My friends used to ask me back in the day why I had such a strong dislike for the releases in the Street Fighter Vs. portfolio, and they always got the same answer: they're too button-mashy. Actually, that was one of the most common responses, but I am certain other things were said, and I felt they were validated at the time. The real truth, though, was I just sucked at the Vs. games. Completely. I was just too accustomed to the old-school formats, which - when I think back on just how long ago they've been around - makes me feel really old.
You wouldn't believe how many people were actually walking up to the kiosk with their mouths agape going, "This is on the Wii!?"
This week, I was able to put those ancient reservations aside to join the mix of new-age and fellow veteran players enjoying Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, the latest Street Fighter crossover developed by 8ing and published by Capcom of Japan. Since its debut overseas, TvC has been a huge hit in the arcades. Up till now, the game was being kept as an exclusive Japanese release due to licensing issues. Fortunately, Capcom was able to negotiate through those legal licensing roadblocks to satiate the domestic interest here in North America.
It's probably one of the few fighting games featured at the show this year where "everyone leaves with a smile on their face," as observed by Senior PR Manager Chris Kramer. Although most attendees were not too familiar with the cast on the Tatsunoko end (which is to be expected for non-anime fans), I also witnessed a large amount of genuine interest and praise from everyone who got some hands-on time.
Whether you're a diehard fanactic like myself or just a casual gamer looking for some quick thrills, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is very easy to pick up. Many elements are identical to previous Vs. titles, including such aspects as aerial combos, over-the-top super moves, and the ability to perform two specials simultaneously. The control scheme is somewhat different than Marvel vs. Capcom 2, however: the buttons are now labeled "Assist," "Weak," "Medium," and "Strong." Many attacks are directional and button-specific as well. Like holding down strong with Ryu will execute a low roundhouse, but a launcher move will always be performed using down-forward + L (Strong).
Since I consider my skill level in crossover fighters to be the equivalent of a newcomer, imagine my surprise when I managed to effectively take out a good majority of the competition at E3. Unlike most players who stepped up and were literally mashing the controls, I was endeavoring to pick up the necessary skills to maintain my competitive edge. My team always consisted of Chun and Ryu, a selection that often left Aaron disappointed. I could see where he was coming from, though: it's a new game featuring a new cast of characters, why not branch out a little and experiment? But I decided to play it safe and stick with the classic crew I was familiar with. For the record, I did face off against a few players who were brave enough to go with an all-Tatsunoko team or opted to mix things up on the Capcom end.
There are a few new features, some of which I didn't pick up until after my seventh session. Mega Crash is a new defensive move which allows your character to escape from an opponent, but it takes up two stock levels of your super bar. The Assault is the offensive version, which seems similar to the Focus Attack maneuver featured in Street Fighter IV. Then there's Baroque, a technique I'm still trying to perfect in battle, where activation makes your character glow in an array of colors. During this state, your character is able to extend his combo strings and deal more damage to the portion of red life that's being chopped away. This almost seems like the Custom Combo system from Alpha, though I'll need to spend a little more time with the game before I can make a final assessment.
E3 attendees saw the Wii in a whole new light, or at least, gave the console props for how well it handles a high-octane fighter like TvC. You wouldn't believe how many people were actually walking up to the kiosk with their mouths agape going, "This is on the Wii!?" Real talk. Rest assured, I am not going to hesitate to pick this up - especially since the title has already been officially confirmed to support online multiplayer when it hits North America! Man, when it hits Winter '09, this battle's about to explode.
The gameplay is very solid, and I've been enjoying Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars to a huge degree. Stay tuned for our video footage, featuring an interview with Community Manager Seth Killian giving us an up-close-and-personal discussion.
Watch gameplay footage of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Windows Media, 640 x 480, 84.6 MB).