Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review — Portable Beat Down
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers on the Switch is a great game at home and on the go, but there aren't enough new modes to warrant its price.
My experience with the Street Fighter series is kind of interesting. My first foray into the series began with Street Fighter IV on the Xbox 360, followed by Street Fighter III on the Dreamcast, and now Street Fighter II on Nintendo Switch. That’s not to say I hadn’t played the immensely popular Street Fighter II previously, but this was my first time getting a full experience with the game.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers fits right at home on the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, due to a steep asking price, it’s hard to recommend to anybody but Street Fighter’s most hardcore fanbase.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers on Switch is easily one of the coolest ways to experience Street Fighter II, thanks to Nintendo Switch’s portability and always-included second controller. That’s not to say it is the best way though. Using the Joy-Cons’ tiny buttons makes combos and moves a little more difficult than usual. It’s even worse when using the Joy-Cons sideways, while handing the other off to a friend. Fortunately, it’s more of a convenience to have a game like Street Fighter on the go for fun, as opposed to a dedicated competitive fighting game.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is great for hardcore fans of the fighting franchise as well as young kids who may have never experienced this entry in the long-running series. If you don’t fall into either of those groups, then waiting for a price drop might be in your best interest. The game features all of the modes you’d expect in a fighter, as well as a few extras exclusive to the Switch.
Arcade mode is simple. Players choose their fighter and progress through a list of other challengers from the game, with a cutscene playing at the end of each character’s game. Arcade mode is really great if you’re on the go with Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers; it’s also a great way to practice if you’ve never gotten your feet wet with this entry in the series, in addition to the obvious training mode options Street Fighter offers. With more than a few difficulty options, players can mix and match until you find the perfect one for you.
Versus is the next mode in Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. While versus is another great way to just mess around in the game, most of my time in versus was spent in PvP action. You can play Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers with another player with their own set of controllers, or using the other half of the Joy-Cons on your system. While the latter is not the most ideal way to play a Street Fighter game, it’s still a charming experience that never really loses its touch. Some of my more hardcore Street Fighter friends enjoyed how seamless the experience was to set up and play.
My personal favorite mode is “Buddy Battle,” offering an option for players that simply can’t compete against you in a PvP setting. You and another player team up to face off against a strong opponent. The three players on screen (you, friend, and CPU) duke it out, you and your partner sharing one health bar and defeat counting as two stocks. This mode has that charming Nintendo, all-inclusive feeling to it and it’s great to sit side by side with a friend and play cooperatively.
Unfortunately online was not available in time for this review. I think I can still say that if you’re looking to get competitive online, don’t expect your experience to be amazing using the Joy-Con controllers. With a Nintendo Switch fight stick available, and the vastly superior Nintendo Switch Pro Controller available, competitive players should look at either of these two options… or buy it on another system altogether. Online is a nice addition to this game nonetheless.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers’ Switch exclusive mode “Way of the Hado,” is easily its weakest link. The game has you use the Joy-Cons as motion controllers to mimic Ryu’s iconic moves. The problem is this game mode reminded me more of all the frustrations I had with the original Wii’s motion controllers. If you were an original Wii owner, think about all the times the motion controls just flat out made an experience bad due to unreliable controls. That’s this game mode, full stop.
This is hands down the most unfortunate aspect because this would of been a cool, albeit simple, addition to the game. It has a different art style that’s more akin to Street Fighter V, but it plays worse than the base game by a landslide.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers uses the same art style used in Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD on the Xbox 360 and PS3. It looks good and still maintains a retro feeling, while also improving the fidelity of the graphics. That said, the graphics can be changed from new to retro in the game’s options menu on the main menu. I played around in both modes and I can’t say I preferred one over the other personally — it all lies on preference.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers retains Street Fighter II‘s original soundtrack and it’s still iconic. Guile and Ken’s theme still are two of my favorite tracks in gaming. I’m glad Capcom nailed the overall look and sound of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers; it will no doubt bring you bag the warm nostalgic feeling that players looking to grab this game will crave.
Capcom also included a color editor mode that can be fun to mess around in. The game let’s you play with every characters outfit and skin color, making for some fun creations. There’s also a gallery containing a ton of art from the series. Fans of the series should enjoy some of the illustrations included.
I wish it were easier for me to recommend this game, but it should not be $40. There’s simply not enough content to warrant that price, and I can’t help but wonder why the game’s PS3 and 360 counterparts are only $10 as compared to this game being $40. That version of the game has a lot of the same modes outside of “Way of the Hado” and “Buddy Battle” so I can’t help but wonder why those modes warrant an extra $30.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a great addition to the Switch’s library. But at $40 it won’t be for everybody on day one. I think hardcore Street Fighter fans will find the content included pretty enjoyable, and young kids who may not have had the opportunity to experience those games will find it a lot of fun too. Meanwhile, most people should wait until there’s a more appropriate entry price before jumping into The Final Challengers.