I imagine it must be incredibly hard for a publisher to commit to a console when it hasn’t even released yet. Even more so when that console is coming off a relatively unsuccessful one. Nonetheless, Capcom brought to the Switch that which they know how to do best – another port of Street Fighter II. The 3DS had Super Street Fighter 4, which was a pretty solid package. Ultra Street Fighter II: The New Challengers is no such thing – instead feeling like a haphazard afterthought that never truly reaches it’s potential.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The New Challengers is essentially an enhanced port of Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, which is itself a remake of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. It sounds convoluted, but I’ll make it much simpler for you. Ultra Street Fighter II is a port of a game released nine years ago with minimal changes and an ambitious price point. If I sound down on Ultra Street Fighter II it’s because I am, it feels like a bit of a rushed afterthought rather than a truly new iteration of Street Fighter II.Which is hard because as a game Street Fighter II is quite decent and has aged moderately well – but there’s experiences available elsewhere that are more complete in almost every way that makes Ultra Street Fighter II look like a bit of a rort. The game itself is the same as any Street Fighter game, allowing you to take on a gauntlet of opponents until you unlock a short ending and do it all over again. It’s a design decision that feels old school yet has been eclipsed by other games (even on the 3DS).
The new features are sparse but still noticeable. Evil Ryu and Violent Ken have been added to the roster bringing the total roster up to nineteen. Both characters are slightly modified variations of already existing ones, so while they occupy new slots on the roster itself they hardly break any new ground. With such a wealth of characters to choose from in such a storied franchise, it’s disappointing to see the only two new additions being recolours and slight modifications of already existing ones.Another new mode, Way of the Hado, serves as a both perturbing yet distressing reminder that the Switch could probably run Super Street Fighter IV (I mean, the 3DS could), which features a wider breadth of content than what’s on offer here. Instead, Way of the Hado attempts to leverage the Joycon’s motion controls to provide a first-person action experience. It admittedly works rather well, the Joycon’s motion control capabilities feel better and more responsive than the Wii ever did. There’s just not enough meat to this experience to ever raise it beyond a joyless tech demo.