It's been a long time since I've properly played Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The last time I played it was a few months ago when me and a friend were in a CeX on our lunch break and they had the Dreamcast version all set up. Granted it was only for about 15 minutes, but before that time I can't even remember when I had last played it. Of course, when I picked up the XBLA version I was rustier than...well a rusty thing. I'd completely forgotten all of the moves and which characters I was best with. So I was essentially starting out from scratch.
Luckily, the game allows you to pick from any of the 52 characters from the start. This let me test out all the characters again to find my dream team, or at least a version of my previous dream team. For people unfamiliar with Marvel vs Capcom 2, which is quite unlikely, it was one of the reasons to own a Dreamcast. Combining characters from both the Marvel and Capcom universe, you could create a team of 3 fighters to face up against another team of 3 fighters. You can tag characters in, use your other characters to assist your current fighter, or even pull off a huge assist with all three of your characters, resulting in a lot of damage. As you can probably tell, with a possible total of six characters all pulling off insane moves on screen, it can get very hectic. So much in fact you have no idea what is going on, and by gosh is it a lot of fun!
Of course there are some differences from the original Dreamcast version. As I said before, all characters are unlocked from the start. This means there's no accumulating points in the training mode to spend on characters or alternate costumes. This is one addition which is missed quite a bit, because I used to enjoy perfecting characters in Training, gaining more points to earn more characters and then rinse and repeat this method. Of course, some people just used to leave their Dreamcast on over night to earn the points so I doubt those people miss this as much. This sort of defeats the purpose of the single player mode as well, which is pretty much your team against seven other teams, with no real reward at the end.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is really a multiplayer game first and foremost. This is by no means a bad thing; the experience of just hopping online with a bunch of friends or even complete strangers is enough to warrant the price point. This experience is only heightened by the fact in the many online games I've played with people from around the world I've only had one, count that just one, hiccup in terms of lag, in which the match skipped a little bit. And by hiccup I mean a tiny hiccup. The network connection on this game appears to be near flawless, so it is just like having the person in the room with you.
Having someone in the room to play with you is ideally the way to play. The beginner-friendly system even allows for your roomate who's never played a fighting game in their life to pick it up and start kicking ass. It is exceptionally easy to pull off combos thanks to this friendly system. Sure, the system has gotten some complaints from the hardcore fighting game players, but MvC2 is about fun.
The main flaw I can find with the game is that it feels a bit unbalanced. Characters like Sentinel and Magneto will destroy all other characters with relative ease if used correctly. But it's hard to complain about unbalancing in a game with 52 characters. These 52 characters do have a wide variety of play styles attached to them, which will suit any player. I tend to go for a mixture of speed, range and brute force; swapping between them throughout the match for best effect. MvC2 has a definite range in characters with well known characters such as Ryu, Wolverine and Cable to lesser known characters such as Marrow or Jin. There seriously is something here, whatever your play style may be. It is easily one of the best fighting rosters to have been released.
Now let's talk about the music. Please, please, please, please mute whilst playing this game. Even for a fighting game fan, such as myself, the MvC2 soundtrack always has been a step above the rest in terms of "What the hell is this noise?" factor. Imagine if hell became the sole provider of pop music and you'll have a pretty good idea how this soundtrack is. But then again, it only adds to the weirdness of having a small Lego-like robot fighting a giant one eyed monster with tentacles.
Let it be known that MvC2 is, and always will be in my eyes, one of the most beautiful fighting games ever devised. It has some of the most gorgeous sprites and sprite animations to ever appear on my TV screen. The graphical update in this version of MvC2 only accentuates this into one of the best looking fighting games after the Dreamcast version. Everything just looks so sharp and crisp and gorgeous. Even the animations alone look fantastic.
Anyone that loves Marvel, Capcom, fighting games or games in general needs to pick up this game. At around £12 it's much easier than having to dig around bargain bins or eBay to find a Dreamcast copy. For anyone who's never played a fighting game before, this is your gateway drug into the genre. To people who love fighting games, you will have already played the best fighting game ever made and, for nostalgia sake and the ability to play online, you need to buy this.