A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is the latest installment of a wildly popular fighting game. Players mash and hit buttons to throw punches, kicks, and special moves to defeat enemies. Mastery of these moves -- not only how to do them but also being strategic -- is an absolute requirement to excel at this game. Parents should also know that female characters are scantily clad. Although cartoony, it's all still based in a portrayal of reality with occasional small bits of gore.
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What's it about?
It's a real mouthful, but ULTRA STREET FIGHTER II: THE FINAL CHALLENGERS stands as the latest entry in what is objectively considered to be an iconic fighting game series. This one marks the 30th anniversary of the arcade-fighter games, which now span multiple spinoffs, crossovers, and even movies. Although the series now has multiple sequels, this 2017 version for the Nintendo Switch is an update of 1994's Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The game offers two graphical styles -- classic pixel art and updated high-definition art -- as well as new mechanics, modes, and tweaks to better refine and balance the line-up of characters.
Is it any good?
While it's still fun and has some new content, this version of the popular fighting franchise could've been a deeper, richer experience. The Final Challengers makes modest attempts to supplement the 1994 game on which it's based, with an impressively extensive digital book of production art with 1,400 illustrations, a Street Fighter V/Street Fighter IV-styled first-person "Way of the Hado" mode (in which players hold the Joy-Con controllers to perform special moves as Ryu), and a "Buddy Battle" mode, where you and a friend can cooperatively and simultaneously take on enemy combatants in a single match. But these additions feel a touch thin. They're fine distractions, as the core of the game has always been playing against the computer and other people. And veteran players will notice altered combo timing and grapple breaks. But it's hard not to feel like this is still an old game. With only Violent Ken and Evil Ryu as "new" characters, you'll wind up pinballing around each mode with your favorite characters and hit a wall sooner or later. Newcomers will be dazzled by the variety, but people familiar with the series will find it familiar. It's still fun, but it could have been so much more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Which do you find more disturbing: a more realistic-looking fighting game or a more "retro" visual style? Do you think even a cartoonish portrayal of fighting could desensitize you to real-world violence?
Talk about violence as a sport. Even if participants agree to it, is it OK for people to fight and hurt each other until one person is left standing?
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