Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes Review
It was one of the worst kept secrets this generation that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 would be returning in some form or another. With internet speeds and digital distribution as popular as it is today, most logically guessed we'd be seeing the re-release of the game on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store. Indeed those guesses were absolutely correct, and thankfully we also didn't have to wait too long between the announcement of the game and its release. 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 took the crossover aspect from Children of the Atom, and blew it up so much in popularity, making it 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 finally see it running on the PS3.
I'm even more excited because many years ago, I sold off my massive collection of PS2 games, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was one of the games I parted with. As some of you guys may know, the game can fetch for some ridiculous dough on eBay for the Xbox and PS2 versions. Even used at a GameStop it was selling for nearly $50. With the re-release of the game, all it'll cost you is $15 for a game that comes complete with a massive roster, immense action and online gameplay.
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, with a total 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 makes MvsC2 so great isn't its endings, but rather the variation of characters, 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. Now, before I continue, allow me to make a complaint about the controls. Why Capcom took out the option of dual-function buttons is beyond me. Because if you're playing on the controller, it can be a bit cumbersome to change the position of your hand in order to strike two buttons simultaneously. Moreover, if your attack isn't successful, you leave yourself susceptible to an attack while you do a quick re-adjust. Allegedly Capcom/Backbone did this to please the hardcore group who will be playing with their arcade sticks. Additionally, it was done for online purposes, so that people with controllers aren't able to just push one button for a super, meanwhile those with arcade sticks have to push two. Unfortunately, the oversight here is that a vast majority of people will be playing the game with a controller, and so there is some frustration to be had here. To make matters worse, a patch isn't planned for the near future.
Adding online to the mix, Capcom and Backbone attempted to enhancement the multiplayer aspect. I say attempted because there are two issues with the online matches. First, there is some lag to be found, which can get annoying. You can adjust the latency time within the game options to iron some of the lag out, but unless you or your opponent are pinging really, really low you won't get a great match. The second issue is a bug that deals with the Quarter Match. This mode allows up to six people to participate, where four watch and chat, while two others fight, and rotate players with every set. Unfortunately, there is a known bug where if one person in the room leaves, the game freezes and you're forced to restart your PS3. How something like this made it through Capcom's Q&A people is beyond me...because it basically makes the mode virtually unplayable. And again, it doesn't look like we'll get a patch to fix this for at least 4-6 weeks according to some. Stick to the standard online matches to avoid complications.
Now, visually, because the backgrounds of the game are completely 3D boasting some very fine texture work, it has helped Marvel vs. Capcom 2 age much more gracefully than every other Capcom fighter. While not quite on the caliber of BlazBlue, MvsC2 is still a pretty good looking game today. A very slight visual add-on in the form of HD upscaling and visual filters help improve the overall appearance of the fighters, by either sharpening them or smoothing them. If you prefer the original arcade sprites, you can select that option too. Honestly, I didn't see that much of difference between the settings, but that's just me. In any case, the screenshots tell the picture, for the most part, it's a good looking game.
The audio has been left completely alone. Every bit of the sound has been preserved. The soundtrack is still sounding good after all this time, as it's surely one of the best Capcom's ever done. Additionally, all of the sound effects, despite being created for age-old hardware still sound fine. The audio won't blow your ears away, but with its intense gameplay the effects still make your feel like you're playing this in a loud arcade.
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. I'd say it's better played with a friend nearby, as the online is suffering from issues on the PS3. And for the best experience, I recommend an arcade stick.
8/15/2009 Arnold Katayev