It has been nine years since the initial release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. In the ensuing decade, fans have clamored, begged, and probably prayed for a sequel. Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet, but Capcom has re-released the game on current-gen consoles, complete with HD visuals, wide-screen presentation, unlockable Trophies and Achievements, and, most importantly, online play.
Since the re-release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a port, there aren’t any new controls to speak of. Since it’s a port of the Dreamcast version of the game, the controls that are there work perfectly. This version is every bit as responsive as the arcade release was, and the fights still take place at a feverish pace. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was never the most particular game when it came to performing special moves, and this release is just as mercifully forgiving. Pretty much every attempt at a fireball motion will register in the game, unlike 2D fighting games that demand more precise motions, like Guilty Gear or King of Fighters, where you have to be perfect every time. This leads to a more inclusive game experience that’s enjoyable for nimble-fingered experts and button-mashing rookies alike.
Sadly, MvC2’s huge roster of characters prevented Capcom from doing an “HD Remix”-style graphical overhaul. Instead, we get the same sprites as before, and while they definitely look dated, they still animate well and look good in a nostalgic way. Capcom did improve the visual presentation in two ways, though. First off, every background is rendered in full 3D, as always, but now they’re presented in full 1080p, making the already wacky arenas even more dynamic and lively. Optional anisotropic filtering gives a noticeable bump to the character sprites, and while it doesn’t make it look quite like a modern fighting game, it might be the second best-looking Capcom 2D fighter, behind Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
Unlike the original game, this new version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 starts players off with every character, costume, and arena unlocked at the outset. This avoids the somewhat tedious level grinding required to access all the game’s content, but also makes the single-player game feel a bit empty. There are Achievements and Trophies to unlock playing alone, but after those few are reached, there’s little to draw you back into the story-less single player mode. Of course, you can always play a friend on your couch, and that’s as satisfying as ever. For the first time, there’s now online play, and it’s easily the best feature of this re-release. Matches are quick and lag-free, and are just as addictive as you’d expect them to be. Matchmaking feels a bit archaic, but once you’re in a room, it’s smooth sailing.
For fans of the original game, this is easily the best version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The improved visuals help make it feel like a 2-year-old game instead of a 9-year-old game, the online play is phenomenal, and the price ($15) an excellent value for a game that costs at least $90 for a used Dreamcast copy. It’s a shame that Capcom didn’t make changes to the notoriously bad soundtrack, or do a bit of character balancing (I’m looking at you, Iceman), but these are minor flaws in an otherwise excellent package. I recommend a purchase for two reasons: it’s an excellent game, and if it sells well, our chances of seeing Marvel vs. Capcom 3 only get better.