Demolitionist: Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (PS3)

I know, I know. The game’s damn near a decade old, what’s the use in going over a demo now? Well, for one thing, it serves as a warning, as well as showing off if Foundation 9 can pull off a port as good as Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD was. If we go by that criteria, then yeah, the game plays incredibly smooth– much closer to the Dreamcast version than the PS2 version– and the graphics are flawless.

But if this was intended to be a demo to showcase the game to folks who might not have played it before (I’m getting to this point, hold on), then it’s a poor showing and no doubt. The primary reason is because it’s a multiplayer-only demo. If you have only one controller, the demo is nigh on useless to you, as you’ll have to go online to find an opponent to match up against. And I doubt too many people are going to go online, because the character selection is too slim (Ryu, Chun-Li, Strider Hiryu, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Wolverine– most players use maybe one of these regularly, when you need to compose your team of three). Now I am not one to argue with “free”. Hell, I don’t even need the demo– I’ll probably be getting MVC2 on the 360 when it’s released later in the summer, partly because I freaking LOVE the FightPad, but mostly because I still haven’t burned through those MS points I won.

On that note… Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is one of those iconic games, one which it’s assumed everyone should play. However, it’s hard to find it in arcades much these days– I know of maybe one machine near me, and that’s in a theater at The Waterfront (aka The Mall Of No Return); further back than that, I only remember playing it at the Millcreek Mall arcade in Erie, in 2001— and the console releases are notoriously hard to come by. More than that, some gamers are just too young to have played it on the DC or in the arcades; idiomatically, they are “New Challengers!!”. New gamers and less-advanced gamers alike will want to dip their toes into the New Generation of Heroes, likely against an easy CPU opponent… which isn’t an option here. When it’s out on the 360, the mandatory demo there might offer some single-player action, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

One last thing. I can understand that some games are, primarily, multiplayer-oriented, and that a single-player demo is not going to be representative of the final product. For MVC2, not having a Vs. CPU mode is a detriment, but you’re still essentially playing the game as it’s presented for solo play. Bionic Commando’s demo, on the other hand, is a sorrowful, regrettable case of bait-and-switch: how many people are really going to be playing that one for the multiplayer? More than that, it’s plain to see that the multiplayer portion isn’t nearly as polished as the single-player campaign; I mean, come on, deathmatch? Can’t we come up with something cooler to use the arms for? If the multiplayer was at all representative of the single-player campaign, I’d be a lot more interested. Hell, I even said, just give us the tutorial stages on the arm’s use, let us get a feel for how the game’s going to control in “the real world”.

As it stands, if I had to go solely on the demos Capcom provided, I wouldn’t lay money down on either of these games. I’m going to on MVC2 because I know the core game is there, and it offers advantages over what I have now– namely, multiplayer and a game that works– but Bionic Commando lost a lot of steam with its demo. It’s probably a rental unless the reviews for the single-player are swathed in language reserved for Revelations-level frothing glee.

Demolitionist: Bionic Commando (360)

Spent a little time today with the multiplayer demo for Bionic Commando. It may seem like heresy that there’s a jump button, but it’s there for a reason: it makes sense that the character would not lose the use of his legs just because he has a zipline for a left arm, especially to get over knee-high obstacles. Otherwise, the demo is a fairly straightforward third-person shooter with some basic weaponry, the neat and initially-tricky bionic arm, and a camera that is sometimes less than helpful in its default state. I imagine that once you get a feel for the arm’s range and capabilities, as well as getting some practice in with how the arm actually works, it will become second nature; as it stands, though, a five-minute deathmatch without a practice arena makes the demo appear to be of questionable value. Maybe a short tutorial course would have been a better way to get people interested in the game? Overall this has jumped from barely-a-blip to rent-it-maybe on my list.

Pandering To The Captive Audience

I’m dead tired right now, folks, so I’ll make this quick; Capcom has dumped a ton of information on the gaming press today. The highlights include the aforementioned Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 coming sooner than “eventually”, the Miles Edgeworth game coming to NA later in the year; Fate/unlimited codes (the more “realistic” of the fighting games based on that series) actually getting a NA release (albeit on the “safer” digital download-only side); Spyborgs not only being not cancelled, but also looking halfway decent; oh, and there’s “two more” big titles to be announced at E3 (according to their twitter feed).

Resident Evil’s continued milking aside, I think we can say that this is not the Capcom we all grew up with. They sure as hell aren’t the Capcom that half-assed the translations of every Breath of Fire game before 4, and they most certainly aren’t afraid of poking fun at themselves.

Despite all the crap we have to deal with– fanbrats, lazy ports, “exclusive” games, regional lockouts, licensing issues, “ship, then debug”– this really is one of the best times to be a gamer. Mostly because of companies like Capcom, Atlus, NIS America, MMV America, XSeed, and (you have no idea how weird it is for me to name these ones) Nintendo, Microsoft, EA, and Square-Enix. These are the companies that get it.

