With Street Fighter 2 seeing its 8th release in the form of Ultra Street Fighter 2 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch and carrying an eye-watering price tag of £35 the ultimate question on our minds is; is it worth it?
It is tough to judge a game which came out in 1991 that has seen so many adjustments, re-releases and all manner of ways to milk its poor teats dry. However, Ultra Street Fighter 2 attempts to breathe new life into the title in the form of some new balance adjustments, sound effects, modes and of course two brand new fighters in the form of Evil Ryu and Violent Ken.
First up and perhaps the biggest addition to the game is the two new fighters. Evil Ryu plays much like his previous incarnations with a hurricane kick which can juggle, a powered up 3 hit fireball and of course the teleport which he can zip around the stage with. Capcom saw fit to give him the exact same super as Akuma. In terms of play style, he is what you would expect, a mesh of Ryu and Akuma and he is fun enough to play but, doesn’t feel particularly fresh.
Violent Ken, on the other hand, is a joy to play as. He is largely the same as his not so violent counterpart with the addition of a brand-new command dash which goes through opponents and his new super which is a combination of kicks ending with a Shoryuken. The command dash especially is a breath of fresh air to Street Fighter 2 which traditionally has no dashing. Being able to zip toward characters to lay down the pressure is certainly satisfying.
The command dash especially is a breath of fresh air to Street Fighter 2 which traditionally has no dashing.
However, as fun as these new additions can be, they are still largely the same characters as their hero counterparts and do not offer much in the way of brand new visuals or moves – with the animations used largely repurposed.
In terms of gameplay, Ultra Street Fighter 2 has certainly been rebalanced. Moves are easier to perform taking out some of the stricter timings and the new system for button presses required for combos and super moves promotes a more accessible title for newcomers. There are several minor changes to the system which add flashes of new flair to Ultra Street Fighter 2 but these additions will only be noticeable to fans of the older titles.
Graphics and Audio have seen an update with the graphic style introduced in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix being carried over and the audio being tweaked with new stage themes and voice overs being re-done by the current voice cast of the modern titles. The voice acting feels largely solid enough. No performance feels bad or out of place, however, the stage themes are rather hit and miss. Some genuinely capture the energy that was in their original version but, unfortunately, some completely miss the mark.
The voice acting feels largely solid enough. No performance feels bad or out of place, however, the stage themes are rather hit and miss.
Extra modes feature the return of Dramatic Battle (now called buddy battle) where two players can unite to take on the boss characters. It’s daft fun and with a decent companion, you can totally demolish the nefarious enemies with precision and style.
The mode that is making big waves, however, is The Way of The Hado mode. Here, you play as Ryu in first-person with motion controls. The tutorial will teach you how to do your signature moves and send you out to fight shadaloo’s goons. The mode would be a decent laugh and a fun little time waster with friends… if the motion controls felt good. Doing the moves feels awkward and the responsiveness of the motion controls is infuriating as certain moves will only selectively come out when they want. Lots of time was clearly spent on Way of The Hado and it is disappointing because of how mediocre the mode feels, as it plays like it was designed for last gen and looks nothing like the rest of the title.
Thankfully the online mode runs stable enough to be able to play relatively lag free matches and the ranked match set up is very fun allowing for a few matches with the same players before moving you on to new challengers. It is safe to say that this will be where the bulk of my time on Ultra Street Fighter 2 will be spent in the future.
The game does feature a customisation option for colour changing, allowing you to tweak the costumes, skin tones and hair colour of all the world warriors. The feature is lacking when compared to older titles like Capcom Vs SNK 2 which had the same thing but better, that being said it still allows players to craft personalised colours for use online… even if you see a lot of horrendous purple skinned warriors with obnoxiously bright clothing online.
The biggest issue I have with Ultra Street Fighter 2, however, is the price tag. £35 is a lot to ask for a re-release of a game which has been overdone so much already. Especially when you consider that Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix launched back in 2008. Which had more to it and launched for £11.99. The changes implemented in SSF2THD have been removed for Ultra Street Fighter 2 to keep it closer to the original Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo release which is confusing considering many fans enjoyed the new additions. On top of this, the graphical style of the title is ripped directly from SSF2THDR as the same sprites that UDON created back in 2008 are re-used again in Ultra Street Fighter 2.
In the end, Ultra Street Fighter 2 is a fun release which you can sink plenty of hours into and still enjoy. However, for the price tag this title fails to offer anything of significant value that can justify it being nearly three times the price of the re-release we have already had back in 2008. This being the eighth iteration of the Street Fighter 2 series, the game is starting to show it’s age and limitation. Capcom should let this entry into the beloved franchise go now and set it’s focus elsewhere in future.
This copy of Ultra Street Fighter 2 was purchased by staff writer Jack Gash for £35. He’s spent roughly four hours flailing his arms around in desperation attempting to land one of those darn motion control combos.