Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars Reader Review
As a massive fan of the Street Fighter series, I've always loved the Vs series. There have been some entries that I have loved, some that I loathed and some that I have been indifferent about. Tatsunoko vs Capcom crashed onto the scene with its bright colours, very Japanese styling and its odd choice of characters. When I saw the gameplay, however, I was sold.
The first thing most reviewers cover, when reviewing this game, is who on Earth are Tatsunoko? You don't really need to know, nor will you care, coming into the game. Let's just say that they're an anime company with enough wacky, varied characters to make a very promising cross-over fighting game.
The first thing these guys bring to the table is their style. The anime vibe flows through the game in many, many ways. The first is the simple, very glossy anime graphics. Having some of the sharpest in-game visuals on the Wii is still a worthy accolade, and the result is a beautifully colourful, clean-cut game that, impressively, manages to keep up with itself.
Another thing that's very anime about this game is just how insanely over the top it is. The game has so many combos, so many ways to butcher your opponent, so many dazzling displays of ascending damage stats; it has left me listless.
The gameplay itself is deceptively complex. On the surface you have a fighting game with three degrees of attack and many characters to choose from. Spend an hour with Tatusnoko vs Capcom, perhaps honing your skills on training mode, and you'll soon be steam-rolled by the amount of moves you can pull off.
Each character has a stunning array of hyper combos, flashy moves and extremely powerful combinations that allow for fast-paced, deadly gameplay that, whilst remaining about as easy on the eye as acid, is so very easy to keep up with. The precision of the game far outstrips what appears to be a mess of colours, lights and fire. You'll very easily find yourself almost slowed down in real time, kicking some arse with many of the game's characters.
The hyper combos are devilish, dramatic and damn near impossible to resist throwing in early. Early? Yes, early. The hyper combo bar builds up through five different levels. You can activate any of your deadly moves at any point from levels one to five. The higher the level, the more powerful the resultant moves. I like to let them rip whenever I feel like it, ending on them and often implementing them as a get out of trouble mechanic. What you are left with is a fast paced explosion of hyper combos that can end a game in seconds, depending on your chosen damage level. You can even start fighting with full combo meters - making for a true firework display of fun.
Despite similar names, similar looks and even similar looking moves, every single character is unique. They are all fun to master, easy to pick up and, unlike Street Fighter, none of them are so overwhelmingly different that you'll be reluctant to get to know them. The result of this is, quite simply, you'll be able to switch between every player at will, with ease and with no major detriment to your success rate.
Once you are happy with one or two fighters, perhaps even before then, you can jump into Arcade mode. The opponents are different every time, present a ladder of ascending difficulty that leads up to a three part boss battle that requires a unique approach.
Unfortunately, after many tries and reliving the Seth-esque frustration of many other Capcom fighters, I did actually find that a combination of extreme blocking and at-range projectile attacks will make light work of this boss. Thankfully though, along the way, there are battles with the giant characters that present a more rewarding battle than the final boss.
The ladder of difficulty is a lot more difficult to ascend than in such games as Street Fighter IV, and this is going to leave you with hours and hours of gameplay to come. New additions, such as the baroque cancel and the punishment for quitters, make for a fresh feeling game. Master Street Fighters will even find it easy to jump into the flashy shoes of any of the characters on display, as this games hits the gap between Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom 2 with stellar accuracy.
Upon completion of the arcade made, you are presented with some lovely still images - these are only rendered 'disappointing' by the knowledge that they were once anime style cut-scenes. Once that's over, and an easy to screw up name entry screen flashed by, you are presented with the world's greatest credits screen. Not wanting to spoil anything, you really will find this stylised mini-game a whole lot of fun.
Playing through the arcade mode fourteen or so times, I unlocked every single character, bought the stuff from the shop - this being a fun addition, and nice thing to browse, but underwhelming for lovers of Super Smash Smash Bros. Brawl. I then readied my game face and dived straight into the online.
Playing with friends and random players alike is absolutely mindblowingly fun. The online works just like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but I would say that the eccentrics of this game really shine online. I've had little problem with lag, little problem with connecting and little problems with spammers and disconnecting sore losers. So it works, which is always good.
When you go to play versus, especially if you only have one classic controller like me, you'll encounter a few controller-based issues. I can't play with the Wii controller on its side because it's too hard to pull of specific combos, the nunchuck-based option requires use of the analogs stick and the Gamecube controller presents much the same story. This is all beside the point that the Wii controller and Wii controller and nunchuck options are significantly dumbed-down when compared with the Classic controller or even the Gamecube controller. As a lover of local multiplayer, I disappointed that the Classic controller is, in my opinion, the only way to go.
Time trial mode and Survival mode both offer a fun diversion from the Arcade or multiplayer options, allowing for a tense build up of near death experiences in Survival mode and tantalising race against the clock in Time Trial mode. These, along with the very fun co-op minigame - which is hardly mini - make for a very fun array of distractions.
Unlike games on the Playstation 3, having one save means the leader boards revert back to fiercely competitive arcade style -- where the scores are universal and years of competition can begin.
Tatsunoko vs Capcom is a stunning game that brings new levels of fun to the VS series, brilliant variety in every aspect from difficulty, included music tracks, characters, and scenery and a stlye of play that will continue to impress core players and veterans of this genre alike. It's hard not to fall in love with everything about the core experience here, and I did so with an eleven hour marathon on my first start-up.
As you probably know, the new additions to the Western release, such as Zero from the Megaman series, and online play, more than make up for the lack of one license-issue plagued character and the cut-scenes at the end. We really are getting the better version, and a cheap price.
The very fact that this incredibly Japanese game is even out in the Western world is a testament to how easy it is to overlook how Japanese it is, in favour of looking at how fun it is. Hopefully this is the first in a long line of games being released with no regard for sales and wholeheartedly for the fans. This sporadic fighter is a must have for fighting fans, a must have for Wii owners and a reason why the Wii is so very unfairly stereotyped.
9 / 10