Night, all.

Rollin’

I had a lot of errands to run today, and things wound up really, really nuts. However, news of the upcoming re-release of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 made some of the insanity worth dealing with. I can understand why some folks might be perplexed as to why this news excites me so; but, if I may be permitted a brief moment of self-centeredness: dude, you don’t even know. MVC2 practically defined the summer of 2001 for me and my roommates. I spent so much good time with that game, on the Dreamcast, that it’s not even funny. The PS2 version was… less than ideal, and the Xbox version suffered just as much– moreso, since it may or may not run properly on the 360. However, the announcement mentions online play, something missing from the previous ports, so it’s a safe bet that Capcom is going to do this one up right.

All things considered, though… I’m probably going to have to invest in a pair of decent fighting pads for the 360. I like the base controller, sure, but I’ve also complained at length about the d-pad. Between this, Puzzle Fighter, and SSF2THDROMGWTFBBQ, it’s kind of silly to think that I haven’t yet snagged even one of the Street Fighter controllers. Oh, right– because the damn things are impossible to find.

On Edge

As long as we’re talking about games that are awesome and I’m having a blast with, let’s plug Mirror’s Edge. I played the demo late last year, and finally managed to pick it up over the weekend thanks to some sales. Now, granted, it is short (or maybe it just feels that way to me) and, at first, it’s very much a trial-and-error thing. The controls are less than ideal at first– most of your work is going to be in your left hand, which is a bit unusual to say the least– but you get used to it quickly.

What really has me about the game, though, is the somewhat placid nature of the goals. Faith (the player character) isn’t equipped with a gun, and she’s not that great of a shot if she gets her hands on one, either. Evasion is prioritized far higher than combat, which suits me just fine. It can’t be considered a stealth game, either, because Faith is anything but inconspicuous against the bright, sterile backgrounds. Simply getting from point A to point B is the entirety of the game, and it works wonderfully. About the only thing I don’t like– and still didn’t like from the demo– is that Faith doesn’t care to reach out towards the vertical pipes if my aim is just slightly off of them. Let’s just say that I greatly prefer climbing up pipes than attempting to slide down them having a high-velocity moment of communion with the pavement.

Oh yeah, it probably doesn’t help that I have a mild fear of heights, and that whenever the compass tells me my next goal is across an impossibly-wide gap between buildings, I instinctively shout obscenities at the compass.

In Preparation

This coming Wednesday (or Tuesday, if you see the ocean at sunset) brings with it the release of Super Robot Taisen: Original Generations Saga: Endless Frontier: We Haven’t Got Nearly Enough Subtitles: So Here’s One More: Really Long Name. All kidding aside, this is the first SRT game I can really speak in an unbiased and open manner about, seeing how as Atlus paid me off to make a website for the last two.

It looks f%$@ing awesome and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little over-eager about it. In any event, it’s a departure for the English releases of the series as it’s both a traditional RPG (as opposed to the strategy games that the GBA versions were), and an actual crossover (it features at least one character from a non-Banpresto game, namely KOS-MOS). It’s because of this enthusiasm that I’m probably going to make it a point to take it on all in one go.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to dedicate myself entirely to one game, whether because I’ve been busy, or because the game hasn’t held my attention. The last one was Tales of Vesperia, which was fun for what it was, but since then I’ve had a bit of trouble focusing on one game at a time. I’ve been trying to work my way through Chrono Trigger, bit by bit, but even though I know it’s a new version, it’s difficult to stay enthusiastic about a game I more or less know forwards and back. I’ve picked at Okami and Mass Effect, and Pokemon Platinum is also “in progress”, but… Well, just compare how I’ve been doing this year compared to the past two years. It was a struggle just to get through Peggle (and even harder to put it down).

Aaaaaaaanyway. I’m hoping that SRT gets me in the mood to watch through Gundam Wing. We shall, as always, see.

Run With Us

You know, sometimes I remember bits and pieces of the past. Sometimes I have clear memories of something that was, at the time, completely mundane, to the point where its details could be fudged to anything. Usually, when that happens, it infuriates me when I can’t remember everything exactly… or, worse still, when the only way to get the memory off my mind is to replicate it– say, watching a television show that’s quite possibly as old as I am, disregarding that the odds are stupid excessively against me having seen it in the first place.

So if anyone does happen to know if a complete series box for The Raccoons exists, I would be mighty grateful.

An Observation

Sometimes, it’s not really some news that can make your day brighter… sometimes, it’s just having the time to look back at the immediate past, take stock of what’s happened, and realize that– in retrospect– things were never nearly as bad as they seemed at the time.