Tatsunoko VS Capcom's combat is tag-team based, and it plays out out in 2.5D - not too dissimilar to Street Fighter IV. Characters include from Capcom's side include Ryu, Chun-Li, Viewtiful Joe, Zero (Mega Man X) and Ultimate All Stars-exclusive newcomer Frank West of Dead Rising fame. The Tatsunoko side, though generally less well-known in the western world, contains the likes of Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Tekkaman and a new character or two that did not feature in the Japanese version, adding even more to a packed roster.
Gameplay is fast and furious with players unleashing a barrage of hyper-combos and specials which take up the whole screen to end the opponent. With two characters on each side, matches take a little longer (hence the obliteration of the 'round' system) - though they can be over in a flash if the player is unfocused. Like most fighters, the centrepiece is the Arcade mode, in which the player fights off against a multitude of tag-teams to get the final three-stage boss, unlocking extra characters and earning 'Zenny' to purchase items at the shop along the way. There is also Survival mode which is, as expected, initially easy and progressively becomes harder. Players fight through a barrage of enemies with a single health bar, trying to maintain as much energy as possible for the next round. Thankfully, characters that are switched out benefit from their rests, gaining a little health back when they're off-screen. If you have any worries about this game being too easy or shortlived, throw them out of the window - difficulty levels can be cranked sky high for an almost impossible challenge. Plus, when all is said, done and completed, the player can hurl themselves face first into the title's online mode.
Tatsunoko's visuals are impressive and almost on-par with Street Fighter IV. Character models are bright, colourful and sharp, and the screen-filling attacks have an impressive finesse about them. With up to four characters on screen at any one time (depending on the character), the gameplay remains consistently smooth, regardless of the amount of pain being dished out from all angles of the screen. The stages each match up to an in-game character and look extraordinary. When it comes down to it, they are all basically on a flat plane, but that is by no means a bad thing. Upsetting as it may seem, the Japanese version's slick cutscenes have been removed from the characters' arcade endings, instead replaced with stills. It's slightly annoying, but doesn't make the game any less great.
As far as 'proper' fighters go on the Wii there virtually are none to speak of, so with Tatsunoko VS Capcom arriving, it has a clean slate and a new audience to work with. To set this apart from fighters on other platforms, Tatsunoko shakes up the controls. Gone are independent buttons for punches, kicks and every variation in between. Instead they are replaced with light, medium and heavy attack buttons, which in turn makes for easier combo linking. There's also a button to call in your support for either a quick attack in the middle of a combo/special, or to switch to that character for good. Capcom have also included every control configuration that the Wii is capable of, from Wii Remote alone to GameCube to Classic Controller PRO. The controls for the standalone Wii Remote are simplistic enough for newer players to pick up easily and give even the most experienced players a bit of a hard time. The best configuration to use is probably the Classic Controller PRO due to its large and comfortable D-pad, which makes pulling off combos dream-like.
Overall, Tatsunoko VS Capcom is a very solid game that many players have been awaiting for a while, and rightly so. The action is fast and furious, with attacks flying left and right with blindingly bright specials which can melt the retinas and leave players on the receiving end gibbering. It's easy enough for newcomers and tough enough for veterans, with plenty of longevity through unlockable elements and online modes. Despite having very little competition to speak of on Wii, Capcom have not shied away from effort and have pulled out a near perfect multiplayer brawler. From the character roster to the amount of satisfaction of pulling off the combo that's been haggling you for the last four matches, it has it all. In all honesty, who needs Street Fighter IV when Tatsunoko VS Capcom could eat it for breakfast?
About that online...
As a special treat for the international edition of the game, Capcom have cooked up a rather robust Wi-Fi mode that doesn’t fail to impress. As with most Wi-Fi games, the Wi-Fi menu takes you to screens where you can view or add your friend codes, as well as allowing you to choose whether you prefer to play regionally or worldwide. Naturally, opting for more local battles will vastly improve the general quality of your online fights, but unlike past games on the system, lag is hardly ever a big problem. Connection can take a long time, and matches lack customisation - you can't set match length, for example - but these things hardly seem to matter when you can fight random players in near lag-free matches. A fun little feature is an option to add random players to a Rival Roster so that you can challenge them again in the future, too. Now all it needs is some form of in-game communication… - Joshua Jeffery