Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Xbox Live Arcade
Release date:
July 29, 2009
Backbone Entertainment

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Like a seizure, but with superheroes.

Review by Andrew Calvin (Email)
September 18th 2009

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (MvC2 for short) is a game that teaches you to lose, and lose well. It taught me patience, taught me to block low, it taught me to fear Magneto/Storm/Psylocke (MSP). Well here's my question for new players: do you have patience? Can you handle losing (even being perfect-ed)? if you answered "no" to either, then run from this game. Don't even touch it. It will make you rage. it will make you ask yourself time and time again "why the %^&* am I even playing this?"

The learning curve is steep, and the community is full of trash-talking braggarts who have no problem killing you in a matter of seconds. That Mags rushdown that just killed your team in 15 seconds, that doesn't come easy. You have to work for that kind of execution. And I wouldn't have it any other way. In some respects, MvC2 is the greatest fighter that we will ever see. The roster is insane, the system completely broken, and the possibilities endless. I honestly thought we'd never see a resurrection.  Those of us who were there when the game first hit the arcades, and made Justin Wong a household name in the fighting world, would have to be content with those memories. Thanks to Capcom and XBLA/PSN, MvC2 is reborn with new opportunities for those who rally for low tier, know the glitches and revel in them, or simply can't get enough of this visceral three-on-three 2D fighter. The newly added widescreen presentation and graphic filters do a surprising job of making the game look gorgeous on HD sets .

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a game of balance. Do you push or do you retreat? Do you call out an assist or hold it? Ideally, your main hero will use assists to set up devastating combos that lead to infinites or resets. Want to lock-down and chip to death? How about Spiral/Sentinel or Doom/Strider? How about Ryu, Ken, and Akuma together for team shoto? To some, there are only two or three teams worth running. For others, there are dozens. It's this aspect I've always loved about the game. Truly, it is rare for a lower-tier team to beat the likes of MSP, but that's something you learn to accept. Marvel is a game that you can't help but get passionate about. There's nothing spongy about the experience. Controls are precise yet inputs are not overly demanding. The addition of air combos and assist combos really expands the combat system, allowing you to start a combo on the ground and continue it in the air or use an assist to setup a combo and further resets.

Unfortunately, this port of the Dreamcast version is not perfect. Thanks to the dedicated community that is SRK (, the list of glitches and bugs grows daily. Keep in mind that the original version is a complete glitch-fest and none of these items have been removed. I'm writing specifically about differences between the ports. Some are more harmless than other; a handful are especially nasty, like this one: Cable's Air Hyper Viper Beam cannot be jump blocked or blocked out of dash. Using the tiger-knee motion with his super is a trick that allows you to continually combo the super for 100+ hits. It's an assist killer and can easily turn a loss into a quick victory. This new glitch adds a layer of problems for those of us trying to run low tier or get around an especially difficult Cable/Sentinel/Commando team. Some bugs just plague the online experience, varying from complete game freezes to dropped connections.

Playing these old fighters brings back a lot of memories. The stale smell of the arcade where we used to feed quarters into the machine like we were Donald Trump, the small crowds packed around us late into weekend nights, the fear of losing and getting sent to the back of the line: nothing will replicate that experience, though online player rooms help. This is my favorite aspect of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on XBL/PSN. Up to six people can play, talk strategy, or just talk smack. For this reason alone, MvC2 is an instant purchase for fans and those looking for a completely balls-out fighter. For the hardcore, it looks like Dreamcast is still the defacto standard for tournament-level play, but hopefully we won't have to wait too long for an update to this five-star fighter wrapped in in a four-star port.

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