If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or two with bees in your ears and your eyes gouged out, that you MIGHT have missed the announcement that Capcom will finally be releasing the oft-requested Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes to both the PS3 and Xbox late this summer. In a nice little turn of events, Capcom gave PS3 owners added reason for joy, as they announced they were releasing a PSN exclusive demo on April 30th. You’d be able to choose from six different character and beat the crap out of your friends for the next two or three months as you sat waiting for the full thing to arrive for approximately fifteen dollars. Well, the demo hit about 5PM EST last night, and after spending some time with it, and the full game via my Sega Dreamcast, I thought I’d share my thoughts on things are shaping up.
First of all, I do want to warn everyone – the demo of MvC2 is MULTIPLAYER ONLY and you can’t go online with it. This means the only way to try it out is to either A)invite a friend over or B) have two joysticks and play against yourself. I did both. The former to see if certain classic/infamous issues are still in the game, and the latter to count frames and do side by side comparisons with the Dreamcast version. Like the majority of gamers who downloaded this, I was a combination of shocked, angry and disappointed that Capcom would make such a huge snafu, especially as they’ve mentioned the re-release of MvC2 is the most common request they get. It would have been a lot smarter to have just made this a three on three battle letting you play against the computer so that anyone could play the game, not just someone with two joysticks.
My biggest concern was regarding how the game would actually play. Neither the Dual Shock nor the Sixaxxis are very good controllers for fighting games. Of course, the Xbox’s controller isn’t any better. Thank Cthulhu for the Madcatz fighter pads and sticks, no? The other aspect of this concern is that MvC2 was developed for the Arcade and the Dreamcast simultaneously . The game ran off Sega’s Naomi board technology and thus the Dreamcast version was Arcade Perfect. Meanwhile the Xbox and 360 versions were…well, let’s just say there was a noticeable drop in quality. Thankfully, and surprisingly, all six characters available in the MvC2 demo played perfectly. In fact, Ryu and Chun-Li responded better, smoother, and more reliably than their Street Fighter IV or SSF2THD Remix versions. Impressive. I never really used Stryder in the old game so I can’t comment on how he’s held up in this port. Marvels playable characters were Spider-Man, Wolverine, and surprisingly Iron Man. I say surprisingly because long time fans of this game are well aware of the level of cheese you can pull off with Iron Man since he has that damn infinite combo. He was also an unlockable character in the original, so having him out in the open in the demo makes me wonder if every character will be unlocked or if you’ll have to earn everything ala the DC version of MvC2. Hopefully it’s the earning. That was half the fun for me. Anyway, Wolverine and Spider-Man also hold up quite well and using them made me nostalgic for X-Men: Children of the Atom and Marvel Super Heroes. That’s what my Sega Saturn is for I suppose. Iron Man does have his infinite combo still, and although it was a little bit tough to pull off with the Sixaxxis, it was just as easy to pull off with my Akuma fight pad as it was with my Dreamcast controller. Nice! I was very happy about that. Yes, I would strongly recommend getting a fight pad for this game, although it’s not as necessary as with SFIV or SSF2T: HD Remix. Again, MvC2 was designed for the Dreamcast and Arcades equally, and the Dreamcast controller only had four buttons. If you don’t have a fight pad or stick, you will be at a slight disadvantage online when you battle those that do, but again, it’s not as severe as with SFIV. Overall, the controls are tight, and aside from King of Fighters: Ultimate Match ’98, it looks like the re-release of MvC2 will have the best combination of controls and gameplay for a fighter released in 2002. Man, what does that say about the state of the genre when two remakes/re-releases are better than their 2009 versions (KoF XII and SFIV respectively)? Yes, I’m still a bit bitter about King of Fighters XII only being five rounds and without a boss. Maybe the PS3/360 version will correct that. Grrr. They even tease a Rugal appearance in the opening cinematic and everything…
There are two graphics options for you: Smooth and Classic. Smooth looks incredible and as it’s the default I was sitting here thinking, “Man, the Dreamcast really WAS ahead of its time wasn’t.” Then I turned on my DC and booted up the real thing and noticed the visual difference. Classic is of course, back to basics and resembles the original SDC version perfectly. Even with a big of jag on the graphics, these ten year old visuals still holds up pretty decently. Of course, nearly everyone will want to go with Smooth simply because it’s more appealing. There are also seven backgrounds available for you to play on so you don’t have to play in the same environment each time.
Overall, I went into this being equal parts excited and pessimistic due to the last time MVC2 got ported. Now, aside from the SEVERE disappointment that I couldn’t play against my friends online or the computer, I’m really optimistic about the final build of the game. I would have liked for only one Street Fighter character to have been available in the demo, giving up Chun-Li’s spot to a different female Capcom character like Tron Bonne, Morrigan, or Jill Valentine, but hey, she just had a very bad movie come out, so why not, right? I’m also a bit worried that the game will have everything unlocked from the get go, as I spent many a giddy hours unlocking things in my Dreamcast version. Only time will tell what’s going to happen here. Until then, I’ll be spending time with the original Dreamcast version rather than this demo. Why take a teeny taste when you can have the full banquet?
Look for both the full game and our review of it later this summer.