Street Fighter II returns in style and on the game starved Nintendo Switch. Not a lot to hate about this title, though the price is a bit of a concern.
I’m an enormous fan of Street Fighter II. I wet my beak on fighting games with SFII when it arrived in arcades in the early 90s and remember spending an entire date (I was lame) playing it in Aladdin’s Castle in Maryland. It was fascinating, engaging and it took skill to master. No, seriously. Skill. Anyway, fast forward about a bajillion versions of it, and more than a few actual sequels, and you have the experience right back at the beginning with Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. Fun? Definitely. Lots of options? Of course. Worth the $39.99 price? Not entirely sure that price matches the package.
There isn’t much that changed in this Street Fighter II release when it comes to initial gameplay, though you do get all the SFII characters and updated graphics with this title. Aside from the latter mentioned additions, Ultra Street Fighter II – The Final Challengers still has the Street Fighter II intact from 1991, which is fine because you don’t want to mess with an arcade classic. It would be incredibly dumb to do so. If you’re expecting to get the Street Fighter II you know and love, then you won’t be disappointed by any facet of the release, as the game is just as cool and fun as the original.
That said, while the single player game is still the same, the controls can be suspect with this release. There seems to be a little bit of an issue with jumping north (up/down) rather than northwest/east (towards your enemy) when you play. Outside of price, this is the biggest glaring issue with the game that I found. While it’s certainly bearable, it can get frustrating when you’re trying to continue a forward onslaught of your enemy. I’m not certainly whether it is the analog stick or the user (me), but whatever the case, it is something that occurs a lot during gameplay. It can get frustrating and certainly bring the worst side of you out during gameplay.This brings the gameplay experience down a bit. Other than the problem, the comfort of controls and how they react are still very much on par with the original gameplay. If you can forgive this a bit, then you’re going to be happy with the feel of the game. Maybe the classic controller alleviates this issue, but the Joy-Con controllers certainly bring it out.
Controls aside, you do get some new additions to the game, which haven’t previously seen the light of day. Here’s the new stuff you’re getting.
Co-Op Battle: This is a concept borrowed from the newer versions of the SF series, specifically the ones involving Marvel characters. The twist here is that you can play WITH your friend using multiple characters, rather than playing against them. That is new and it’s a blast, especially when you have a nine year old son whom has never played the series before. Spoiler alert, he loves it now. I like this addition to the game, as it does bring some elements of teamwork instead of smack talk PvP.
“Way of the Hado”: If you have to make a different experience, then there’s no better way than to do it in first-person — especially if you’re traditionally a 2D game or third-person. Ask Rockstar how that worked out with GTA V (it worked out well). With this SFII the inclusion of the first-person perspective certainly is a different take. The game mode relies on the Joy-Con controllers, as well as you arm strength, to drive everything. Want to throw a fireball? You can with a little bit of mutual motion from your arms. Want to do an uppercut? You can do that as well. The concept is absolutely cool.
Now, while the experience is neat and I love seeing my son move/groove when he tries to play it, the overall functionality is a little clunky. Sometimes the moves hit perfectly, while other times the Nintendo Switch doesn’t read what you’re doing. It is literally hit or miss, which is fine when you’re expecting it. Regardless, it’s good exercise, though, which is something some of us writers really need. As for a dependable functional mode, not so much. It is a good chance they took, though, so give them some props.
The two modes help the overall SFII experience a little bit, but mostly I suspect that people will play this game for the classic mode of play, and there isn’t anything wrong with that at all. Outside of the above modes, you can switch between classic/modern look of the game and play with a color palette to customize your character to your liking. While it sounds simple, the customization is very much a welcomed addition to the title. It brings out the coolest and funniest renditions of costumes.
Ultimately, you’re going to get the Street Fighter II experience that you want from this title. I think that is the biggest plus in the entire package. I haven’t played Street Fighter II in a long, long, long time, so it was nice returning to the ‘old reliable’ when it comes to needing a reminder of what a superb fighting game looks like. Sometimes fighting games lose that fun.
Having said all this, the biggest issue I have with the game is price. I’m not sure that a remastered version of a game released in 1991, even with new modes and all its characters, is worth $39.99. That’s the price of a new game with new features. I think that if Capcom had brought this out at $19.99, then you would have a deal. I would pay $20 for this game and its new modes. It would be a fair price. As it stands, what you get doesn’t justify the price tag. No disrespect meant for the masterpiece, as it is priceless, but it just doesn’t make much sense