Game Title: Ultra Street Fighter II – The Final Challengers
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail (Europe, North America, Japan), Digital (EU, NA, JP)
Battery Life: 4.5 – 5.5 hours
Game Modes: TV, Tabletop, Handheld
The Nintendo Switch has loads of fighting games, thanks to the Neo Geo titles that have been releasing nearly every week since March. Even with all of those, notably Garou: Mark of the Wolves, there haven’t been any –new- native titles that aren’t just emulated. Last month changed that. Capcom had promised to bring a Street Fighter game to the Switch, and that they did.
Although not a very recent game in the series, Capcom took one of the most popular games in the series and remastered it once again with some new added game modes. Here is my review of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers!
Street Fighter II has very little story to it, and the new version doesn’t change that. In reality, there are a lot of character backgrounds and storylines through the main “Arcade” mode, but you only get about 60 seconds of story after the game is actually over. Be it Chun-Li as a crime fighter or Cammy’s true origins, you will get a little story at the end, but nothing substantial to be worthy of the game actually having plot, as the game was meant to be played in Arcades rather than on home consoles.
This ties into an element I’ll explain later, but the lack of a Story in all of the re-releases of this game really affects its longevity. More on that in the next section.
Ultra Street Fighter 2 is a 2D fighting game, just as all versions of SF2 have been. Although there is new content hidden here, you’ll still be going through 2D fights against opponents, be it online or offline. That much has not changed all that much.
The big question here is this: The game costs $40. What do I get here that I don’t get in Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on PS3 and 360 and 1/4th the cost (and even cheaper during this week’s Capcom Sale at only $2.49)? Basically, there are 2 new characters (Evil Ryu and Violent Ken), Gallery which contains a digital copy of Street Fighter Artworks: Supremacy that released in Japan and is now Out-of-Print, and the new Way of the Hado Game Mode that lets you play in 3D First-Person battles with Motion Controls. That begs the question. Are 2 characters and a new game mode worth the extra $30?
That’s up to you. If you haven’t played older games, there are several game modes you can go into. Arcade lets you play a gauntlet of fights and see each character’s “story” scene. Buddy Battle lets you use Local Multiplayer. Versus lets you play in custom fights against the CPU. Online lets you play against other players over the Internet. Training lets you test and learn combos against a motionless CPU. Way of the Hado lets you play First-Person battles. And then you have Gallery for artwork, Color Editor for palette swap edits, Player Data for your play stats, Game Manual for the game’s instruction manual, and Options for changing game settings.
Now, that sounds like a lot to take in, but it’s not as much as you’d think. The interactive modes are basically Arcade, Multiplayer, Training, and Way of the Hado. It’s pretty simple as Street Fighter 2 is a gameplay-focused game rather than a balance between Story and Gameplay like modern fighting games. You go for gameplay, so you just quickly choose which way you wish to do it.
The biggest star here is Way of the Hado, the new way to play the game. When you play it, you are shown 3D graphics and waves of enemies appear in front of you. You have to use the Joy-Con’s Motion Controls to perform special moves. One thing to note is that Motion Controls are the only way to use Way of the Hado. Unlike ARMS, there are no button alternatives. It will not allow you to go into this mode unless you detach the Joy-Cons and use them separately.
This mode is interesting not only from the novelty of using Motion-Controlled Hadouken blasts, but because there’s more to it than just the novelty. As you play through stages, you earn Experience and Level Up in an RPG-like fashion. You can then set Growth Points to increase your stats across Attack, Vitality, etc. It’s actually an interesting and smart way to make this mode much more than just “Novelty Motion Controls”.
The main issue here is that it is very difficult to get the motion controls to work correctly. The Hadouken is just a matter of getting the groove right for the motion controls to pick up the moves. Other moves, though, seem to be half and half with it actually registering. I can do the same motion 3 times for one kick move and have it only register it once, despite moving the Joy-Cons the same way every time.
And that’s really the biggest flaw of the game. The First-Person Mode is a ton of fun when it’s working correctly. Kind of like the First-Person Mode in Dead or Alive 5 Plus on the PS Vita. It’s just getting it to work correctly because you’re forced to use motion controls when in this mode.
The other game modes are the same thing you’re already used to. 2D arenas and you use intricate combos to fight your opponents. Street Fighter isn’t known for being “easy” so there’s a pretty big learning curve to it, unless you’re a series fan.
Or you can just switch Controller Mode to Lite and map Supers to the face buttons or touch screen and spam supers to cheat your way through the game. This is a bit of a major handicap as you can use this in online mode as well. It’s similar to the touch controls of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 on the PS Vita for instant combos, but instant Supers seems a bit too much of a handicap, especially when you’re playing against legitimate players who use manual controls and use actual skill to win.
As far as longevity, it really depends on what you want to do. There’s no real sense of unlocking content, outside of titles to add to your Online Profile, so it’s basically just open the game and play what you want, and that’s it. If you really want a number on that, each arcade run might take you around an hour or so for one run through Arcade and about the same if you’re good at Way of the Hado for a long set of games. If you’re into experiencing story or unlocking content to use, you’ll be disappointed.
There are a few different ways to control this game. As said above, First-Person fights can only be done with motion controls. And the touch screen can be used in the Lite Control Setup with supers that are assigned to areas on the touch screen.
With button controls, you move with the Arrow Buttons and Left Analog Stick. The Right Stick doesn’t do anything. Then you’ve got different kinds of attacks, each set to a face button as well as the four triggers. Punches are done with X, Y, L, and ZL, and the rest handle kicks. That is assuming you don’t have other moves mapped to those buttons. It’s pretty simple to learn if you’re used to fighters. Nothing terribly awkward about the control setup.
Visually, the game looks really nice. The 3D Way of the Hado fights look beautiful (and showcase a question on why Capcom decided to put a 2D Street Fighter on the Switch rather than a 3D game like Street Fighter V. The 2D visuals also have upgraded. You have 2 graphic styles. You can use the original graphics from when the game first game out or you can use the refined graphics that look really smooth and vibrant with color.
No performance issues, either. Online matches are stage, no fps drops, and load times are nice and short, be it in 2D battles or 3D battles.
Since this is mostly a 2D game, I had high hopes for the Battery Life, and got some pretty nice results. Here are the Battery Times from 100% to 0%:
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 09 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 15 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 33 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 41 minutes
I would say those are good times. The more Switch games I review, the more I see getting into the 4-6 hour range than the lower 2-3 hour range that Zelda fit into. You’ll get a good 4-6 hours of the game, Wi-Fi or not.
In conclusion, Ultra Street Fighter II is a nice remaster for fans of the original game. The main problems are the fact that the motion controls don’t work half the time, a lack of longevity outside of competitive players, and an excessive handicap with the alternate control styles. It’s a fun little fighter, but lacks the longevity for the $40 price tag.