Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review – Ker-ching!

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As unfair as it sounds to start off the review of an admittedly good game by slamming both it and its publisher, Ultra Street Fighter II and Capcom deserve it.

The reason for this is that Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is being sold at an RRP of R599. Yes, you can find it cheaper from some online retail outlets, but at the time of writing, you won’t get it cheaper than R520 and that’s a pretty steep price for a game that’s over 20 years old.

Well, if you want to get technical, it’s just under 10 years old, because Ultra Street Fighter II is basically a meatier version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, which dropped on consoles back in 2008. It brings with it two elements that casual players will be oblivious to, but will likely piss off the SF faithful.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review – giveth and taketh away

The first of these aspects concerns the game’s presentation; players have the option of playing the game with the visuals created by Udon, the company responsible for the Street Fighter comic books. Seeing as how many players didn’t like them when they arrived in Turbo HD Remix, they’re not exactly a strong selling point for fans.

However, one can switch between these and the original graphics, so that bone of contention isn’t a deal breaker on its own.

Capcom’s decision to make the game more forgiving is more likely to alienate the hardcore. Combos and special moves are easy to pull off, which is good, but a lot of the other options – such as a speed switch – have been stripped out. This is Street Fighter II Turbo with water wings, essentially.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review – newbies welcome

These tweaks and tucks may not be such a bad thing. Believe it or not, there are some individuals who exist in this world who have never played a Street Fighter title and this is a decent entry point for them. Ultra Street Fighter II won’t impress arcade veterans, but grab a Switch, put it in the hands of a kid to whom Ryu isn’t a familiar sight and it’s likely their eyes will light up like a pinball machine.

Furthermore, if you’re a Switch owner in need of a decent fighting game for a plane ride or you want to play with a mate at a picnic, this a pretty good option.

Yes, we know it’s your only option (if you don’t count Arms), but the fact remains that for all of Capcom’s cheek in pricing Ultra Street Fighter II the way it did, the core game is still fantastic – which is amazing when you consider how old it is.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review – newbies welcome

It’s that core game that will keep players interested in Ultra Street Fighter II because the rest of the package isn’t up to much.

You’ve got Buddy mode in which you and a mate can kick the hell out of an AI opponent, a colour editor for the characters, online play, the inclusion of two characters who aren’t exactly new and an Arcade Mode, which shockingly doesn’t give you the option of kicking a car to pieces in a bonus stage.

Ultra Street Fighter II Review

Oh, and there’s a brand new first-person mode called The Way Of Hado in which players use motion controls to hammer waves of AI. To put things bluntly, it’s awful.

While some might think there’s the kernel of a good idea here, in practice its imprecise and unresponsive controls turn it into a frustrating war of attrition. It’s a mess. It’s also the only brand new content Capcom produced for this package, so maybe there’s a lesson in that.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review – Verdict

Ultra Street Fighter II, then, is easy to recommend as a game, but not as a package and certainly not at the price one currently has to pay for it.

If money’s no object, it’s still a great fighting game and it would make a great present for any Switch owner new to this genre. For the rest of you, we recommend exercising patience. Nintendo has a ton of great games in the pipeline and it’s likely this title will come down in price as they start to arrive.