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Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Nintendo Wii) Review
Review by 
8.77/10 from 18 user ratings
 

Capcom are the masters of uniting different franchises into their fighting games, sometimes outside their own series, including the ever popular Marvel vs. Capcom lineage. In the case of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, characters and settings from a variety of Japanese animated series (from animation company Tatsunoko) are brought together to test their skills against Capcom's renowned fighters. Does Ken the Eagle have what it takes to take on Ryu? Will Jun the Swan overcome Chun-Li's fantastic lightning kicks emanating from those muscular thighs?

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a 2D fighting game where you begin a fighting match by selecting two characters. Though most of the time you will be fighting one-on-one, you can swap between your two characters throughout the match, or occasionally team the two characters up for a combined attack. The game smartly limits the amount of allowed switching to prevent spamming the partner button.


Capcom has a long history of integrating deep fighting mechanics, and although I'm not an expert on their entire fighting game library, the depth of the battle system in this game is fairly deep. Unlike some of Capcom's other fighting games, this game features no distinct buttons for punch and kick, but rather all attacks are performed using Light, Medium, and Strong. Most characters can perform special moves and Hyper Combos (HC) using the most common of fighting motions, like the down-forward Hadoken motion, the right-down-diagonal Dragon Punch motion, reverse motions, and charge motions (hold back, press forward).

For the advanced player, there's quite a lot of gameplay intricacies for you to master, easily ensuring you get many hours of gameplay: just to get you started, there's: Delayed Hyper Combos, Air Combos, Advancing Guard, Baroque Combos, Cross-Over Air Raids. These terms may not mean much to the casual player, even after a few hours of training, but the deeper you get into the game and strive to keep up with the experienced players, the more necessary these skills will be. Some of the concepts are explained in the manual but only at the basic level. I found myself referencing detailed strategy guides just to help get my skills to a decent level. Even when you know what you are supposed to do, the difficulty lies in memorization and pressing the motions correctly and consistently. I felt the game responded very well using Classic Controller, and though there are other options (including Wii remote-only, remote and nunchuk, Classic controller, and GCN controller), it seems most natural to use this configuration (besides splurging on an expensive arcade stick).

I'm a bit disappointed with the in-game training. While it does offer many useful features that have become standard fare for fighting games (like seeing your button inputs, checking your command list, and so on), anything beyond learning special moves and Hyper Combos is not demonstrated or taught. The instruction manual mentions some of these techniques, but for novices like myself, I had to resort to online guides to start learning the correct methods. As an added bonus though, you can bring up a command list at any time during a fight, not just during training, and easily scroll through all your moves in real-time while you fight.

As a novice, my approach has been to first familiarize myself with my move set in order to remember the inputs that result in the moves available to that character, then start learning to string combos together from there. Add in the partner system, and these combos can become quite complex, but it's the only path to standing a chance against tougher A.I. and especially against human opponents. The partner system creates a truly delightful mix in gameplay and makes every fight quite unpredictable. Adding to the complexity is the focus on both ground and air based combat resulting in very dynamic scenarios. I've been caught in a long combo and there's nothing to do but hope the thrashing will end soon. The game does feature a useful combo breaker called Mega Crash that comes at the cost of your HC meter (plus some life gauge). It can't be abused and is instead integrated fairly well with balancing the strategy of using the HC meter wisely.

Seeing someone play this skillfully makes me ashamed of my own skills. Ashamed!

The choice of characters pulled from the Capcom and Tatsunoko universes is bound to disappoint at least some fans. With a grand total of 26 characters (including all unlockable characters), I would not say there is an insufficient selection. The diverse character selection ensures that each character and combination of partners always results in using very different fighting styles. Some characters, like Karas, are very technical but can dish out damage, while others, like Doronjo, have unique movesets (she fights primarily summoning her two assistants). You have humor such as the character Roll (from Mega Man) whose short stature results in some combos simply not landing on her. From the Capcom side, there are several characters from games that either have not appeared on Nintendo systems or are more closely associated with a series on another system, despite this game being a Wii exclusive. Perhaps Capcom had to save some of the fan favorites for their other 'vs. Capcom' fighting games.


