Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh This game Is So Pringles.... The Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (PSN) Review

Note: Instead of posting gameplay footage, I might as well post the obligatory Marvel videos (sort of NSFW due to language) just in case you're wandering why this game is still as popular as it is when it first came out.

It was the year 2000 when Marvel vs. Capcom 2 first came out at arcades and it was the ultimate versus crossover fighting game between the two entities. There were many characters to choose from and the possibilities were endless in terms of picking teams. As the years went by, the game has been on ported on consoles with mixed results with the Dreamcast version being the definitive one to roll with compared to Playstation 2 and Xbox versions. In addition, it has been around in tournaments being one of the more popular games throughout this decade. Even though Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has been fun all these years, deep down this game is still as unbalanced and broken as it was when it first came out. Certain characters are overpowered while others do not stand a chance at all of being competitive if you decide to play this game seriously. Now in 2009, this fighting game is now on Playstation Network as a download and for fifteen bucks, it is still worth it to experience one of the most popular fighting games in the genre's existence.

The major change in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 compared to the first game is the upgrade to 3 on 3 versus tag team fighting compared to 2 on 2 thanks to the huge roster of characters to choose from. More characters in a fight makes things too chaotic and fast for average players to comprehend if you have been used to it for nine years, it just feels normal to deal with. Other gameplay features range from hyper combo cancels to switch to another partner's hyper combo, snapbacks, which if it hits an opponent, that certain character is out for a period of time, and various character assists in which a character will come out to do a hit and run special move. The other major change is the controls that it feels like a four button fighting game compared to a standard Street Fighter six button game. What I mean by the game being controlled by four buttons is there is only two variations of punches and kicks, but the medium punch or kick still occurs when pressing the weak punch or kick twice. Picking the right characters and assist types to form a worthy team matters especially if you have a certain gameplan in mind to set up big combos and traps. Even with the huge roster, this game is way unbalanced as the high tier characters like Magneto, Storm, and Sentinel are just way too good with their tools to deal damage like infinite loops, resets, and more. If you are considering playing this game at tournaments, you are pretty much limited to certain characters just to be competitive, but playing the game casually you are open to mess with character combinations to make magic happen.

The PSN version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 consists of what you expect in a downloadable fighting game from the single player arcade mode, local versus, training to practice up combos and learn new characters, and the highly anticipated feature of this release, online play. Surprisingly, the online play works decently as matches do flow smoothly most of the time, but obviously latency and connection issues do make a huge difference especially in a fast-paced game like this as one mistake can lead to defeat in a matter of seconds. Similar to Backbone's previous effort with Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, there are ranked and player matches as player matches are set up in a quarter match fashion with multiple players in a lobby as some spectate while two fight. Besides ragequitters, my online experience has been pretty shaky with multiple glitches and game crashes, which is unfortunate. The online play at least works, but prepared to get worked if you don't know what you're doing especially in ranked matches.

This digitally distributed port did receive some graphical tweaks, but the graphics are not completely remade. It is still a sprite-filled game with character sprites being used from over of the years of versus fighting games, and 3D backgrounds. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 does receive the widescreen treatment on this current generation of consoles, but being on widescreen makes the game look weird at times as certain supers still look like they're designed on 4 :3 displays. There are also different filters to choose from too, but I didn't notice any significant differences as I sticked to the default crisp filter. For purists, there is an option to turn off the widescreen and play it on 4:3, which has been the standard for this game since its inception. As for the music, it is still the same old jazzy tunes you heard all these years with the "I wanna take you for a ride" song on the character select menu screen. As a whole, you would have a love/hate relationship with the music. It doesn't sound like it fits in a fighting game, or you decide to deal with it. At least there is custom soundtrack support to a certain degree as well as the upcoming mixtape coming soon with underground hip-hop artists laying tracks for the game. Backbone did what they could with this port as some notable glitches were taken out, but most glitches are still in some way.

So is this HD port of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 still worth all this wait? The answer to that is yes, but it is definitely flawed just like the game itself. As fun as the fighting is living nerd fantasies of certain characters teaming up for the first time, the game itself is still as unbalanced as it was back in the day and broken at times too. It is still mindless fun at best especially with friends playing versus locally, but it can be a pretty serious game as seen over the years with the infamous videos. If you never played this game before, be prepared to deal with a learning curve even though it is still as simple as it was in 2000 and it also might be too chaotic to comprehend with many things going on at the same time. As for veterans of the game, it is still worth it to have it around as the online play works and the graphical tweaks are fine too even though it does feel a little weird seeing the game on widescreen. At the end of the day, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is still one of the most popular fighting games around as it closes in a decade of existence and this new resurgence of the HD port could be a good thing for the game and the scene in general.

Score = 8/10

  • Its still Mahvel Baybee!
  • Online play works
  • Still fun with friends
  • Be prepared to deal with online glitches and bugs
  • Graphical tweaks are okay, but being on widescreen makes the game look weird
  • You may love or hate the jazzy music
  • If you never played this before, it may too much for you to comprehend what is going on

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