Nostalgia has a different effect based on the individual. The same can be said for perceived value. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers plays a game of tug-of-war with both these aspects. On the one hand, you have a refurbished version of a classic fighter that influenced the genre to the point that any competitive game in the genre essentially stems from this arcade juggernaut. On the opposing hand, you need to ask yourself if the game's price point is worth that revamped trip down memory lane.
After its release the title was milked for all its worth seeing more reiterations than necessary. Now, more than 25 years after the first rendition of the game was released, Ultra Street Fighter II seems to be the final… and as its title suggests, the ultimate version of the game. That is until Capcom decide to bring Ultra Street Fighter II Hyper Super Turbo Edition to a new generation of consoles; I’m only slightly joking here.
Ultra Street Fighter II features two ‘new’ characters in the roster. New in terms of Street Fighter 2 that is. Okay fine, let’s say new-ish. Evil Ryu from the Street Fighter Alpha games and Violent Ken from SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos join the cast with some unique features compared to their original forms. Other than their tweaked appearances and differing storylines these two darker versions of their alter egos also have a slightly varied move set setting them apart. In addition to this the general gameplay has been adjusted by introducing grapple breaks along with some less evident balancing changes noticeable to those Street Fighter 2 junkies out there.
The general gameplay for the most past plays similarly to Super Street Fighter II Turbo and HD Remix and features a number of new and revisited modes. Most notably (and sadly so) is the "Way of the Hado" mode. In this mode, you take on a first-person shooting gallery as the series veteran, Ryu. Visually this mode is impressive but sadly that is the only good thing that one can take away from it. The motion controls implemented are unresponsive and barely functional. Waving the two Joy-Cons around not only makes you feel like a fool but will reignite some of those awful flashbacks from some of those bandwagon Wii shovelware titles.
The gallery mode contains over 1400 illustrations originally released as part of the SF20: The Art of Street Fighter, art book released back in 2009. In this mode, you can view the work of Capcom’s top artists over the past 25 years whether it be character designs, concept art, sketches or promo artwork. The Colour Edit mode allows players to create custom colour schemes over and above the multitude of defaults that all characters already have. You can save up to ten colours for each custom character. These customisations also carry over to online play.
The Street Fighter franchise has always been about challenging your friends. Ultra Street Fighter II is no different. The game features both local and online multiplayer. The online multiplayer has a point-based rank system and a standby option that allows other players to challenge you while playing in the general arcade mode. This option can be disabled if you’d prefer your single player experience not to be interrupted. The multiplayer Buddy Battle mode allows players to team up in a two versus one fight against a CPU player, hardly seems fair really?
Ultra Street Fighter II is its own worst enemy suffering from a balancing act that may entice fans of the original games but will for the most part be seen as a pricy download-only or add-on title rather than a visually pleasing retro fighting title. Not all is lost though. With the option to switch between modern and classic-styled visuals along with new and retro audio and stable online gameplay the “final” version of Street Fighter 2 is a solid offering for fans but isn’t likely to appear to a new, younger generation of gamers with Street Fighter IV and V available.
Overall it comes to whether you’re willing to pay R500 plus on a new take of a classic title. Nintendo fans that have been craving more from the franchise since the release of Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition on the 3DS will be more than content with Capcom’s offering although you’ll more than likely see an increase in sales figures when the game receives a price drop.
Banjo wielding, moonshine drinking, dungaree enthusiast. When not laying back on the porch couch he will be found making minor additions to his porcelain dog home décor.
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26 May 2017
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