Then there's the Tatsunoko characters, which most American gamers will likely not recognize. Still, without even knowing much about the characters' back stories or origins, Capcom did a great job of giving each of them their own personality within the confines of a fighting game: the way they walk (or strut) on the stage, their facial expressions, their behaviors and taunts. When they confront the Capcom characters, they do not feel out place and are integrated rather well in exciting battles. I was hoping the character gallery would at least have a small explanation on each of the characters, but all you can really do in the gallery is view the character image, hear their voice samples, and see their ending cutscene images. I would have enjoyed a small blurb section in there somewhere with extra tidbits about the animated shows.

The game's presentation is not bad, but for a game focusing an entire half of its lineup to Japanese animation, I would have loved to see more animated cutscenes, period. Watching a few still images for a character's ending along with some short text dialogue is not too exciting. This is probably an unfortunate result of licensing issues, since the original Japanese version did feature individualized ending movies. Also, every character, except Frank West, speaks Japanese, with no option to hear English voices, so you're left guessing what the characters are saying during the fight. This could be either a good or bad decision, depending on whether using American voices would have butchered the characters' personalities. I don't mind all the Japanese at all! Aside from those issues, the outlandish Hyper Combo animations are fantastic. Most of the time they are so ridiculous it's funny. My guess is some of the Tatsunoko characters' Hyper Combos are faithful to their origins.


Fighting games lend themselves well to high replay value, and this game is no exception. The online mode allows for some fun competitiveness; you can play ranked battles to increase your position based on number of wins, with leaderboards charting your progress. Also, completely unrelated to the core fighting game, there's an unlockable shooter-type of mini-game called Ultimate All-Shooters (up to 4 players can join in) where you control one of four characters (Ken the Eagle, Ryu, Tekkaman Blade, or PTX-40A) in an overhead view as you make your way across fields of spawning enemies, but it's not exactly engaging. Still, it's an extra feature that you can completely ignore if you so desire. In just about every mode you play (including the shooter), you are constantly earning money (the famous Capcom currency 'Zenny'), allowing you to purchase new character colors, images, and videos to view in the Gallery, and more. I was even able to earn Zenny after quitting out of Survival Mode.

You have a basic Arcade Mode where you engage in a series of fights before fighting the final boss (a character you cannot unlock in the game). There's also Time Attack and Survival mode. Survival is interesting and can draw out for a long time; you simply fight battle after battle until you lose, (recovering some health in between fights). One disappointing aspect of unlocking everything is that you have to beat Arcade mode too many times in order to get all the characters, and there's no way around it. It would have been great if you could unlock all the characters by other means, like playing online. The process becomes long and tedious, and the final boss of Arcade Mode is a cheap enemy who sometimes will prevent you from moving as he constantly spams the same attacks consecutively without pause.

The game looks good but the 3D character models are not too complex or particularly impressive. This is especially evident during some of the extended Hyper Combo sequences where the camera zooms in on a character. Some of these models are a bitů ugly, yet I do appreciate the cel-shaded look they went for. The music in the game is somewhat mediocre and generic; nothing really stands out. There are a couple of tracks that are fun and energetic, such as the level music on Orbital Ring Systems Cargo Bay and Gesellschaft (storm) (starts out weak but kicks off nicely after 35 sec), but for the most part the music doesn't have the same impact as did something like Street Fighter II music. Again, these changes were probably made due to licensing issues, since the original Japanese version featured theme music from the Tatsunoko side.

A good fighting game like this one becomes a very fast game of strategy where you learn when to take risks and anticipate the next move with hyper fast reflexes. With enough time and experience, your actions become second nature and using specific moves become all the more useful than just straight-up button mashing. If you're a 2D fighting game fan, you owe it to yourself to play this game, as it stands as one of the best of its kind on the Wii. It's not everyday that a Japanese focused game like this ends up localized for the western market. You may find that landing a Hyper Combo that dishes out several billion damage is quite satisfying indeed.

