Tatsunoko vs Capcom is my favorite modern fighter, just barely edging out King of Fighters XII. While both are great games, TvC just seems bigger. The fighting is faster and even more distant to reality, which is a good thing. If I wanted to play a realistic fighter, I'd take up martial arts or get into a fistfight.
The beauty of TvC is in its simple yet complex approach. Almost anyone can pick up a controller and instantly execute simple combos that look really cool. For the more advanced player, there is a ton of depth. For instance, any move can be canceled into another move, even if it's not blocked. This creates an extremely flexible engine. Almost every mechanic in the game si like that. It's extremely deep and flexible, allowing the player to enjoy the game at almost any skill level.
The two elements in the system that I love most are the advancing guard and the megacrash. Advancing guard reduces chips damage when the guarding player presses all three attack buttons while blocking. Other than reducing some chip damage, it pushes the attacking player away, giving the defender more room to work with. One of the things I really hate about fighters is the rampant common combos that players use. There are usually a few combos that work well and people constantly use them. TvC's answer to this is the megacrash. If you make a mistake and get caught in a combo, you can megacrash out of it. The cost of performing the crash is two super meter stocks and some life. That's not too bad when you consider how much damage you might have accumulated otherwise. The megacrash can also be used to extend your own combos. And, finally, throws. The one button throw is back. I love one button throws as they are easier to perform and encourage the game to maintain a fast pace. Turtling will get you thrown and possibly open you up to a free combo.
The pace of TvC is fast; not insanely fast, but faster than SFIV. If you prefer your fighters aggressive and quick, TvC is the way to go.
I've only had the game for 24 hours and have only played about 8 online matches but I've been happy with the performance. My first few matches were laggy but then everything smoothed out nicely. (GGs to Ryan.) If you can, buy a LAN adapter for your Wii and DMZ it to ensure better online performance. The online interface is decent, about on par with SFIV - 2 player rooms only, ranked matches, friendly matches, rival and friend lists. I do find myself missing the PSN notification when I play but that's a minor problem.
Every time I read someone complaining that they don't know who Tatsunoko is, I cringe. Does it matter? How many people knew the entire cast of Marvel vs Capcom 2 or CvS2 when they started playing it? The important thing is that the roster is quite varied. Each character is unique and brings something to the team, whether it's more speed, more damage, tricks or a kick ass assist. The Capcom side features characters almost as obscure as the Tatsunoko side and that's beautiful. So far, I've only found a few characters that I dislike, which is odd. Usually, there are very few characters in a game that appeal to me. TvC happily changes that.
It's hard to tell how balanced a game is until it's been out for years, but this game feels very balanced at the moment. Surely, it feels more balanced than SFIV does.
In 2008, I named TvC my fighter of the year. From the looks of it, it will win that same honor this year. It's beautiful, fast and aggressive; one of the best fighters I've played. It discourages turtling defense and encourages players to get in and tear apart the opponent. I like that in fighters. The only bad thing I can say about the game is the unlocking method. I don't like unlocking characters in fighters. Getting the 5 new characters is thankfully easy but unlocking Ultimate All Shooters is really pissing me off.
In the end, TvC is an incredible game and one everyone should play. It's damn near perfect.
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