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Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Wii) artwork

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Wii) review

"Capcom has always kind of been the premier name in fighting games thanks to Street Fighter, but I've never thought that was their biggest strength. There are plenty of other games, each with their own merits that make them debatably better or worse. Capcom's real strength instead lies in the one niche of the genre that they have almost completely cornered, the team fighter. "

Capcom has always kind of been the premier name in fighting games thanks to Street Fighter, but I've never thought that was their biggest strength. There are plenty of other games, each with their own merits that make them debatably better or worse. Capcom's real strength instead lies in the one niche of the genre that they have almost completely cornered, the team fighter.

It's really amazing how something as simple as one additional fighter on each side adds so much to the gameplay. By its nature, it gives you more options in combat. Generally speaking, these games still feel like a one-on-one fighter, but they mix up the norm by allowing you to summon your partner to jump in and assist or tag out with your current fighter at any time. Swapped characters regenerate some amount of the damage they've taken, so there are benefits to switching beyond extending combos or changing your game to keep the opponent on his toes. Even genre standards like the "super meter" are enhanced by the addition. Deciding whether or not to use extra energy to perform a devastating team special, or stock them for later use adds a bit of management to a mechanic that has become somewhat old hat.

The formula definitely works, so now they just need roster padding. Having already conquered Marvel, Capcom moved onto anime giant Tatsunoko, possibly because there weren't enough characters with silly helmets in the lineup yet. I could probably just take jabs at Tatsunoko characters for the rest of the review, but some of them are science ninjas from space who dress like birds, so I don't really have to.

Yes, I admit, I went into the game with a clear bias. I figured I'd just stick to the Capcom side and that would be that. A few hours later I was playing mostly Tatsunoko characters. The cast is quite diverse and interesting, possibly even because of my initial preconceptions. Capcom's characters are mostly serious. Frank West is a bit of a joke, bringing with him a host of zombies and silly one-liners, but otherwise the Capcom side consists mostly of serious characters who take fighting seriously. Tatsunoko has the aforementioned science ninjas, and Polimar, a strange man in red tights with a duck-motif that fights using some weird kind of Tai-Chi. Their designs are mostly silly, but that kind of works in their favor. The roster feels well rounded even though it's much smaller than precursor Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and the smaller roster size makes every character feel a little more unique simply because there's less to differentiate.

Truly, the game's biggest strength is its roster. Even the gimmick characters are awesome, which came as quite a surprise. Each side has one giant character, and choosing them takes up both of your character slots. As per usual, Capcom's is a serious giant robot designed to seriously survive the seriousness that is a frigid wasteland planet, and Tatsunoko's is a golden cigarette lighter that transforms into a giant golden cigarette lighter robot. What's really amazing about them is that they're actually quite well balanced. Capcom did a good job of giving them the tools they need to fight two normal characters effectively, without being able to switch out and without being overpowered. These sort of gimmicky characters are generally either completely useless or completely broken. They're the kinds of things you break out to slaughter unsuspecting friends who've never seen the game before, and then never touch again lest you face their real-life anger. However here, they feel like legitimate character choices that you can pick for a different style of play.

The game itself uses the same 3d characters in a 2d arena that Capcom seems fond of nowadays, and it works quite well. Games on the Wii sometimes have trouble in the graphical department, and while some of the stage backgrounds are relatively low-res, the character models themselves are pretty impressive. The animation is fluid and the game does a good job of keeping up with the speediest of fights.

Simple, accessible controls make that necessary. This game is a true successor to Marvel vs. Capcom. The character movelists are compact and easy to learn, but the split-second timing and understanding of every character that comes with practice will still separate the novice from the master. Still, battles feel frantic and exciting right out of the box, without any tinkering in training mode to figure out how to play your character.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was a step in the right direction for the vs. Capcom series. It's reminiscent of its predecessors, but the graphical facelift and updated roster make it feel like its own game. While I really can't bash Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for being a bad game, this is even better, which should be endorsement enough for those who played MvC2. For those who haven't, expect a solid, fast-paced fighter with enough depth to draw you in without burying you, and an entertaining roster that is nearly worth the asking price by itself.

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Community review by dragoon_of_infinity (February 28, 2010)

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