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Ultra Street Fighter II Review: Not The Challenger You're Looking For

It's the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter and this is your present.

Review by Mike Williams, .

If you want to revisit the heyday of Street Fighter II in the palm of your hand, Ultra Street Fighter II is the game for you. It is a pitch-perfect version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, with a few extras to justify the new title and the Nintendo Switch release. Ultra plays about as well as you remember it, in either classic style or in HD mode with hand-drawn art and remixed audio.

What's been added to the mix? First up, there are additional control methods taking into account the Switch's unique Joy-Cons. You can enjoy Versus play on a single system, with each player taking their own Joy-Con. It's cramped, but it works in a pinch and remains one of the best selling points of the game.

Ultra Street Fighter II also offers the Way of the Hado, a new Switch-exclusive fighting mode. Here, you play as Ryu in a first-person viewpoint. Way of the Hado works on a conceptual and practical level: the mode makes sense and the motion controls work... most of the time. A Hadoken is an outward push with both Joy-Cons, while the Shinku Hadoken is the same with the inner buttons held down. The Shoryuken is an uppercut with your right hand and swaying both Joy-Cons back and forth pulls off the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. Finally, blocking has you holding both Joy-Cons up while holding the bumpers.

Trapped in a Shadowloo compound, Ryu has to fight groups of soldiers and occasionally M. Bison himself. With a Joy-Con in either hand, you throw Hadokens, pull off a Shoryuken or two, and clear out a space with your Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. Fill up the Super Meter can you can even throw out an enemy-clearing Shinku Hadoken. You have a choice of Stage Battle or Endless Battle. Defeat minions, block, stay alive. In Endless Battle, you just do that forever.

That's it. The mode never gets deeper or more interesting. It's a cool diversion for a bit, but ultimately, it's the return of Wii Waggle. It works well enough, but could be better. It's a mode that doesn't particularly blaze its own trail or need to exist, except as a bullet point for marketing.

Capcom also created some "new" characters Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, aggressive palette swapped mixes of Ryu and Ken. Evil Ryu has been in other Street Fighter games before. Violent Ken actually made his debut in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, but this is his first shot in a real Street Fighter title. They're fine characters cobbled together out of Ken/Ryu's movesets and art, with Akuma's special effects. Not 100 percent unique, not entirely a copies either.

The list is rounded out by further character balance changes that weren't present in HD Remix, with Capcom starting from Super Turbo as a base. The combos seem slightly easier to pull off in this version than I remember in HD Remix and Throw Techs appear for the first time in SF2 ever. The Dramatic Battle Mode that has popped-up in some previous Street Fighter titles appears here as Buddy Battle, allowing two players to face off against a single AI foe. There's also a Color Editor, allowing you to edit the character colors to your liking. It is missing Super Turbo features like a speed select or bonus stages, which is odd given the pedigree.

Ultra Street Fighter II is essentially the final step in a series that began way back in 1991. It's the hidden sequel to Super Street Fighter II Turbo that never was. If you want classic Street Fighter II action on your Nintendo Switch, this is a fine game to pick up. Go in peace and enjoy the game.

The major issue I have with Ultra Street Fighter II is going to be a contentious one. Regardless of how you feel about value judgments in reviews, I can't justify a wholehearted recommendation in this case. Ultra Street Fighter II is $40. This is a title that is essentially an enhanced port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, a game that came out in 1993. As a $20 game, I'd say this is a solid release. At $40, this needs to be much better. It doesn't even stack up to classic Capcom Street Fighter releases.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix came out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2008 and cost $14.99 at launch (still available for $9.99). Street Fighter Anniversary Collection offered the remixed Hyper Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III: Third Strike together for $29.99. The equivalent price point for a re-release was either Street Fighter Collection for PlayStation, but for $40, you received three Street Fighter games each. I know this because I bought most of these collections, including the Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, which remains my gold standard for SF compilation releases.

I've purchased Street Fighter time and time again, and this is one of a few times where I feel the asking price isn't worth the final product. Ultra Street Fighter II proudly proclaims the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter in its opening title cards. While what's here is nice, it could've been so much better for the asking price. It could've been a great collection of Street Fighter's history on the Nintendo Switch. It's not like Capcom put forth no effort here, which is what's disappointing.

I love remakes, remasters, and re-releases. But I love them when they're done well, when a player is given enough improvements and features to justify the price. Ultra Street Fighter II just isn't there for me. If you want to play Street Fighter on Switch, this is the only game in town, I just wish the overall package was better.

This review does not include a deep dive into online play, which wasn't available during the review period. It will be updated post-launch. The score assumes the online play is good and works. It might be worse!

Ultra Street Fighter II is an admirable effort; a pitch-perfect version of Street Fighter II on the Nintendo Switch. Capcom has re-balanced the game from its Super Turbo release, thrown in the Super Turbo HD Remix art, and added some additional Switch-only modes. Unfortunately, the whole package just feels adequate. Ultra Street Fighter II doesn't feel like it goes above and beyond for the series' 30th anniversary and the asking price is steep for what's there.

