Another classic 2D Capcom fighter is reborn, with the release of Marvel VS. Capcom 2 for Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
Rather than give Marvel VS. Capcom 2 the full high definition makeover they did Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Capcom took a much simpler route in bringing the classic clash of cross-company titans to the latest gaming platforms - they made it widescreen. Of course they added in online functionality as well, but for the most part the game remains unchanged from the original, with a few filters thrown in for those that prefer their pixels a little more blurry.
So essentially this is the same game many of us have played before, only wider with online play. Is that enough to justify purchasing Marvel VS. Capcom 2? Damn straight it is.
It's Marvel VS. Capcom 2: Aside from the widescreen aspect ratio, some next-to-useless graphics filters, and different menus, this is the same game that thrilled us in its previously released incarnations. It's a gigantic brawl between the forces of Marvel and the forces of Capcom, with 56 characters to pit against each other in 3-on-3 battles. The four-button control scheme is simple enough that beginners can flail against the computer competently enough, with enough strategy for the advanced player to show us amateurs just how advanced they are. I may get my ass kicked on a regular basis, but I'm getting my ass kicked by Mega Man while I'm rocking Iron Man, and there's something wonderful about that.
It's Marvel VS. Capcom 2 with Online Play: The Japanese Dreamcast version of Marvel VS. Capcom had online play, but here in North America we missed out completely. Capcom has done a fine job of implementing online play in the game, with no noticeable lag in any of the online matches in which I got my ass handed to me. If you're as skilled as I am, just get yourself killed off earlier and then sit back and watch in spectator mode, where you can pick up tips from your betters or simply enjoy the thrill of folks better than you are fighting for your amusement.
It's Marvel VS. Capcom 2 With Everything Unlocked: My only real disappoint with the game lies solely on the fact that I play fighters in single player more than I do in multiplayer, so really this is less of a hate and more of a pet peeve, but I felt it bears mentioning. Unlocking different costumes and colors is one of my greatest joys in fighting games, and Capcom's decision to have all the secret stuff unlocked from the beginning deprived me of that joy. I understand it makes more sense from a multiplayer standpoint just to have everything out in the open, but as an unlockable junkie, I miss the sense of accomplishment that came with whipping out a special costume or alternate color your opponent hadn't seen yet.
The only other downside to Marvel VS. Capcom 2 is that the sheer number of characters and options available could be overwhelming to a new player. With everything unlocked from the start, the character select screen is just massive. I've had to sit through more than a few 30-60 second character select screens during multiplayer, and I could clearly picture the dumbfounded look on my opponent's face as they tried to pick and choose a winning team, not knowing that when going up against a player of my caliber, closing your eyes and just hitting the button six times works just fine. A roster this size doesn't come without a few balance issues as well, but even the most "useless" character can become a deadly weapon in the right player's hands.
It may look a little dated, but with a giant roster of fan-favorite fighters and the addition of relatively flawless online play, Marvel VS. Capcom 2 remains one of the most accessible, entertaining, and full-bodied 2D fighters ever crafted.
Marvel VS. Capcom 2 was developed and published by Capcom for the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Released on July 29th for the 360, August 13th for the PS3. Retails for 1200 Microsoft points or $15. Played Xbox Live Arcade version. Completed Arcade Mode with various groups of fighters, played (and mainly lost) many multiplayer matches online.
Confused by our reviews? Read our review FAQ.
Image courtesy of MEGAMAZ at Capcom Unity.