With an impressive array of fighting games releasing recently, it’s tough to call which ones are worth your time and money above the rest. Do you go for the sequels, such as the fantastic Injustice 2 and the newly released Tekken 7? Or do you embrace nostalgia with Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, which answers to the calls of Nintendo Switch owners? Maybe you’re a 30-something retro fan, clasping onto games consoles of old, occasionally firing up emulators on your mid-spec PC rather than a fresh-faced school kid striving for the best graphics but minimal gameplay knowledge, button mashing your way through any fight. Street Fighter II is legendary, raising the bar for fighting games and creating a beloved franchise that spans decades. How does this rehash fare on Nintendo’s new console?
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a more complete version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo which released back in 1994. With it came new fighters, including the debut of Akuma alongside Fei-Long, T-Hawk, Dee-Jay and Cammy, who slipped in nicely beside veterans such as Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li. It also introduced Super moves that became a staple in future Street Fighter games, which were powerful game-changing moves that use up a special gauge. In the Switch’s revamped version, it’s all here fully intact; however, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers adds yet more content but, unfortunately, slaps quite a hefty price tag on it.
Evil Ryu, who has succumbed to the demonic power, Satsui-no-Hado, making him….well….evil, and Violent Ken, who is now under Bison’s control, are the newest members added to the roster complete with their own movesets, but the main attraction to this version of Street Fighter II is the overhauled graphics. Fully redrawn sprites and backgrounds breathe new life into the Street Fighter II we know and love, which look fantastic on the Switch’s small screen during its handheld mode, and it keeps that spark in its TV mode with no slowdown whatsoever, and if you fancy an injection of nostalgia, the graphics can be reverted to its original 16-bit style as with the iconic soundtrack.
There’s a wide range of modes to choose from too. Standard arcade and versus modes remain if you want to battle through to see characters’ endings, which have also been overhauled to animè-style slideshows, and online modes remain too. You can also play alongside a friend in a 2-versus-1 slug-fest called “Dramatic mode” to fulfil your co-op needs (which was last featured in Street Fighter Alpha 2), but the most striking but disappointing mode is the Way of the Hado mode. In it, you play as Ryu from a first-person perspective as you take down waves of Shadaloo goons using Ryu’s Hadoken, Shoryuken and Tetsu…..hurricane kick abilities. You perform them by using the Joycon controllers and performing the gestures. It’s a gimmick that is, sadly, poorly executed. The Joycon sensitivity was hit and miss, as sometimes I performed a Hadoken only for Ryu to perform a Shoryuken or sometimes nothing at all. It feels like a tacked on mode that, yeah, offers a change of pace, but it’s utterly pointless and not very fun.
There are loads of content to unlock, such as endings, soundtracks, artwork taken from the anniversary book SF20: The Art of Street Fighter, as well as different colour palettes. It’s a substantial reward for completing the various modes offered here and more reason to continue playing.
I mentioned earlier about the hefty price tag. Whilst this is nothing more than a remastered version of an old game, it’s hard to part ways with £35 for it, especially if you’re not that big of a Street Fighter fan. It is a clever ploy though, as this is not only the first Street Fighter game on the Switch, but it’s the first full-fledged fighting game that is exclusive to the console, but £35?! Really?! If you have a 3DS lying around, you could buy Super Street Fighter IV for less than a tenner in all its 3D goodness.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a fantastic start to the Switch’s fighting game repertoire, though with its new and improved graphics that can be switched to their original retro variants, a complete roster of veterans and returning characters, old school fighting gameplay that we know and love, and loads of content. It looks great on the Switch and plays like a dream, but the eye-watering price tag provably won’t pull in the punters.
Release Date: 26th May 2017