3 /5

Ultra Street Fighter II Review: Not The Challenger You're Looking For Mike Williams It's the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter and this is your present. 2017-05-24T13:00:00-04:00 3 5

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Comments 29

  • Avatar for SimonGreedwell #1 SimonGreedwell A month ago
    Just FYI, its not the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter 2. This is the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter. SF2 wasn't released until 1991.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #2 MHWilliams A month ago
    @SimonGreedwell It's already listed as such in the review itself.
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  • Avatar for SimonGreedwell #3 SimonGreedwell A month ago
    @MHWilliams Boy, did I totally misread that? Sorry!
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #4 MHWilliams A month ago
    @SimonGreedwell No, no! The dek had "II" in it. You're good!
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  • Avatar for superberg #5 superberg A month ago
    This review sums up what I'd feared: that Capcom is now actively trying to fleece the fighting game community with overpriced games. After the "soft" launch of Street Fighter V, this quadruple-priced port-with-tweaks of a generation-old HD port really drives the point home.

    I want to buy this game, but I've bought it several times already. For far less. They just can't justify that price tag.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #6 nilcam A month ago
    I've gone back and forth on this game. To be honest, I have not loved a Street Fighter game since Alpha 2; two button throws really annoy me and the ever-slower games are less fun. I spent a ton of time with HD Remix and really liked it. In the end, I decided to get Ultra SFII. The 20% Prime discount helps with the cost and, if I put in half of the time with USFII as I did with HDR, it will be worth the price. Now, where is that Hori arcade stick?
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #7 Modern-Clix A month ago
    Would have preferred an updated Alpha collection or even better, how about Alpha 4?!
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #8 daverhodus A month ago
    @nilcam Alpha 2 was my peak of SF fandom too. I'm a sucker for rebuying SFII though. I just ordered USFII and an 8bitdo controller to play with.
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #9 daverhodus A month ago
    @Modern-Clix I hope other SF games are revisited too.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #10 MetManMas A month ago
    I find Ultra Street Fighter II in general pretty bewildering. I get that Super Street Fighter II Turbo was a big game for its time, but an enhanced version of that game's HD remake with some new features taped on, a few old features cut out, and taking the easy way out with new roster additions doesn't exactly scream "confidence" in the Switch.

    I mean, the 3DS had Super Street Fighter IV, and the SF4 series in general was a hit, particularly with more casual fighter fans. It would be nice to get a definitive version of Ultra Street Fighter IV on the Switch, is what I'm saying.

    Speaking of the Switch, wonder how long it'll be 'til we see some more fighter friendly JoyCons.Edited 5 weeks ago by MetManMas
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  • Avatar for fstim82 #11 fstim82 A month ago
    Probably worth pointing out that Ultra has online, which most of those other, cheaper games didn't. That's a pretty big addition and worth more money if you ask me. Still, HDR had it and it was $15. The only real problem is that, given the minimal effort I'm seeing in this package and the way online couldn't be ready for review, I'm not holding onto much hope that the online is any good...Edited last month by fstim82
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #12 MetManMas A month ago
    @superberg Yeah, the price tag's a big deal breaker. Like, even though it can be gotten cheaper on other platforms, I would be okay with paying $40 to have Ultra Street Fighter IV with on-the-go multiplayer, but for a slight upgrade to an 8 & 1/2 year old HD remake of a 23 year old update to a 26 year old fighter? No way.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #13 yuberus A month ago
    I'm fine with the price tag, but ugh, tech throws. I like SF2 as a brutal, smart game where throws are killer. It was bad enough ST had throw-softening.

    I mean I'll still play it because I'm an SF2 fan (once a stick adapter is available for switch), but that is an odd addition. I am also a bit disappointed they just skipped over the balance tweaks from HD Remix, since those were largely a big step up from ST.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #14 VotesForCows A month ago
    That's an astonishing price. No way.
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  • Avatar for Xemus80 #15 Xemus80 A month ago
    Considering I've played SF2 countless times over the years and never actually paid for it - gifts or borrowed copies - I'm comfortable with finally paying for my own copy. $40 for a "definitive" version is fine.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #16 brionfoulke91 A month ago
    Yeah, you were right that it is contentious, Mike. I still don't think price should ever factor into a review score. But in this case, I'll give you a pass, because I agree with the score for other reasons.

    I've seen the redrawn HD art... let's be honest, it's gross looking. Udon have great artists normally, but the sprites and backgrounds just do not work together nicely, and it ends up looking inferior to the original. Of course, the original is here too, and that's nice.

    Also, I love Street Fighter Alpha and 3. They were both huge evolutions over 2 for me, especially Third Strike which is my favorite fighting game. Personally, I find SF2 a little hard to go back to. This game is nice for historical context but that's about it.

