Minigames are a common inclusion in fighting games. We’ve beaten up cars, hurled charged balls at opponents, and even went bowling. In Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, we get another sort of side game. Way of the Hado is a first person take on being Ryu.
Ultra Street Fighter II’s Way of the Hado is rather easy to play. You hold a Joy-Con controller in each hand and perform certain motions to pull off specific moves. In both Stage Battle and Endless Battle, M. Bison’s minions and the villain himself both appear before you. Your goal is to stay alive, in the Endless Battle case for as long as possible, and take them out. These foes appear at different ranges on screen and will move, requiring you to use different maneuvers to damage them and block the attacks they will use.
The most important thing to know about Way of the Hado is that Hado Training is mandatory. I mean, Ultra Street Fighter II won’t make you go through it, but you have to go through it. You are able to use Ryu’s Hadoken, Shinku Hadoken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku to defeat enemies. (The Shinku Hadoken does require the Super gauge to be filled before you can use it.) While none of the motions required to pull off the moves is difficult to execute or remember, it is best to go through it once to know what you’re doing.
In fact, it’s during this practice that you can find out how easy it is to cheat the system in Way of the Hado. Hadoken and Shinku Hadoken are basically the same outward push with the Joy-Cons in front of you, just with the SL and SR buttons held down. Shoryuken is an uppercut with your right hand. Tatsumaki Sepukyaku involves swinging your body back and forth. Blocking is equally important and requires you to hold the Joy-Cons up and press the L and R buttons. None of these are taxing and strenuous. Which I suppose is nice, as it means you can go through the Stage Battles and Endless Battles as often as you’d like without actually feeling like you’re expending any effort.
The downside is, it means the actual Way of the Hado modes aren’t very difficult. You may want to start with the Beginner or Standard difficulty levels in either of the two battle modes, just to work out the pattern of the game, but after that it is absolutely possible to jump into the Expert level stages and excel. It isn’t a very trying or taxing game; there’s little strategy to it. It’s more about reflexes and keeping up with the number of enemies onscreen. I only tended to fail when I was lax with my movements or stopped paying close attention to the enemies.
Ultra Street Fighter II’s Way of the Hado is really just a goofy minigame. You set it up once for someone to try. That’s it. If you know a child who likes Street Fighter but might not quite be ready for the intricate moves or Buddy Battle modes, you set the Nintendo Switch up in Tabletop Mode on a coffee table, give them the Joy-Cons, and let them play for a half hour or so. It is there to show there is some silly bonus, but not play regularly.
Way of the Hado is Ultra Street Fighter II’s gimmick. It is a minigame designed to show off what people can do with the Joy-Cons and what it feels like to use use motion controls to pull off iconic moves. It isn’t bad, but it is easy to fool. It is basically a mode you play as a joke or offer for a younger Street Fighter fan who has always wanted to be Ryu to try. It is nice to have, but would never be a major selling point for the game.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers will come to the Nintendo Switch on May 26, 2017.