Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes Preview
It's been a long time coming, but the announcement that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is heading for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 has finally been made and we can now rejoice happily. MvC2 is one of my all time favorite fighting games, because it fuses two of Capcom's finest series into one massive orgy of awesomesauce. It can be argued that the whole "Vs." concept began when Akuma debuted as a playable fighter in 1994's X-Men: Children of the Atom, Capcom's first CPSII Marvel fighter, and laid the foundation for the first two Alpha games and the Vs. franchise.
In 1996 X-Men vs. Street Fighter followed Children of the Atom, and it blew up so much in popularity, it's essentially responsible for the franchise's success. Basically merging the Street Fighter Alpha games with X-Men: Children of the Atom led to an almost-revolution in arcade gaming, as tag-team fighting was brought to the mainstream. Now, don't forget that Capcom's Vs. games differed from SNK's in that you can swap characters on the fly, the SNK games didn't allow that. Also, the gameplay was so radically...well, radical and over the top that there was simply nothing out there like it. Massive combos and gorgeous supers dominated the screen, and the fluid gameplay made the games an arcade favorite all around the world.
I could go on and on about how much money I've dropped on all of the Vs. machines, but I don't have the time. Hell, having never owned a Saturn in the 90s, I even bought the gimped PlayStation Vs. games, and still had a blast with them. But of course once I got my Saturn, Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 and my copies of the available Vs. games, I didn't drop a single quarter into a machine anymore, all of the fun was now accessible to me immediately. Okay, sorry, I've seriously ran off on a tangent here...I simply love this franchise and am excited to see it appear on the PS3.
In case you've never played Marvel vs. Capcom 2, it is the most complete Vs. game, taking everything the series has offered in the past and offering it in one massive package, complete with a freaking massive roster of 56 fighters from both the Marvel and Capcom universe. Unfortunately, with such a massive roster, Capcom couldn't work on endings for everyone, so there's only one ending to see no matter who you fight with.
In any case, what made MvsC2 so great wasn't its endings, but rather the roster, the lightning quick gameplay, the frenzy, the three-on-three gameplay, and the teams you can form to deliver some brutal punishment. MvsC2 also took a step back from the six button layout of the past Vs. games, and utilizes a slightly simpler four button (two punch, two kick) layout, with the shoulder buttons featuring other functions.
Gameplay boasts no revisions, and the game ported is actually the arcade-perfect Dreamcast version. But, Capcom is making enhancements to multiplayer features, more specifically, allowing online gameplay for the time ever in the series' life (officially, that is). The Player Quarter Match will allow up to six people to participate, where four watch and chat, while two others fight, and rotate players with every set. Also, expect leaderboards to keep track of the game's ranked matches.
The game is getting a very slight visual add-on in the form of HD upscaling, and a visual filter that Capcom states makes the overall appearance look improved. We're not sure what this visual filter does, or how it looks, because the screenshots we've seen look like the original pixels, but we'd really like to find out. It'll probably only smoothen the edges of the fighters a bit, since the game utilizes polygonal backgrounds, which have aged pretty well and don't require any enhancements. We shall see.
For a mere $15, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a game no fan of the genre, no fan of anything Capcom, and no fan of anything Marvel should be without. It is the ultimate fighting game experience packed with the most insane and awesome gameplay a fighter has ever seen. A demo of the game will be available by the time you read this, and the full game will be downloadable via PSN this Summer.
4/30/2009 Arnold Katayev