Review by SuperPhillip
"They said it couldn't be done."
But it apparently can be done-- all licensing issues and hold-ups be damned! Many were stating, even Capcom themselves, that Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Cross Generation Heroes (the Japanese title of the game) would stay exclusive to the land of the rising sun. Each character in the West belonged to a different studio, so it was all but an impossibility. Somehow, someway, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom has reached North American shores as Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. With so many memorable Capcom characters and the Tatsunoko line of impressive heroes, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to check this game out now that it has migrated to the West.
Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars features a myriad of modes and challenges for players to sink their competitive teeth into. The main single-player mode is Arcade where players take a team of two (or if they select one of the two giant characters, an army of one) through eight progressively more difficult battles. The fourth battle is always against one of the game's two gigantic opponents while the last fight is a three-stage battle against the boss character of Tatsunoko VS. Capcom. To round out the single-player component, there's time attack and survival modes. The first has you taking on foes with the goal to take them out as fast as possible whereas the latter has you trying to survive round after round of combatants. If that's not enough, there is an unlockable mini-game that can be played which delves more into the genre of the shoot-em-up than the fighter.
You can alter nearly everything to do with battle in Tatsunoko VS. Capcom. You can set the difficulty of opponents, how much health each side has, if you and your opponent both start out with maximum power bars or not, and the time limit of a said round. The customization options are incredible, and that means you can play the game your way whether you are just beginning to enter the world of fighters or are a ten year vet of the genre.
As you play through the single-player component of the game, you earn zenny, the currency of most of Capcom's games, which can be used to purchased a wide assortment of items in the shop. There's character portraits and models, new costume colors, arena diagrams, and special movies. Sure, it's all fluff, but it keep players coming back for more if the fun, addicting combat and gameplay of Tatsunoko VS. Capcom doesn't do it first.
Speaking of the gameplay, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom may just be the best of the Versus series bunch. There are twenty-six playable characters in all with thirteen all-stars representing each side. You have old standbys like Ryu from Street Fighter, Chun-Li from Street Fighter II, Roll from Mega Man, and Viewtiful Joe from his eponymous series. You also have the other half of characters most players might not be familiar with-- the Tatsunoko side of the equation. That notwithstanding, these fighters bring enough of their own unique fighting styles, personalities, and awesome character designs to the table for any fighting fan to fervor over. By completing the Arcade mode a set number of times, you can unlock five new characters exclusive to the Western version of the game: Zero from Mega Man X, Frank West from Dead Rising, Joe the Condor, Tekkaman Blade, and Yatterman-2. The characters are varied enough, and no two fighters feel the same which is important for a game of this caliber and not Super Smash Bros.
Tatsunoko VS. Capcom uses a two-on-two battle feature. At any time during battle, you can substitute your current character for the person sitting in standby. In standby, that fighter's health will slowly regenerate a set amount. You can call your partner in to attack for a brief moment to help chain combos or throw in some extra damage. Tatsunoko VS. Capcom is very newbie-friendly. Combos are easy to pull off, but the more technical attacks take practice to master such as aerial combos, hyper combo breaks, and baroque attacks. It's like any good, worthwhile fighting game should be. The game's power super moves known as hyper attacks are activated by rolling the d-pad or analog stick around while pressing down two attack buttons. These attacks use up the bars on the bottom left or right side of the screen with a fighter's master hyper needing three full bars of power to use. You can use any control type you can think of from the Wii remote by itself to the Gamecube or Classic Controller to a fight stick. The Wii remote and nunchuk control types make the experience a bit more dumbed down than the other options which may put off some more advanced players. As the game's newbie-friendly, don't be surprised to see massive numbers of shoryuken-spamming Ryus online that want to do battle with you.
Yes, you heard right. There is an online component aside from local multi-player that allows two players from across the continent or across the entire world to battle it out against one another. Depending on your connection and how far away your opponent is determines the latency of the battle. It seems one out of ten battles is laggy showcasing input lag among other nasty treats. It's not a common occurence, so most battles should so off without problem. If a player has a habit of disconnecting mid-match, his or her profile will search for other players who disconnect during the heat of battle. Teach you to disconnect on me, Rupaul17! In addition to ranked and random battles where you earn points to allow you to face stronger opponents, there's friend battles. You just need to exchanged those dastardly friend codes in exchange for the time of a fighting fan's life.
Tatsunoko VS. Capcom sports what Capcom is calling a "2.5-D" look. Both the characters and backgrounds are beautifully-rendered with lots of eye candy going on in each of the game's fifteen unique stages and character-specific attacks. The character models are especially impressive, and they look absolutely marvelous. On the audio side of things, Capcom opted to keep the Japanese voices solely without deciding to dub them into English. The Japanese voices are fine (save for Frank West who purely speaks English), but I would have preferred the ability to have a choice in the matter. Due to licensing issues (and boy, were there a lot of them), the character specific themes of the Japanese original have been replaced with more generic-- yet memorable all the same-- tunes.
As a tyro to most fighting games, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is a fantastic fighting fan package. It has twenty-six characters to learn and master, dozens of team combinations, a sleek and pleasing graphical style, and plenty of goodies to unlock and enjoy. There is enough here for both beginners and masters of the genre to love without isolating either camp. Did I mention the virtually seamless online play again? Yeah, that's there, too. For those looking for the best of the Versus series even without knowing what a Tatsunoko is, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is the fighting game for you.
[SuperPhillip Says: 9.0/10] - Excellent. A title very much worthy of the VS. name, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is a terrific purchase for any fan of Capcom, Tatsunoko, or fighting games in general.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/03/10
Game Release: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (US, 01/26/10)
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