We are back with a review for Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers on Nintendo Switch today! Most of you will be somewhat familiar with Street Fighter II in some capacity. Over the years since its release in 1992, it has been successfully re-released time and time again, proving that it still has what made it so popular back at the time of its release when it defined a genre itself.

The Street Fighter series is still alive, however, the Switch release of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a return to the classic root of the series’ popularity. One of Street Fighter II’s biggest strengths has always been its massive roster of fighters and this is not something which changes with this re-release. Each fighter has their own unique design and set of strengths and weaknesses. Considering the size of the roster, there are certainly enough fighters here to ensure that every type of player feels comfortable with at least a couple of the fighters.

Capcom have also introduced two ‘new’ fighters to the roster for this Switch version of the title; Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. Unfortunately, both of these characters are so similar to the vanilla Ryu and Ken that they truly only feel like a colour change. In addition to this, both of these characters have already appeared in the Street Fighter series and so are not totally new to the series. With the price point that has been set for this title, it is reasonable to expect a fresh addition to the roster.

The return to the classic fighting game mechanics is one which requires some adjustment for seasoned fighting game fans, however, this makes the it more accessible for the casual market. As the game is from the 90’s, many more recent additions to the mechanics of fighting games are not present in the game, even down to moves as simple as dashing. However, the more simplified mechanics will appeal more to those players who do not have a lot of experience with fighters and wish to enter the genre. That being said, Capcom have added in some additional mechanics which bring the game slightly more in line with newer titles, which are a welcome addition. As a result of what Capcom has learned over years of adjusting the Street Fighter II formula, The Final Challengers feels like the most balanced, feature-rich version of the game ever released.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers can be played in two modes on the Switch; a classic mode, which preserves the original graphical look of the game, and the HD mode, which brings all art and models up to a modern-looking standard. Both of these modes look and play excellently and really it is a matter of personal preference as to which one you prefer. I find myself switching between the two modes regularly as I enjoy both art styles, however, the classic style is certainly more nostalgic. That being said, the remastered HD sprites manage to convey the beauty and charm of the original game excellently. Unfortunately the original facial gestures, animations and effects still behave in the same way regardless of whether you are using classic or HD mode and have not been brought up-to-date like the sprites.

The sound effects, voice lines and music are also newly created for The Final Challengers on Switch. The sound effects and voice lines are newly produced/recorded and the music is a brand new addition to the game. The sound mode can also be switched between the classic and new versions, akin to the graphical style, allowing you control over your Ultra Street Fighter II experience. One of those other nice additions to the game is Color Editor feature which allows you to edit the colour palette of each fighter in the game. This is a somewhat simplistic yet fun feature which lets you customise the game just that little bit further. Colour edits also transfer while playing online, so you can create a totally unique look for your fighter before heading online to fight.

In terms of game modes, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers features many different ways to play. The classic arcade mode has it roots back in the original release of the game and allows you to select a character to take on a sequence of battles before fighting the four Grand Masters. The online mode features both ranked and unranked battles, which makes the mode accessible to both competitive and casual players. Ranked battles reward you with Battle Points for a win. After each win or loss, your global rank is adjusted and is then used to match you against opponents of similar skill. Casual mode is simply random matchup and also allows you to invite and play with friends. You can create a custom lobby for your friends or just hop in with a stranger. The online service in The Final Challengers is excellent and will have you coming back for more provided you are a fighting game fan.

Additionally, a new Buddy Battle mode has been introduced which allows you to play alongside a friend, or a CPU ally, in order to take down four characters. Evil Ryu, Violent Ken, M. Bison and Akuma. This unfortunately means the mode is quite short and does not have a lot of replayability, however, it is a fun way to team up with a friend from time to time and so is still a good inclusion. One of the fun features of this mode is that both players share the health bar. Versus mode is of course also present, allowing you to play against a local player (by splitting your Joy-Cons), another local switch user or even a CPU enemy in the equivalent Training mode.

Another new mode is the Way of the Halo mode. In this mode, the objective is to use the Joy Cons to copy gestures in order to perform Ryu’s moves. This uses the motion tracking features of the Joy Con controllers along with the only instance of 3D graphics in the title in order to perform and track the gestures. Unfortunately, this game mode has poorly implemented motion controls and the gestures are misrecognised more often than correctly identified. This game mode is not something which I found myself spending much time in as it was a frustrating and ultimately boring experience.

Overall, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is certainly the best version of the game to date. However, if you have purchased any of the recent re-releases of the game, there is not enough new content here to recommend purchasing the game again unless you are a Street Fighter enthusiast. Even at that, the retail price of £35/€40/$40 is extremely steep for a port with little fresh content and is difficult to recommend. If you have not played Street Fighter II and are willing to accept that the Switch version is somewhat overpriced, The Final Challengers is highly recommended. However, there are versions of the game available on other platforms which are almost as good for a much lower price.