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Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Review - No Hadouken

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It has been a while since I sat down and played a Street Fighter game, especially a re-release of a classic version. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a welcome addition to the Nintendo Switch library, but at the same time its steep price might make you want to reconsider your need for a decent fighting experience. The game has a handful of new features that makes it feel like something new from a decade-old game, but in the end it perhaps it just is not enough to get the bang out of your buck. If you are a hardcore Street Fighter fan, however, then you will find something here, as there is more than enough to go around, but its asking price of R500 is simply too high for its offering

The most important new feature in the game is clearly the new brushed up visuals. For a game that is over twenty years old already, it is an upgrade that should have stayed old school, to be honest. While some of the art might look a bit cheap, it does not beat the old look of the game. You can easily switch between the two in settings, and each one completely changes the game's look from the new modern sprites to the old-school art style. 

The thing here, however, is that the entire game feels like Capcom milking yet another great series. However fun the game is to play, and as much as it still feels like an awesome Street Fighter experience from the start, it is the bulky mundane features in the game that lets it down.

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Just not as pretty as you think

The "remastered" visuals are a major let down, to say the least. The overall character sprites look cheap and lack any sort of polish that you would expect from a veteran series such as this. Bad shading and a poor use of colour give them an overall cheap look, which is then a day and night difference between the stage art which still holds up on its own. 

Combat in the game is just as we like it, a fast-paced battle of sprites with some epic background music complementing the awesome fights in stunning stages. It feels fluid and responsive, without ever giving up its best features in the classic arcade mode. The game's selling point is its roster of fighters, and they are all there representing the great fighter. Evil Ryu and Violent Ken are the new fighters that have been added to the roster, and their moves and skill sets add a much-needed boost to the gameplay. 

The issue with combat, however, is that the Switch has no D-Pad, which means you will need to rely on the analogue to pull off movements. It is hard to execute combos, and even harder to fully grasp control of your fighter. The party aspect of the game does work though. Using each Joy-Con as a separate controller lets you play with a friend or against them, but they are again small and not all that comfortable. This makes Street Fighter best played with the pricey Pro Controller which has a D-Pad. Many users do not have this extra accessory, so it is not an option. 

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The Way of the Hado Is Not the Way

Then we have the Way of the Hado, which is a brand-new first-person game mode in the series that utilises the Joy-Con by letting you swing your arms in a specific motion to execute attacks. Waves of enemies spawn in the distance as you play as Ryu with his awesome attack set like the dragon punch and tatsumaki senpukyaku. Pulling in the Joy-Con to your chest and pushing them out will perform an attack, and doing an uppercut will mimic the attack in the game. This is, in now way, an Arms replica, but it does add a little bit of fun to the motion controllers. Saying that, however, this is a once-off playthrough, and once you have tried it you will never go back. 

Other new features include a stunning art book to page through when you want to breathe in some decent nostalgia and a colour customization mode that lets you modify any fighter with different shades of colour. There is no comparing games like Injustice 2 and its fantastic customization feature to this, but let's just say that Ultra Street Fighter 2 does not go a long way to making this mode entertaining at all. It is simply a different colour scheme and that is the end of it. 

Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers is a decent game, but its asking price is simply too much (R500). It just does not give enough for you to want to splurge on it. Yes, it is a decent fighting game on the Switch, but then again, you can pick up a NEO GEO classic for a fraction of the price and get the same thing bar the art book, colour scheme, and that disastrous motion controller mode.

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"a decent game, but its asking price is simply too much"

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