    So regardless of the price, even if it was $1, I still think it's a 3 star product. That's just me, though.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #17 kidgorilla A month ago
    In a perfect world, Capcom would continue to keep games like Super Turbo and Third Strike in circulation, so I respect where they're coming from with USF2. Since all of the marketing I've seen of the game has been trading on nostalgia, too, I think their heads are in the right place with the direction they took as a Switch game.

    But you're right, Mike, that price is a little tough to justify. It looks like the Way of the Hado ate some resources and keeping servers running smoothly isn't free, but I'm taken aback by the entrance fee for it. If parents want to show their kids Street Fighter, I get it, but that's mostly a crowd that doesn't care about balance adjustments, throw teching, and if Sagat can juggle a TK. I wonder if they're going to pony up this much for a game that, in their minds, is still 20 years old with a different coat of paint. I guess we'll see

    Just speaking for myself, though, if this was out for PS4 or Steam, the balance adjustments and new characters added to the game, and the online was rock solid, then I would probably pay $40 for it. Maybe that's gouging the hardcore and maybe it isn't, but I love ST, and I want it to attract new players. I also don't want Capcom afraid to take chances on older games like this. I hope it does well in that respectEdited last month by kidgorilla
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #18 SIGGYZtar A month ago
    Yeah, it must be kinda sad that I would pay $60 for a 30th Anniversary Street Fighter collection that had SF1, HSF2, and SF3 3rd Strike. The PS2 collection was a fantastic bundle, and you can still buy it for $20 on eBay. So what's the excuse for this besides being a port of the PS3 game?
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #19 MetManMas A month ago
    @kidgorilla Personally, I'd find $40 even harder to swallow on PS4. Especially since you can get Ultra Street Fighter IV or Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for only a little over half that price there. I know there's some differences in physics and balance, but aside from fighter superfans, most people aren't gonna notice that. They'll see these games with over double the playable roster as a much better value.

    Of course, USF2 is the only option on the Switch, but chances are good that Switch owners that are also Street Fighter fans probably own at least one other modern platform with Street Fighter games on it.
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #20 Wellman2nd A month ago
    The more I hear and see of Way of Hado, the more I am convinced it was as Wii/motion control project from the previous generation that they upscaled for Switch to add to its value.
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  • Avatar for themblan #21 themblan A month ago
    I canceled my preorder after some thought. I'm currently in love with Garou.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #22 kidgorilla A month ago
    @MetManMas I'm speaking personally as a competitive ST and 3rd Strike player. I see where you're coming from with more casual folks balking at $40, but if the planets were aligned, I would probably pull the trigger
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  • Avatar for mobichan #23 mobichan A month ago
    I understand Capcom still thinks anything near a system's launch with the SF2 name will increase sales, but I honestly wish they would make a proper new fighting game that is intended for the system it appears on. Something that takes into account the controller and the hardware would be nice. I am thinking something in line with Power Stone on the Dreamcast (ex. designing for the Naomi hardware with 4 buttons in mind). I am not asking for more Power Stone, just an approach to making a new fighting game IP we can all get excited about.
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #24 Monkey-Tamer A month ago
    I'd rebuy the PS2 Anniversary disc. The remixed music was a great addition. I'd love to see it on Steam and other platforms.
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #25 chaoticBeat A month ago
    Garou it is.
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  • Avatar for Sturat #26 Sturat A month ago
    Is there currently a way to play this on a controller with six face buttons? I don't know whether this should figure into a review score, but it definitely would rule out a purchase.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #27 MHWilliams A month ago
    @Sturat This - (https://twitter.com/HORI__OFFICIAL/status/837592040724545536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fpvplive.net%2Fc%2Fnintendo-switch-fight-stick-officially-revealed-by) - but no clue when that launches.
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #28 touchofkiel A month ago
    I think it's totally fine to bring up the issue of price in a re-release like this, particularly when the game it's mostly based on (HD Remix) was released for $15, 9 years ago... and is currently available for $10 on a platform with more options for controllers (important in a game like this).

    The whole release is sort of baffling. Why release on the Switch at all, a system that doesn't look particularly inviting for fighters? The portable novelty is great... in most genres. But fighting games thrive on competition, and competition requires more options for comfort (i.e. controllers). SFIV on 3DS (and UMvC3 on Vita) were fun, impressive little diversions, but no one is going to be playing those seriously. So it's not only overpriced, but also on the wrong system!

    But I suspect it won't be too long before it gets a digital release for the other consoles, maybe without the first-person mode (that I doubt any fan of the game is interested in). Here's hoping it will be $20 at the most, when that happens...
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  • Avatar for himuradrew #29 himuradrew A month ago
    I really, really wanted to justify the purchase of this game., but I think it's more of the nostalgia talking...

    ... that being said, I do have a preorder with my local gameshop. :P
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