Friday, February 26, 2010

Tatsunoko vs Capcom review (Wii, US version)

While other people may have reviewed Capcom's Wii fighting game "Tatsunoko vs Capcom:Ultimate All-Stars", I feel like they glossed over some things. So, you may see me nitpick about the controls a little. I may gloss over other things, though. I am not going to explain the Capcom or Tatsunoko characters very much since the characters and their respective movesets could take up tons of space on their own but I might mention a few notable ones. If you are not a Wii owner, you may be lost by some of the minute details that I pick over but I will try my best to make it understandable. I may abbreviate the game's giant title as TvC, also.


The things that I knew about coming into the game was that it was a fighting game using a 2 vs 2 system, where each person picks two characters to use, the characters can be switched at anytime, and the match is lost when both characters are defeated. The health gauge of the character off screen refills slightly, similar to the previous "vs" game, "Marvel vs Capcom 2".

In an effort to accommodate the Wii, the buttons have been reduced to 4. The four buttons are Light, Medium, Heavy, and Partner. Since I recently had been playing "Samurai Shodown Collection" on the Wii, I was OK with the idea that there would be four buttons to manage, since most of the SNK games are 4-button, and "Samurai Shodown" did not seem tough to control. They have you attach the Nunchuck peripheral, and the four attack buttons are mapped by default to A (on the face of the Wiimote), B (on the back of the Wiimote), C, and Z (both on the Nunchuck), and the character movement is controlled by the Nunchuck's analog stick. It was my assumption that Capcom would do something similar.

DAY ONE (Friday)

It is my intent to see if I can make this game go without reading the manual. I toss the game into the Wii, pick the giant robot PTX-40A from "Lost Planet" who's too big for a partner and has to play by himself, and I am mystified by the fact that only A and B seem to do anything attack-wise. The analog stick on the Nunchuck does move the character, though. I also figured out that the minus button taunts. That was what I expected, at least. I got as far as the second stage of some giant spherical boss-like character without continuing. I opt not to continue further, and go get the manual to figure out where the attack buttons are mapped. I read the manual and lose my mind a little. After months of defending Capcom's decision to make a different game for the Wii instead of porting Street Fighter 4 with simplified controls, it turns out that if you play the game with the Wiimote or the Wiimote+Nunchuck combinations, you get simplified controls, and whether you want them or not. I look at the next two pages of the manual, where they show the layouts for the Classic Controller and the Gamecube controller. This is what I expected here. There are more than enough buttons, and the default option is logically laid out.

For those of you new to Nintendo, the Gamecube was Nintendo's previous game machine. Despite its small size and awesomeness, it never sold as many units as the Playstation 2. The
controller, while quite responsive and well made, has an odball layout and is not cordless.

Nintendo designed the Wii so that Gamecube controllers are directly supported - there are four controller ports under the side panel on the Wii. I go to bed feeling a little annoyed, and drop the manual between my side of the bed and the dresser partly by accident and partly because I'm too sleepy to care.

DAY TWO (Saturday)

After getting some of the house cleaned and some laundry folded in the morning, I tell my older son that we're going to play in 'Versus' mode on TvC. I have grabbed a Gamecube controller for myself, and I let him play with the Wiimote/Nunchuck combination. The only thing I tell him about the controls are that A attacks, B is for special moves, and to change players you hold away on the analog stick and shake the Nunchuck. Even with me picking Ryu on my team every time (or maybe because of it) we are pretty evenly matched. It's very easy to dish out the super moves in the simplified control scheme. Once #1 son had a team that he feels OK with (Tekkaman and Karas), I set him loose on single player. He had to continue a couple of times, but he was able to get to the end.

DAY THREE (Sunday)

I am busy doing chores and herding #2 son - I suggest that #1 son finish TvC with a Capcom character so we can unlock Frank West. He manages to finish with PTX-40A. Frank West seems fun, but he seems like he'd be more fun with the real controls. He manages to finish with Frank by himself using the simplified controls.

We managed to play sporadically after that, and the game doesn't seem broken. The special moves, while different for each character if you're not using the simple controls, aren't too hard to pull off. It's still simpler than a regular Street Fighter game. So let's go back and talk about the game overall.


The characters and backgrounds are all 3D models, like the current Street Fighter 4. All of the previous Street Fighter and VS games were all 2D characters with either parallax scrolling multi-layer 2D backgrounds (SFA, SF2, SF3) or 2D characters against 3D backgrounds (CvS2, MvC2). The 3D character models aren't quite as detailed as their SF4 counterparts, but they still do a good job of looking enough like the 2D characters that they came from to know which previous game a particular character was taken from. The visual effects are done quite well
and don't seem to cause much slowdown except possibly during a couple of the super moves, but at the point that the slowdown might occur it doesn't affect gameplay. The character icon art(the 2D graphic art that displays the characters while the match loads) seems very similar in style to Capcom Fighting Evolution, and looks very sharp and clean on the TV.


I hate to say this, but other than breifly noticing that some of the background music seemed to be remixed versions of existing Street Fighter stage music, I didn't notice the music much. I don't think that it was because it was bad, I suspect that it was because we were too busy trying to play the game. The announcer voice over is better enunciated and a little more Western-sounding than the Capcom Fighting Evolution. The character voices seemed like a lot of them were different actors than usual, but everything was a lot more cleanly enunciated here as well. Even the Japanese dialogue was easier to understand, even though that's not much of a priority for a Western audience.


Despite my initial negative reaction to how the controls were done, the simple controls were easy enough for someone familiar with the simple controls of Super Smash Bros., and the more precise control scheme with the Gamecube controller was well implemented for seasoned "Vs" players. Even the wacky Tatsunoko characters were fun to play with. The boss is beatable, but not a pushover on regular difficulty.

In closing, I felt that this game did a great job of representing Capcom fighing games. If you are new to fighting games and are looking for somewhere to start, this is a great place to do it.

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