Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers Review: Go Home and Be a Family Man

Ultra Street Fighter 2 is the classic fighting game as many remember it, but the rest of this package isn't worth the rest of your quarters. Our review.

7

While the Nintendo Switch represents Nintendo's console future, its early lineup features a jump into the fighting game genre's past. Fighting games don't get more classic than Street Fighter II, which is why Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers looks like such an enticing package for the old-school gamer. However, the classic fighting is pretty much all this game has going for it, as most of its newer features are a Hadoken that doesn't find the mark.

Ultra Street Fighter II is the classic game as many remember it, collected in two distinctly different time capsules. Those familiar with the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix game released on Xbox 360 back in 2008 will recall the Udon-illustrated visual upgraded version. That version of the game is fully intact, with sleekly painted artwork, re-recorded voiceovers, remixed stage tracks, and a 16:9 widescreen presentation. Those looking for a more classic experience have the option to switch to retro graphics, which utilizes a pre-HD era aspect ratio, old-school music, and stages as they were originally designed. There's also the option to switch the voiceovers to their original garbled grunts and shouts.

Both presentations have their unique charms, but both contain the traditional Street Fighter II combat I remember. Most of this review was conducted using the Joy-Con grip, where the left analog stick is pretty much the only way to play. Execution wasn't a problem, but anyone looking for a more D-pad heavy experience will have to jump to the Pro Controller. Either way, the Street Fighter II experience is preserved perfectly here, with options to turn games into best-of-five rounds or mess around with the timer.

Capcom also sought to add some supplemental game modes, but they mostly fall flat. There's a cooperative mode called Buddy Battle, where two players can join together (or one with a CPU partner) to take on SF2's baddest bosses, including new additions Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. It's a 2-on-1 scenario with the team of two sharing a single life bar. This is a novelty that wears thin quickly. The chaos of three fighters sharing a screen gets to be too much at times and having the advantage in a handicap match is only so much fun for so long. On top of that, once the mode is finished, that's it. No special endings, no bonuses, just a simple "Game Over" screen and back to the main menu. It's a throwaway mode that players will likely try once and never select again.

Then there's the motion-controlled Way of the Hado mode. This is the mode that wants to make players at home feel like Ryu, but it controls so clumsily, it makes you feel more like Dan... if his arms and legs were broken. The idea is to take the individual Joy-Cons in each hand and perform certain motions to perform Ryu's special moves, with the goal to help him get through waves of Shadaloo goons. The game all-too-often fails to recognize the special move motions to the point that you'll eventually do the Cabbage Patch on an endless loop in hopes of landing something, anything, on an enemy. Many times, inputs are delayed and just trying to shoot any kind of projectile can be harder than fighting a real-life M. Bison. It's honestly on par with the worst the Wii generation had to offer. It's an exercise in frustration and one that doesn't merit a second look from anyone.

Ultra Street Fighter II works best as a reminder of all that is great about the classic game over its various incarnations. The visual options encapsulate a sense of timelessness, showing how far it has come in its 25-plus years of existence. There's even a classic art book ("Street Fighter Artworks: Supremacy") of the series' evolution, long out-of-print, available to browse page-by-page. The game shows true potential to be a great digital museum exhibit, not unlike what Capcom has done for Mega Man. Even the bare bones main menu lends itself to that kind of presentation. Sadly, that's where the cool extras end.

Ultra Street Fighter II tries to add a robust package around its tried-and-true Arcade mode, but much of that package doesn't pan out. All that leaves is the Arcade and Versus modes and for as great as Street Fighter II is, it's a game that also shows its age after a while. Fighting games have come so much farther since SF2 pioneered the genre, so it's hard to imagine going back and especially for a hefty $40 price tag. Thanks for memories, Street Fighter II, but I'm hoping that this is indeed the Final Challenge.


This review is based on a Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers will be available in retail stores and the Nintendo eShop on May 26 for $39.99. The game is rated T.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

Pros

  • Classic Street Fighter II fighting
  • Option to switch between classic and remastered elements
  • Gallery is a cool extra

Cons

  • Way of the Hado is everything bad about motion controls
  • Buddy Battle gets old quickly
  • Fighting mechanics show their age fast
  • Framerate slowdowns may be old-school, but this is still 2017

From The Chatty

    • reply
      May 24, 2017 6:27 PM

      Confirms how I felt when I saw it at the January Switch presentation... sad.

    • reply
      May 24, 2017 6:50 PM

      Thought this was going to be the case. I'd still throw $20 at it but $40 is absurd.

    • reply
      May 24, 2017 8:09 PM

      I want to know insisted on that price. I mean, there has been incredibly negative feedback on it since it was revealed. How could they not have known this would happen?

      • reply
        May 24, 2017 9:00 PM

        Captive audience?

      • reply
        May 25, 2017 5:51 AM

        Creators set the price of digital content based on what they think consumers will pay. If USF2 does well at $40, it'll stay at that price point for a long time. If it doesn't, Capcom will blink.

    • reply
      May 24, 2017 9:36 PM

      For $20 I'd buy it.

      For $40 no way.

      Especially considering Super Street Fighter 2 is plugged into my SNES right now.

    • reply
      May 24, 2017 9:51 PM

      you just know these assholes are going to not have street fighter in virtual console too

      • reply
        May 25, 2017 5:50 AM

        That would be a shame because Capcom dumped at least half a dozen versions of SF2 and its iterations on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console. The TurboGrafx-16 port of SF2 Champion Edition was Arcade Perfect (remember that term?). It'd be a shame to miss out on it just because they want to herd us cattle toward the $40 pasture.

        • reply
          May 25, 2017 9:52 AM

          How much would you pay for that arcade perfect TG16 version?

    • reply
      May 24, 2017 11:42 PM

      aww bummer, i was hoping this would be good.

    • reply
      May 25, 2017 6:52 AM

      Looking at the game more now I didnt realize how, old? it'd look thought it was going to be a more current title. Yeah I cant imagine spending $40 on this and I'd enjoy a good fighter on the switch.

    • reply
      May 25, 2017 7:53 AM

      Ozzie is posting news again? \o/

    • reply
      May 25, 2017 9:46 AM

      Nice write up Ozzie. I was on the fence about this one at $40 but clearly it's a "wait and see"

    • reply
      May 25, 2017 9:54 AM

      Further

    • reply
      May 25, 2017 9:55 AM

      Translated from interview with Capcom CEO on toyokeizai.net:

      "In regards to Switch, Capcom will think of how to support the Switch while looking at how Street Fighter 2 does on the system in May."

      ...