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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Capcom
Developed By: Capcom
Genre: Fighting
Players: 1-4
Rated: T(Teen)
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matt Guile

---Italicized portions are not required to read for this review, as they include added details that you may or may not want to know.---

March 3, 2010 - For everyone who is still holding out, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars has kicked-off Wii 2010 as a quality fighter that pits a deep catalog of fighters from two major companies against one another, which no one thought would ever be localized. All of which is accompanied by frantic and frenetic action, which advances to become one of Wii's finest fighting games. Despite this achievement, Ultimate All-Stars has just as many weaknesses as it does strengths, varying in severity, which hold it back from overcoming the competition.

Over my years of observance, it would seem that many people like to play fighters, but very few of these people can actually play a fighter on a professional level or to the very least, on a level of performing advanced techniques while pulling off simple moves. Therefore, Capcom has attempted to remedy this and to a certain extent, Capcom has succeeded. Ultimately though, Capcom has failed in this department when it comes to a player using a GameCube or Classic controller. Instead of simply allowing the use of the second analog stick on the GameCube or Classic Controller to control player movements with the D-pad and use both analog sticks for special moves, Capcom utilizes simplified, traditional, directional inputs, accompanied with button inputs to execute specials and supers. Although these input commands are simple in nature, pulling each command off with perfection requires practice. So, in order to easily play this game without a rather large learning curve, a Wiimote; with or without a Nunchuk is essential. However, even the Wiimote; with or without a Nunchuk, control scheme is not perfect, as it's perhaps feels too simplified and like something has been taken away.

Granted, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s control scheme is easier to grasp in comparison to other fighters, the controls still are not refined enough to allow new users an easy entry into the game. It also doesn’t help when a player’s directional inputs become reverse depending on the direction a player is facing. Blocking and throwing are not assigned to specific buttons; require players to hold the back direction in order to effectively block an attack, while throwing your opponent requires you to press a button along with the use of the control pad/analog stick to throw.

Considering Tatsunoko vs. Capcom doesn’t utilize a traditional control scheme, Capcom elected to include a training mode, which is a great way to obtain a better grasp of the controls. Despite the inclusion of this mode, the lack of video tutorials or step-by-step guides forces the player to read through the instruction booklet, game guides or simply just experiment with the controls in order to learn the moves for each character. Beginners to the VS. series who want to know what exactly a Baroque, Mega Crash and so forth are, they’ll have to find out on his or her own. This game doesn’t give players an inkling, assuming they already know everything. While regrettable, players are better off experimenting within the other gameplay modes as the training mode is barebones, not offering anything of substance. Veterans of fighters however will not have any problem grasping the control schemes within Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, while the average Wii gamer won’t find the controls as easy to grasp as in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. No matter the controller the player decides to use, once they’ve learned the game and the characters they use, they will find this game very enjoyable.

When it comes to the gameplay mechanics, some will love it and others will hate it. The core of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is solid, appealing to the niche gamer, while the average gamer will have some issues with the game if unfamiliar with Capcom’s Vs. series. This unfamiliarity all boils down to the tag-team fighting mechanic, which not many games have openly embrace. With Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, you are allowed to call in your tag-team partner for assistance, which can save you from a devastating combo or allow you to inflict massive damage on your opponent through co-operative attacks. Due to the tag-team element of the gameplay mechanics, memorizing several different character fighter styles is essential as no two characters fight the same way. While this adds a layer of depth to the gameplay, it can also be a problematic feature if you accidentally input the button commands for a special attack not utilized by the character you are actually using. Other moments include performing attacks that you weren’t trying to perform, thus adding to the level of frustration with the tag-team system. Because of this, some players may find themselves at a casual level for quite some time, gradually becoming frustrated with the game to the point where they stop playing all together.

Other issues with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom include the camera, which tends to follow the player that jumps in the air, leaving the other player still on the ground obscured instead of pulling back so all parties are shown on screen. On the flipside, there are delays to certain moves, which will give subtle hints to the opposing player as to what their opponent is doing. Calling in a partner for instance does have lag to it and hence, timing is required against more experienced players. This is true with most of the game's mechanics as well, as most of the moves do have a few animations before they connect or execute. On a slightly different note, the inability to hit opponents when they hit the ground is slightly annoying considering this game is all about inflicting devastating combos on your opponents.

