Have you ever wanted to reach out and whoop someone’s ass from the comfort of your own living room? If there is one thing that fighting games have lacked in recent memory it is the ability to play them online. Being the one genre of games that almost screams for online play, besides perhaps racing games, fighters have been left in the cold. Now that Microsoft has established the best possible online arena for console gaming Capcom has decided to grace us with the first online fighting game for XBox Live. Capcom Vs. SNK 2 EO will be a landmark for years to come and a building block for the online fighting game community. Being able to challenge the best from the US and Japan is something fighting purists like myself have waited a long time for and now we have the chance to finally prove who is the best of the best. Enough of my ass kissing and boasting let me fill you in on why this game should be enjoyed by all!
2D Or Not 2D, That Is The Question
Living in a world dominated by the polygon it is rare to see a game that still uses sprites these days. Most genres have long forgotten the ancient art of hand drawn animation. Sure Capcom Vs. SNK 2 isn’t the best looking 2D game on the market but it does look damn impressive. The animation quality is incredible and the backgrounds, while made up of some polygons, are so well animated that you can’t help but appreciate them. The characters could certainly benefit from an upgrade, take for example Guilty Gear X2, but none the less still look good. Those questioning the Xbox’s ability to render a 2D game need to look no further as this game is void of slowdown. The only thing I can think of that is annoying is the load time between character changes, it seems a bit long for a system that is almost devoid of load times.
The Hills Are Alive With The Sounds Of Ass Kicking
In my opinion Capcom seriously needs a new set of sound samples for it’s games. It seems we have been hearing the same hadoken and shinryuken effects for years on end. THe character voices while excellent in presentation seem to be losing their effect. I think a whole new set of grunts and groans could bode well for the series but as it stands it will suffice. Now don’t get me wrong I love Capcom’s music but for some reason this game just doesn’t fit together. The music can go from being mildly entertaining to downright annoying. Some of the songs would fit better in a love scene than a fighting game, and the rap tracks seriously need to go. What happened to my jazzy funk from MvC2..”Gonna take me for a ride..” Yeah now that is some fighting game music. One note to Capcom, allow me to use custom soundtracks, it will go a long way into the personalization of fighting games.
Quarter Circle Back Heavy Punch!
OK if you have never played a Capcom fighter then you should seriously quit playing games. The motions are almost historical, the ability to use a dragon punch is almost the same as stomping a gomba in Mario, everyone has done it. Capcom Vs. SNK 2 has a few added tweaks that add flavor. For the under-educated I will explain, you now have a choice of six different grooves from the Capcom and SNK universe. Each groove has different abilities such as air blocking, dash attacks, and recoveries. They also decide how you power up your special meter. For instance in the Capcom groove it is the traditional SF style where landing attacks builds a 3-level gauge. Once fully powered your super combo unleashes more damage when executed. Some super combos can only be performed at level 3 such as Akuma’s Instant Hell Murder. Other grooves require you to charge up your super combos a la Dragon Ball Z style. Holding down two buttons to charge before unleashing a a barrage combo is the essence of the N groove. All of this in conjunction to each character’s style of moves makes for a deep game that will take months to master.
The universe of Capcom Vs. SNK 2 is filled with 44 characters from each universe. Everyone from Kyo to Morrigan this game has plenty for everyone. Newbies can enjoy it just as much as pros as long as a pro isn’t whooping your ass over and over (sorry Gambus haha). Being a console fighter the traditional modes are present, Training, Arcade, Vs., and Survival. The cooler features include Color Edit and Network Mode. Color Edit allows you to customize your character such as hair color, outfit color, and even their name. What makes this even cooler is that you can take your custom character online to make yourself stand out amongst the crowd. Simply put this game is chock full of shit to do and you will certainly find plenty to keep you occupied.
Smack Talking 101
Now to get to what makes this game stand out from it’s previous versions…Online Play. Xbox Live has given gamers a chance to take almost any type of console game online with flawless results. Voice chat and ranking systems make the overall experience so much better, and utilizing broadband only services make the ride smooth. CvS2 is no exception, the ranking system is awesome for starters. You can check weekly, monthly, and total rankings as well as your friends’ list rankings to see how well your buddies fare online. You can also see the rankings of the players in Japan (which as of this writing there were only 3 US players in the top 100, c’mon guys where are the masters!) and even play them if you so wish to have you ass handed to you. Setting up a match is cake, you can choose any style you want including eliminating the cheap EO mode which allows newbies to perform super combos with the tap of the right analog stick. You can also take your custom characters online for some custom ass kicking. Now for the downsides, the loading online can interfere with the fast paced action. Sometimes the game will load a bit too long in between fights. Another gripe is the lag can sometimes be a pain in the ass causing you to time a move badly or take a hit you shouldn’t have, but overall it isn’t that bad. With so little to complain about I have to say I was deeply impressed at how well it ran online.
With online play and tons of single player action Capcom Vs. SNK 2 EO for the XBox has just about everything going for it. Tweaking the online game and perhaps upgrading to 64 bit sprites would go a long way but for now this is 2D perfection. Finally we as console gamers have the ability to take our frustrations out online with a community of fighting game fanatics and that my friends is the future of gaming. Let us hope that when Capcom releases MvC2 next month it will feature online play and let’s hope other developers take a nod from Capcom and make their fighters online capable. For now I will see you in the online gaming arena for the best round of fighting available. Highly Recommended!