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.