For those who don’t see what I mentioned above as a problem for them, then they would undoubtedly enjoy Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. The reason why is because this title combines the frantic, high-speed action of classic arcade titles with the technical prowess you would find in games like Tekken and Virtua Fighter. Being able to fully embrace the technical side, allows for more enjoyment and fulfillment within the intense action that’s playing out on screen. However, those who don’t take the time to master the technical side may find themselves confused and frustrated when facing certain situations. Overall, unlike some other fighting games, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom does not lend itself well to players who are just trying to wing it.

When it comes to the functionality of the visual presentation, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a mixed bag. While the menu interface looks slick and works rather well, there is a problem brewing at the heart of the interface. It seems that when you enter any of the fighting modes or mini-games, you are required to start an actual match before you are given an opportunity to exit out of that mode. When it comes to deciding what color to put your fighter in, just like many fighting games, it’s all experimental. You are not given hints as to which button will pick which color for your selected fighter. You are also unable to select the same fighter twice to use in battle. So for those who love using Ken and Ryo in Street Fighter, you will have to do without Ken by selecting another fighter. This is all annoying and should have been corrected as it feels as if the developers took the arcade build and pasted it to the Wii version of the game in regards to this aspect.

The stages are nicely designed, possessing a few things to appreciate within the background. Sure, there are some nice twists that actually have an effect on the game like a zombie or two coming onto the stage, in the Dead Rising stage, for the most part that are all similar. Although this may be fine to quite a few people – additional depth would have been nice considering other fighting games sport unique features. Games like Soul Calibur feature ring-outs, while Super Smash Bros. Brawl has platforms to jump on and off of. Players could be battling on the same stage for the entire game and hardly notice the difference. It almost feels like players are playing on a stage with a changing background on a stage that doesn't fundamentally change itself. The option for hazards to be present, given if there were any would, have been a nice change of pace too. Nevertheless, the atmosphere within each stage is nice and unique.

Graphically, the game holds up very well and is one of Wii's best looking games. There are a few issues though when to comes to close-ups of certain fighters. It seems that the image quality is downgraded a bit as you can easily see rough textures on the characters. While not sporting the polished look of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a very well detailed looking game. Admittedly though, some of the stages do outmatch some of Brawl's, graphically. In regards to the sound, you can expect a lot of techno music to be blasting during your intense battles. Those expecting English voiceovers for the characters will be said to hear that there are none whatsoever in the game. The game's basic sound effects are well done too.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Star's character selection is much more varied then its stages, offering something for every type of gamer. The majority of the cast of characters will be unfamiliar to those who aren’t well verse in the Capcom universe and have never heard of Tatsunoko. Most, if not all of the characters are well balanced and have their strategic advantages and disadvantages. Each and every player should be able to find a character they will absolutely fall in love with. Regrettably though, despite how cool the aspect of giant characters may be, it is annoying that the giants hardly flinch whatsoever to enemy attacks, and thankfully there are only two of them.

While most of your time will be spent within the Arcade Mode, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom features several additional gameplay modes: Time Attack, Survival, Training and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Arcade mode is what players have come to expect with a small story excerpt included at the end for the specific character that landed the last blow. Its boss Yami can be quite annoying, especially for beginners. Once players are done with arcade mode, they get to watch and play the credits, which is quite fun and garners quite a nice reward if one-hundred percent completed. When it comes to Time Attack and Survival, its all about competing for better times and testing your abilities. In other-words, the game sticks very close to its arcade type roots and diverges in very few other places.

As for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom's online mode, unlike Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it connects players with opponents usually within thirty seconds to a minute tops. Brawl on the other hand, unless players are playing online with friends, will usually take several minutes to find random opponents, if it even finds anyone. Fortunately, worldwide or regional matches can be chosen, so players may find a bit of lag difference if fighting someone locally versus across the country or world. Nevertheless, players may find themselves fighting off against the same person, even if players do not request a rematch, depending on the time they are looking for an opponent. To some extent, it gives players an inkling that there are only several thousand players playing online. Anyway, another huge plus is that lag is barely apparent; if ever apparent (There are times though when it seemingly skips occasionally). Rivals can be easily added and rematches can be easily requested. It even tells you how many rivals and friends on a player's respective list is online, right in the main Wi-Fi lobby. With that in mind, players can request a matchup with rivals and friends. Icons are also present to be added as decoration. Players can also learn what type of fighter their opponents are because of an implemented system that notifies players if their opponent is offensive, defensive or evasive based on their previous matchups. Simply put, this game's on-line mode is significantly more reliable then Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Other than that, players can expect this game to be better in every other way imaginable for the most part, as far as online goes in comparison to Brawl. Hence, at the end of the day, this game joins with titles like Mario Kart Wii, Mario Strikers Charged and others as the system's best online games.

