Does a port of one of the greatest fighting games ever made make an explosion, or get knocked out cold?
Long, long ago, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was regarded as one of, if not the greatest fighting games ever made. It brought a new level of speed, precision and intensity to arcade fighters that had not been seen before. The seamless switching between characters and calling your other fighters in for assists was something truly innovative. It brought deep combos and mind blowing special moves to the fighting genre in a way that made gamers rethink the way a fighter could be played.
Fast forward 12 years, and now we have Marvel vs. Capcom 2 available on iOS. It still features all the insane moves, cool characters and everything else that hardcore fans expect from MVC2, but sadly, it it also keeps everything else that was in MVC2. This is a straight port of the original game. As we have seen with so many games over the history of the App Store, a quick and dirty port to the iPhone never works well. It usually just leads to a borderline unplayable game with a bad control method and ugly visuals.
Thankfully, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is not unplayable, but it certainly is not what I would call a good game. The problem starts right from choosing your character. It uses the same tiny character icons from the original, which works fine when you are scrolling to your character, but on iOS, you need to tap them, and half the time it would miss who I was trying to select.
Once you select your character, it is time to choose one of the two available control methods. There are the easy controls, and the normal controls. Easy maps all of your special moves to the special button, while normal has a more traditional control scheme with more punch and kick buttons. No matter which method you choose, you will be disappointed. The controls are just clunky and inaccurate.
If you are using the easy control method, you will be holding the special button and sliding up, down, left and right to launch different moves. You will use this same method for bringing in your partners for assists and special moves. It just never felt like a comfortable control method, and frankly, is excessively slow for a game that demands the speed and precision of Marvel vs. Capcom.
With the normal method, you will still be sliding up and down on your teammates to call them in for assists and special moves; the difference is you can now choose which one you want to call upon. They also remove the easier button for doing special moves. I actually found it a little better this way, but it still was not particularly good.
Whether you choose the easy controls, or the normal controls, you can still use the options menu to tweak the locations of the buttons. This helps you find a comfortable place where you will not be getting in your own way. From that standpoint, the controls work, but there is sp many bad things about the controls that it is not enough to balance out.
MVC2 features a few different modes to keep you busy. There is the standard arcade mode, which is where you will spend most of your time. There is also the score attack mode, which allows you to try to beat your high scores earned throughout the game. They also have a training mode, where you can practice your moves. This is a great place to try to get somewhat of a handle on the bad controls, but training can only help so much.
They also included multiplayer over Bluetooth. You and a friend can synchronize your devices together and battle it out just like you used to do at the arcades back in the day. This is by far the most fun way to play Marvel vs. Capcom 2, just because you will both be dealing with the same frustrating control problems, and at least the fight will be fair, albeit it a much slower pace than you are accustomed to if you played a lot of MVC2 back in the day.
This game looks like it was made in the year 2000 (because it was). The port job did not really improve the visuals at all, and while it’s hard to fault them for that since it is literally just the original game on the iPhone, it still would have been nice to see them clean things up a little bit.
The sound in the game is the one redeeming quality. It sounds exactly as it did back in the day, and that is a good thing. It uses all the same songs from the old game, and some of them were among my favorite songs in video games. The fighting sounds good, and the game just has overall good sound design.
In the end, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 just feels like a lazy port, because that is exactly what it is. It seems as though Capcom was just trying to cash in on the hype behind the franchise, which is disappointing because they did such a good job adopting Street Fighter to iPhone. There are plenty of better fighting games available on iOS, and honestly, this one just is not worth your time or money.
Marver vs. Capcom 2 is available now as a universal app. Get it on the App Store.