A Negative World review by
Eric Lopez

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Posted: 03/12/12, 02:18:40  - Edited by 
 on: 03/14/12, 05:20:06    
 
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inb4gamedadgrant

This review made me want to play this game for more than 20 minutes, which I've never done before. Also the graphics look really nice, dang.


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 04:15:28
@GelatinousEncore

Curses. You did beat me to the punch.

This game is amazing, and this is a nice review. Overall score should've been higher, IMO.

I did find this part kinda odd:

roykoopa64 said:
From the Capcom side, unfortunately many of the characters are from games that have not appeared on Nintendo consoles despite this game being a Wii exclusive.

Out of the 13 Capcom characters, only 5 of them have never been seen on a Nintendo console. That's less than half the cast... I'd say most of the Capcom team are from games on Nintendo's systems. *shrugs*


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 04:53:49  - Edited by 
 on: 03/12/12, 05:02:57
I've considered getting this game on the cheap since it sounded like it could be a more simplified fighting game, but it's looking like it's still too complex for me.


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 05:01:30
GameDadGrant said:

This game is amazing, and this is a nice review. Overall score should've been higher, IMO.

Thanks!
You haven't rated the game yet in the database, so feel free to do so.

GameDadGrant said:


Out of the 13 Capcom characters, only 5 of them have never been seen on a Nintendo console. That's less than half the cast... I'd say most of the Capcom team are from games on Nintendo's systems. *shrugs*

Yeah, I think the 5 you are talking about are: Alex, Batsu, Kaijin no Soki, Saki, and PTX-40A? Correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, some of the characters who did appear on Nintendo systems were in ports or are part of a series that was fully realized on the other systems. Volnutt was in Mega Man 64, but the Legends series had its sequel on PS1. The Wii got Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, but as I recall, it wasn't near as good as the original, and the Wii also didn't get the sequel.

But you have a point about the validity of my statement, and it now reads: 'From the Capcom side, there are several characters from games that either have not appeared on Nintendo systems or are more closely associated with a series on another system, despite this game being a Wii exclusive.'

@Mop it up

I didn't mean to throw in too much of the technical stuff in the review, except to emphasize that this game does have deep mechanics for those dedicated individuals who want to compete with the best of them. You can have fun playing the game playing with just the basics (I know I did!).


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 06:53:35  - Edited by 
 on: 03/12/12, 06:54:33
I had no idea Tekkaman was this huge thing in Japan, all I knew was that it was a short-lived show on TV in America that I LOVED. So imagine my surprise when I was flipping through Nintendo Power and say Technoman was going to be in a game! MUST HAVE.


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 07:15:09
Great Review! Yatterman & Karras for the win.


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 07:22:30
One of the best fighters I've ever played. Just a ton of fun to play.

The only character I dislike is Mega Man Volnutt. Stupid not Mega Man.


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 08:04:48
@roykoopa64

Cool man.

Also, I could have sworn I rated TvC before... hrm. Well, I'll fix that now.


Posted by 
 on: 03/12/12, 18:16:56
I actually had fun with this game. It looks complicated at first to do combos, but once you get the hang of it, you'll totally enjoy it.

@GameDadGrant

I saw your online match with Roykoopa; you were awesome. You absolutely know all the moves of every character you selected!

Tekkaman and Yatterman are two of my favorites.


Posted by 
 on: 03/14/12, 01:55:09
YAY!

Best fighter IMO for Wii. Brawl is great..but this game, like SCII (NOT STARCRAFT) for GCN, just has that extra 'pow' to it that makes me keep playing it even to this day.

Grant and I are way overdue to battle. Which reminds me:

Check the official friend code thread

S


Posted by 
 on: 03/14/12, 02:39:29
@Snorlax

Thanks! It's scary, but if you thought my playing was good, the real HARDCORE players online make me look like a noob.


Posted by 
 on: 03/14/12, 04:38:08
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