While most of the game is based on fighting, Ultimate All-Stars has some other neat diversions, one of which I spoke about earlier. The one I spoke about earlier plays as the game's credits roll. In order to take part in this game, simply press any button on your controller with the exception of the Start button, which would not allow you to play the game. Once the player triggers the game, they will be introduced to a group of ‘losers’ riding a bicycle, jumping, slowing down, and picking up the pace at their command. Roll from Mega Man is also playable within this game if they complete Arcade mode with Roll. The goal of this mini-game is collect all the yellow letters which spell out “Thank You For Playing.” Once completed, a neat extra has been unlocked. As to what that extra is, players are more than free to look it up. To be honest, at first, when I first saw the credits to arcade mode, I was quite disappointed as I did not know about the mini-game. Hence I'm telling you, the player, right now, once again to press any button but start and play this amazingly fun, yet simple mini-game.

Another neat but more fulfilling mini-game is Ultimate All-Shooters. Basically it's an arcade shooter with four drastically different characters/ships for players to use. In this mini-game, players will take down enemies based on their choice of character/ship as people do in any arcade shooter but the mechanics are slightly different from what is the standard today. Unlike Geometry Wars, players have to face their character/ship towards what he or she is shooting at, which can be tricky to do at times. It doesn’t go on forever like Geometry Wars either. There are four stages that are accessible through multiple paths (10 total), which can be tough to complete depending on the character/ship the player uses. Tekkaman Blade for instance jabs with his pole as his main attack, uses a 360 degree spin as his sub attack, and a beam of energy as his special, which last for about three seconds. Overall, he's strictly a close-ranged unit. Ryu on the other hand has an ungodly powerful ball of energy as his main attack, which goes through everything in his path, a powerful kick as his sub attack which projects mostly anything hit by it as a flaming ball of fire and his special, a spinning, tornado kick that last about three seconds. The other two are different as well; Ken the Eagle uses boomerang tactics and PTX-40A plays like a conventional character/ship. Unlike the original Star Fox or Star Fox 64 though (Yes, I know, these games do not have much else in common) players can take the stages on as a single entity or as group of two, three or four. Strangely enough though, Ultimate All-Shooters is presented in 4:3, instead of 16:9, like the rest of the game. Even so, it does not make a difference as to the level of fun players will have with this portion of the game, but even so, it is somewhat of a strange decision. Another strange decision is that unlike any of the other modes, players cannot use the analog stick to select options, when the game is paused. Despite these few flaws, even if the person playing doesn’t like fighters (If they don't, I wonder why he or she is playing TvC for...), they should at the very least, have fun with this arcade shooter as it could potentially be sold as an individual WiiWare game.

Without a doubt, if new players want to enjoy this title, they will have no choice but to be extremely patient and experimental, or do their research on the mechanics of the game. Due to how the game is structured, it may become repetitive if players are not properly educated on how to play the game. Sure, players may have fun with it, without having a clue as to how the game truly works, but most will probably find it to feel lacking if advanced techniques and the like are not learned. This is because Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is more of a technical game, than a party fighter. It doesn’t truly fall in the middle of a technical and party fighter like Wii's most popular fighter, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

No matter, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars kicked off 2010 as a great fighting game with a few entertaining extras to be found, but it's far from the perfect package. It’s tricky controls, awkward gameplay mechanics and strong arcade presence --Remember, you cannot go back to the main menu until you start a game and stuff of that sort-- hold it back from overcoming its main competition on the system, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. While this may be problematic for casual fans, veteran fighters will be able to adapt to the game without any problems. This game doesn’t have the polish, amount of content, amount of gameplay options or the user-friendliness of Brawl. Players should still give this game a rent at the very least and see if they like the game.


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