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What the hell is Tatsunoko? That’s what many of you reading this review are probably wondering. You’re familiar with Marvel Vs. Capcom, but not Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. That’s fine, as I was the same way until I went to the good ‘ole internet to look it up. It turns out, Tatsunoko is an extremely popular Japanese animation company. However, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom is a fantastic fighting game, whether or not you know of the Tatsunoko side.
As Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom is a fighting game, there is no story. Gamers who go to play a fighting game know that they are playing for the gameplay, and Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom does not disappoint. Combat in the game is just like any other standard fighting game. You can do your basic punch and kick attacks, but you can also push a series of buttons to unleash much stronger special and ultra attacks. One thing I noticed about the combat was that it was extremely easy to button mash, more so than other fighters I have played. This could be considered a negative to many fighting veterans, but also welcoming to newcomers who are playing the game due to it being on the Wii. Even though you can easily button-mash and set off special attacks, the game is quite balanced; with strategy playing a huge role. If you play as Ryu and just try to camp Haduken in the corner, you will lose.
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom also has a slew of game modes that add some real depth to the game. Most significant among this; full Nintendo Wi-Fi support. For single player, you have modes like Arcade in which you fight “computer-controlled characters and defeat the final boss to get a special ending”, Survival where you “keep fighting until your health bar runs out”, and Time Attack where you must “race against time to beat the game as fast as you can”, and finally Training in which you “practice your moves with condition of your choosing” (all quotes straight from the games descriptions). As you can see, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom is bursting with single player game modes. You also have Versus mode, which is two player local battles on the same Wii.
Where Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom’s games modes really shine are online. Over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, you can play Free Battle, which pairs you up with anyone of any skill, or Ranked Battle, where you fight someone who is the same rank as you. There is also Friend Battle for those that are registered on your friends list. One downside to playing with those on your friends list however is that you can’t earn Battle Points during those fights. Luckily, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom allows you to fight against strangers online without the use of Friend Codes. My best guess is that this is meant to stop cheating and false rank-gaining. Aside from Friend Battles, you can also compete in Rival Battles. At the end of online battles, you can also choose to add the person you fought to your rivals list to fight them later. Of course one of the best things about the online for Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom is that it’s completely free!
Another huge draw to Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom is the amount of playable characters. There are over 25 characters available to play as, with a nice mix between Tatsunoko characters, and Capcom characters. As I mentioned before though, you don’t need any knowledge on Tatsunoko series’ to enjoy the characters. The Capcom roster boasts series regulars such as Ryu, and Chun-Li, while also lesser known Capcom characters such as Viewtiful Joe and Fank West (Dead Rising). On the Tatsunoko side, you have characters like Ken the Eagle, Casshan, and Karas to name a few. When you begin to experiment with different characters, you will soon discover that each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
After all of those single player and mulitplayer battles, you earn an in-game currency called “Zenny”. Using the Zenny’s you collect, you can go to the in-game shop and purchase cinematics, costumes, and galleries. Other than that, the Zennies you collect don’t really have much use. It would have been nice if the developers had come up with more creative ways for you to spend your hard earned zennies.
To balance out strengths and weaknesses a bit, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom does something that not too many other fighting games do; allow you to use two fighters in a match. This is a key part of the overall strategy in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. Not only do you have to memorize commands for one character, you also have to do the same for the other. However daunting this may seem, there is a bright side. Playing with two characters is great. You can easily swap between the two whenever you want, and your second fighter can sometimes take a shot at your opponent while you continue to wipe the floor with them. It’s an interesting style that I personally like. If this two fighter style wasn’t there, the game would feel too much like Street Fighter in my opinion.
The graphics in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom take a 2.5D approach. The fighters and the arena backgrounds are all in 3D, but you fight on a 2D plane, where you can only move up/down, left/right etc. What I really like about the graphics are how bright and colourful they are. On a system like the Wii which isn’t known for graphical power, this game shines. There isn’t one particular point about the graphics that stand out, they just look gorgeous. However, this is both good and bad. It makes the game look great, but it keeps it pretty far away from being the best looking game on the Wii. The best part about the graphics for Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom is that there appears to be no graphical problems at all. In the hours that I played, I didn’t experience any screen tearing, frame rate slowdown, or bugs of any kind. The game continued to run smooth at all times.
Being a fighting game, I have to touch on the controls for Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. This game takes full advantage of five different control styles to help players craft their ultimate fighting type. You have a choice between using:
- Wii Remote
- Wii Remote and Nunchuk
- Classic Controller
- Gamecube Controller
- Arcade Stick
Beginners to the game, or fighting games in general will likely want to stick with just the Wii Remote turned sideways. This control scheme has a very limited amount of buttons, but will also allow you to pull of special and ultimate moves with ease. More advanced players will likely go for the Classic Controller or Gamecube controller options. These controllers have more buttons and are much closer to how playing a fighting game on other consoles would feel like. Fighting game veterans however will likely want to go for the arcade stick. This allows for the best, and most comfortable control scheme available. If you are good enough to opt for the special – and expensive – arcade stick, then you need no explanation as to why you should get it; you just know you should.
The soundtrack and voice-overs in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom are also fairly well done. The sound track is very Japanese, and filled with JPop. If you don’t enjoy this kind of music, you may want to turn down your speakers and listen to your own music while you play. The music doesn’t add to the experience, so it isn’t essential that you hear it. Much like the music, the voice overs in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom will appeal greatly to the Otaku crowd. All of the character voice-overs at the beginning of matches are in full Japanese with no English dub or sub-titles. Many gamers who play these types of games prefer Japanese voice tracks, but it would have been nice if an English dub was also included. The generic voice track that you hear during the menus however, is in full English. You don’t hear this voice much, but after a while, it does tend to get annoying. Yet another reason why it might be better to turn down your TV speakers and turn up your stereo speakers while playing.
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom essentially has unlimited replay value. As long as there is an active community, you will always be able to master your skills and compete online. Just like other online fighting games, you could dedicate hours-upon-hours of time to crafting your skills. The game will more than likely eventually be tossed to the side, but when you do, keep in mind that you could easily pop it back into your Wii and have a bunch more fun. This game can only be beaten by the way you justify “beating” it.
If you are a fighting fan and own a Wii, you owe it to yourself to pick-up Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. If you are a fighting fan, but don’t own a Wii, this game may justify the purchase of one. Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars has earned it’s place among the previous Vs. Capcom games, and is also one of the best games on the Wii. Hardcore gamers rejoice, the Wii has another title that you can be envious of.
- Deep strategy to fighting
- Balanced fighting
- Various single player and mulitplayer modes
- Free online
- Outstanding character roster
- No need to know Tatsunoko to enjoy the game
- Very new-player friendly
- No graphical issues
- Can be a bit button-mashy
- Full 3D graphics may have been better
- Tatsunoko brand may scare off gamers
- Being on the Wii, the game may not be open to fighting genre verterans
- Soundtrack and voice-overs can become annoying; no reason to listen