are some of you that are content on playing the game on your old SNES, and, hey, more power to you. (Remember when you paid $60 for that version?) However, those seeking out something new for the Switch won't be disappointed. There are still plenty of options to take advantage of here, the game still plays wonderfully no matter what method you prefer, and there's still plenty of competition, online and off, just waiting to test your fighting measure.
While Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers isn't the be-all end-all tribute to the series like it could have been, it's still a rough-and-tumble good time on the Switch, especially if you grew up memorizing every move that the original arcade/SNES game had to offer. Once you get past the price point and figuring out whatever the hell Way of the Hado was all about, you'll be enjoying yourself.
Especially the first time that Ken's flaming Dragon Punch connects on an opponent trying to hit you from above. Silly weakling.
RATING: Four out of five stars.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev