Assist Spam Has Arrived, Again and Again.
But as it has been well over a decade since its release, MvC2 hasn’t seen much love. Sure, if you check out the last generation of consoles, every single one had their own shot with the famed Capcom fighter. However, we haven’t seen that fabled third installment, nor a revamped version of the game. This is Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and if you have a problem with that, there are two Wolverines that would like to have a word with you.
Unlike previous old-games-turned-glamorously-new (Street Fighter II, Bionic Commando Rearmed), MvC2 has not been given a facelift, aside from a few cosmetic changes to the menus. The same sprite models have returned, along with the beautifully designed backgrounds. You might not be able to tell, but the game has had some visual upgrades, as it now supports higher resolution graphics and widescreen. This helps the game to look more clear and smooth than ever before, and it shows. Although it would have been nice to see completely redone character models (akin to the new version of Street Fighter II), the graphical improvements make these last-gen graphics shine like never before! The only downside to the graphical upgrades is that widescreen support exposes the edges of some of the levels and attack animations. It doesn’t exactly kill the experience, but it does make the game feel incomplete.
Continuing the trend of faithful returns are the sound effects and music. These have gone untouched, as well as the satanic looping elevator muzak that you find in the character selection screen. Every catchy song with their raspy lyrics blazes through my speakers and it feels so good! No matter how hard you try, you will not get these songs out of your head after playing. While they are memorable, they do not distract from the dizzying, high-speed chaos of battle. So never fear; your concentration shant be broken (unless your opponent is playing as Storm; it can’t be helped). There is the option of playing your own music files off of your PS3's hard drive (if you hate the music that much), but it isn't exactly intuitive when you don’t even know about it. It is handled from the XMB, so as long as you have your playlists set up, all you have to do is punch it and play.
So the game looks and sounds the same, but is it the same experience? Yes… and no. The same, gigantic list of characters is still intact, as are the alternative costume colors. It is true; Capcom isn’t going to milk you for DLC on this one, as far as we can tell. There isn’t a single thing to unlock or is missing from this game this time around. Standard Arcade Mode, Training Mode, and Score Attack round out the single player options for this game.
If you are brave enough into multiplayer, you’ll happily notice that there are 3 options: local, unranked, and ranked. Online play is where the game really suffers, sadly. So if you really want an opponent, you are going experience some heartache. Backbone Entertainment did not do a very good job of making a flawless online experience. Finding a match is extremely difficult on the PlayStation Network, and the interface in clumsy enough to turn many people off to it very quickly. While the netcode is passable, it really comes down to finding an opponent. No real skill-based ranking system exists in the game, so the odds of finding a like-experienced rival is slim to none.
Very small optional changes have occurred, but really that isn’t enough. Truth be told, I’m disappointed that Capcom didn’t include a TRUE training mode, like they did in Street Fighter 4. Being able to learn combos and techniques is crucial for success in this game (especially if you haven’t been playing non-stop for the past decade). While the combos are relatively simple and often shared across characters, their function and execution are what really matter. So much more could have been done to this game that wasn’t. For the lack of extra effort and attention, I am disappointed.
Not much can be said about Marvel vs. Capcom 2 that hasn’t been said in the past. It is an extremely hectic fighter with some very unbalanced fighters and an unapproachable feel to anyone wanting to learn the game. Button mashing, assist spamming, and dumb luck still applies to this game; But if you really want to sink your teeth in, you best have a trusted friend help you out.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is, fundamentally, the same great game it was before. What hurts the experience is how sloppy the port is. Even if you don’t improve the graphics on the game, for $15 I expect a little more polish. What we end up getting is a great local experience with some interface hitches, and a barebones online experience with some real issues to work out. If try to navigate the game’s menus too quickly, you will find it freezing for a few seconds as it loads or saves (which is a similar problem in Street Fighter 4; also done by Backbone). For all of its problems aside, it remains a faithful port of the classic game. If you are a hardcore MvC2 player and you haven’t downloaded this game yet, you really should. But for all of those who aren’t, grab this game with the following in mind: you have a long, steep road to climb before you will be any good. Who will survive?