May 19, 2010

Review: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is an excellent fighting game. If you own a Wii, pick this one up. That being said, let's look at why it's so awesome.


Visuals: I happen to find this game pretty visually impressive, especially with the attack effects. Unless you get a real closeup zoom of the characters, they look fine and dandy. Sure, they may lack a bit of the sharpness of the HD Street Fighter IV, but the style is identical and looks great on Wii. These types of shaded styles are really where the Wii excels, so the style of this game was probably a no-brainer. It's the next best thing to sprites simply because we know that sprites can look absolutely phenomenal on Wii, as seen in games like Wario Land: Shake it. As it is, it's all smooth and lovely.

Presentation: It's as good as it can be I suppose, considering no one has ever heard of Tatsunoko or watched their animes in this country. The one thing I find strange is that each character has an ending. That's not the weird part obviously; what's strange is that there is no beginning and no story to be ended. All you know from the start is that the two worlds have somehow collided and at yet each character has an ending to the story you didn't know existed. Odd. Also odd is that the game makes you hold the Wii remote first vertically, then horizontally in the menus. Why you can't simply hold it horizontally the whole time I will never know. Extremely annoying, as with previous vs. games, is that you can't deselect a character. Once on the character select screen every single button selects a character, and once you pick them, there's no going back. Anyway, the music isn't weird and jazzy like in Marvel vs. Capcom and the levels are likewise less generic. There's actually stages from the various games and anime's represented this time. And there's plenty of unlockables, which is a plus.

One thing that has always impressed me and still impresses me about Capcom fighting games is how they manage to make each fighter uniquely different. There's about 30 fighters and every one plays different from the other. Even characters that would be clones in Smash Brothers, like Tekkaman and Tekkaman Blade, have completely different movesets and play styles.

Gameplay: Simplified controls! Everything else is pretty much what you'd expect if you've ever played a vs. game before. You've got your standard combos and hyper combos (i.e. ultimate moves), teammate assists (only two to a team this time), standard attacks and special attacks. New are baroque combos which cause your character to glow and keep your combo going at the expense of your red health and a defensive force blast move that blasts opponents away at the expense of your red health and two combo bars. Combo bars are gained by attacking and taking damage. They are used for hyper combos which can change depending on how many bars you have. You can also do team hypers which in which both of your fighters use their hypers at the same time, and substation hypers where you start with one fighter's attack and switch in with another character's instead. If it sounds complicated, its not. It's just hard to explain on paper. As with all fighting games, get both opponent's health to zero to win. In this game, attacking will chip away health and cause some of the health bar to turn red. Red health can be restored over time when the character is not on screen. If you take out all of an opponents green health, even if they have red health, you win. Simple stuff.

Controls: Thankfully simple and awesome. There's many schemes you can use though: horizontal remote, remote and nun-chuck, classic controller, or Gamecube controller. I prefer the remote by itself held horizontally. Both this and the other remote method are simplified, while the four button scheme used by the other controllers is advanced. With your remote, the 1 button is standard attack, the 2 button is special attack, the B button is team attack, and 1+2 is hyper. That's it. Simple enough for anyone to learn and have fun. Thankfully, because of this, I am able to get the full value out of this game. I find the standard advanced controls way to complex and can never figure out how to do anything. Resorting to button mashing all the time isn't as fun as it sounds. Unlike Marvel vs. Capcom, I can actually control what I'm doing and love every minute of it.

Sound: They didn't dub anything that wasn't already in english. I mean anything. Even Viewtiful Joe still speaks in Japanese. That's alright, though, because not only does it sound authentic that way, but it's kind of funny. As I said, the music is actually pretty good and much more fitting than music in previous vs. games. The original Japanese version had the theme music playing for your currently selected character which was removed in this game due to licensing issues. But hey, at least we got the game at all. Sound effects are great, and the announcer sounds vaguely like Captain Falcon.

Replay: Unlike previous vs. games, not everyone is unlocked from the beginning. The new characters in this version are unlovable meaning you'll have to play through arcade a total of 16 times with characters from both sides to unlock them all. It's totally worth it, though. There's quite a bit of other stuff to unlock as well if that tickles your fancy, in addition to online play. It's a fighting game, so basically it's something to bust out with your pals. That being said, the replay is probably until the sequel is released. Sure there's Marvel vs. Capcom 3 coming, but it won't have the surprisingly awesome Tatusnoko guys.

Final Thoughts: Tatusnoko vs Capcom is the best fighting game I've played in years due to its simple controls and its deep combat. The unusual mashup of Capcom and the obscure (in the West) Tatsunoko turns out very well and I found myself gravitating toward the more mysterious and interesting Tatsunoko characters. The Capcom side is no slouch either though, and and the game is sure to entertain for some time to come. 

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