Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars on Wii Impression

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars on Wii
Tatsunoko where have you been all this time! Joe the Condor, Jun the Swan, Ken the Eagle, Tekkaman and Karas are a few of the anime characters from Tatsunoko Production in Japan but why should these characters, know really only to fans, be of interest to gamers? Why should Wii owners lift an eye for these five and their seven other Tatsunoko allies? The reason is Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars for the Nintendo Wii.

This fighting game, besides being one of the best games period on the system, is unique in it brings so many unfamiliar characters to US shores with tons of well known, classic, Capcom characters that fans will drool. The reasons stretch beyond a split niche and well known lineup, let’s take a look …

– Think Marvel vs. Capcom 2 with a bit more meat and we’ve got a start. Using the Wii wi-fi ability take on gamers around the world in tag-team battles gaining ranks and moving up the leader boards. Button masher can find some success but there is a mastery needed to move up the charts and its best achieved using the classic Wii controller. The motion controls are non-existing and pulling off moves with the classic controller is easier. There are tons of special moves and over 20 fighters to choose from, each with a unique style, speed and range advantage, so choose wisely. Modes range from Arcade to Time Attack but the very neat hidden gem is the unlockable All-Shooter (short title) hidden game. It’s a 2D fighting game that does everything right.

– The Wii gets knocked quite a bit for its GameCube type graphics but like with MadWorld before, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is perfect for the system thanks to its style. It’s a beautiful, stylistic fighter where every character nails their anime look, even Capcom’s, and special attacks and environments shine. With such great in-game graphics the cutscenes are a letdown since they are just static scenery without what could have been a great opportunity at custom animation. The mixture of 3D character design on a 2D battle-field holds up so well it’s worth comparing to Street Fighter IV on PS3 and Xbox 360. Are these next-gen graphics, no, but any Wii owner will be very pleased?

– The background music can be very memorable on one stage, lost on another. Music is not the Wii’s strongpoint, and it’s not the focus of this title but gets the job done with good in-game fighting sounds and classic special move sounds and battle cries.

– Most fighters have multi-level, destructible environments but not here anime guy. This is a throwback to days of gaming past where levels are background and not much more. Each character shows off a bit of their ‘other lives’ with backgrounds and settings pulled from their respective series so that’s a treat, but an expected one.

– Tatsunoko is a risk for Capcom. The Marvel name is so much better known and how many kids would have asked for a Wii game with Spidey and Wolverine on the cover. It’s this risk, bringing over a title with half a roster most gamers have no idea about, that makes this gamer so happy. This is a rock solid fighting game that never would have seen light of day if not for Capcom taking a risk, a risk anime fans and gaming gamers on Wii should appreciate.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is a solid fighting game with great graphics, decent sound and gameplay that every Wii owner needs to experience. It’s not the casual gaming audience that we’re talking about, it’s gamers who want a great, classic fighting experience, the type that hooked many older gamers in arcades in days gone by and will hook even more with a collection of iconic characters … even if gamers don’t know every character on the roster.

Final word from an anime fans perspective. Could Capcom have finally shown that a great game populated with outstanding anime characters can succeed in the states? Can gamers finally get a Shonen Jump All-star title or some missing Evangelion titles? Time will tell, but if Tatsunoko can succeed then sunny days are ahead.

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