When I got my Nintendo Switch way back when, one of the games I got with it was the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection from Capcom. I thought about getting it for my PlayStation 4 but I ultimately went for the Switch port of the game, or games as the case may be here.
The specific reasons for getting that version was three-fold. One, the Street Fighter series is one of my favorite video game franchises of all time so the idea of having multiple Street Fighter games on a portable system was ideal for me, especially if I have to be away from my home for an extended period of time. Two, it’s a compilations of older games, which means it won’t tax the Nintendo Switch’s processing power and, more importantly, not drain the battery too much. The third reason is Street Fighter is more fun when fighting with another person. Since you can just hand over one of the standard Joy-Cons to another person, that makes it possible for two players to go at it even if that other person doesn’t have another Switch.
Now, I just recently realized that I haven’t touched the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection for almost a year. It’s a game that I plugged into my Switch for maybe a week before shuttering it off in the carrying case. That was almost a year ago. What happened? How could the franchise I loved so much receive so much disdain from me, of all people? You would think I would fault Capcom or Digital Eclipse, the guys that actually developed this, for delivering a sub-par port, and I do give them some of the blame. But the real culprit, in my opinion anyway, is Nintendo. I’ll get into more detail later but let’s talk about the things Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection on the Nintendo Switch gets right first.
Probably one of the best things regarding the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is that they use the arcade versions of the games and not the home ports. This may not seem like a huge deal but, for someone like me who grew up playing the games on the big bulky cabinets, this is fantastic. You have to remember that home ports, especially during the 16-bit era, weren’t perfect copies of the original arcade games. They had to be shrunk down to fit then so things like frames of animations and even sound effects were trimmed off. Oh, and it’s also fantastic that you can duplicate the glitches from them just to infuriate and/or amaze the people who’ve never seen Guile’s Invisible Throw and the like! I’ve actually tried a few of these gliches myself and I can confirm that they do still work!
Capcom and Digital Eclipse also went through a lot of trouble to not just give us the arcade ports of the 12 games but they tried their darnest to try and make players feel what it was like to play at the arcades. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection has a slew of options to enhance the actual gameplay experience as you can do various things, such as change the screen size and even turn on various screen filters. You can also adjust the difficulty for each and every game individually to your liking. Probably the best touch they made were the border art when playing in either Original or Full mode as it replicates the actual art of the arcade machines!
Another thing that Capcom and Digital Eclipse did right was how much extra content this collection has. Not only do you get 12 arcade perfect ports from the very first Street Fighter all the way to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, you also get a whole bunch of extras, like the history of the entire franchise, scans of the documents they used during development, an extensive soundtrack and even some sprite and frame data for all of the characters. I especially loved the Museum mode that goes into detail regarding the series’ history. While longtime fans will probably not learn anything new, it’s still astonishing to read through things like the original pitch document for Street Fighter II and see what they cut out of the game.
The overall presentation and extras included should’ve meant that Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection will be permanently inserted in the game slot of the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, there are a couple of really major things that’s really hinders my enjoyment and, in fact, makes me hate getting the Switch version.
The biggest problem is the controls. Playing any game in this collection is an exercise in frustration thanks to the Joy-Con’s inaccurate controls. None of the default setups work incredibly well. The strange thing is that it’s not really unplayable; you can still perform all the special moves if you concentrate and move the joystick or direction pad in a very deliberate manner. But having to really focus on the controls instead of being able to execute them instinctively really hurts the game immensely.
You would think using the little rinky dink Joy Con’s individually would be leagues worse than using both of them on the Joy Con Grip but you’d only be partially correct as it’s just marginally worse! That’s mainly because of the cramped button layout when you use them individually. I would guess playing any of the games would be much better if you use a Pro controller or a better 3rd party controller. But that would defeat the purpose of having a version of Street Fighter on the go if you have to lug around a couple of regular sized controllers with you all the time!
Most of the blame does fall squarely on Nintendo but, at the same time, it’s not their fault as the Joy Cons do work admirably for practically all Switch games. It just doesn’t work with Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection all that well. Heck, I doubt other fighting games would work well with the Switch’s Joy Cons! But Capcom and Digital Eclipse should’ve taken this into account and done more tweaking on the controls and how the game reads the inputs to make things feel more responsive.
Another problem I have with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is actually with a specific game on the collection: Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The original arcade CPU for Super Street Fighter II Turbo was a cheating bastard that could read your controller inputs and do massive damage! In essence, it always has its AI difficulty cranked up to the max! You can try to lower the difficulty to 1 and the only thing it’ll do is lessen the damage the CPU does! As far as I know, Capcom eventually released a version that wasn’t as punishing. I do question why they didn’t give the “fixed” version to Digital Eclipse, though. I guess it’s because it’s the version that fans remember the most? I still would’ve appreciated the version that played nice with others, wouldn’t you? Still, this is a nitpick when compared to the issue regarding the poor controls.
I do appreciate the massive effort Capcom and Digital Eclipse put into the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. The sheer amount of extras should have been enough to justify it’s purchase. Unfortunately, the janky controls with the Joy Cons makes this version an exercise in frustration if you want to play a really good game of Street Fighter. I know the best solution is to get a better controller and not rely on the default Joy Cons but this was one of the reasons why I wanted the Switch version in the first place!
The Nintendo Switch version of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is a hard pass unless you’re fine with lugging around more responsive controllers. I’m not willing to do that so it’s going back into the protective sleeve of my Switch carrying case for another year or so until I get a hankering for a little Street Fighter history.
Do you have the Switch version of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!