Marvel vs. Capcom Origins Xbox 360 Review

If you grew up in the years of arcades, chances are you spent a few quarters on a Marvel Vs “something” game. Whether it was one of the many spin-offs or a numbered entry in the series, MVC has always been a haven for fighters who enjoy frantic action alongside a roster packed to the brim with characters. Now we get two of those games – Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Vs. Capcom – bundled together, and the result makes me glad these games haven’t been lost to Father Time.

First and foremost – these are not graphical updates of classic Marvel games. You’re getting the same games as you would have ten years ago, but with the standard (awesome) privileges of a new console generation. You’ll see classic graphics, but these games are not about graphics. Gameplay rules here.

It seems that Capcom’s goal in resuscitating these two games was to reproduce the feeling you once experienced in an arcade years ago, and the company has largely succeeded. The gameplay remains exactly as you remember it, which is both a blessing and a curse. For instance, apart from Dark Souls, few games in the past few years have made me as nervous and tense as Marvel Vs Capcom. The gameplay’s completely frenetic, and the character rosters remain as unbalanced as when the game was originally released. Some characters – in the hands of even an intermediate player – become untouchable, while others (here’s looking at you, War Machine) are just plain horrendous without a master player controlling them. 

Some of the most unique changes to the games come through the “arcade” viewing modes. The developers behind Marvel Vs Capcom Origins have designed a number of views that give you grainy, but completely nostalgic, views where your viewpoint is presented through a tilted and granulated screen. Yeah, it’s as great as it sounds, even if it does lose its novelty when you’re trodding through a particularly difficult match. While you’ll probably stick with one particular viewing mode for the game, it’s nonetheless impressive to see how far Capcom went in redesigning this classic series. Granted, the camera angles really have no purpose other than nostalgia, but they’re still fun.

As is is the trend with many remakes and re-releases, both Marvel Vs. Capcom and Marvel Super Heroes have been complemented with game-specific tasks (you know, like trophies, but less flashy). You can complete these tasks to earn what are known as Vault Points, which are redeemable for items that enhance the game’s replayability. Obviously, you have the standard character bonuses like different outfits and cutscenes, but you also have less obvious bonuses – numerous secret characters and steps that unlock certain character’s secret endings. Completely unnecessary, but for games that are quite old and show their age, these bonuses show that MVC Origins was a labor of love for the Capcom team.

Beyond the unlockable Vault items, the online component of these games promises to be the reason most players purchase and play. Though you can’t truly replicate the feeling of playing with onlookers and challengers surrounding you in an arcade, MVC Origins is both better and smoother than the recent online component we saw in Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online. Just to be safe, I tried multiple matches online to make sure lag wouldn’t creep in (it didn’t) and that I wouldn’t play multiple matches against the same user because no one else was online (I didn’t). I’m over 50 matches in online play, and it’s only getting better with each playthrough. I would like the option – like in many modern fighters – to fully customize my character with crazy outfits, but I’m probably expecting a bit much there.

Ultimately, MVC Origins comes the closest I’ve seen yet to recreating that arcade feeling you know and love. After playing these games, don’t be surprised if you start demanding your opponent’s quarters because of how badly you just beat him. There might be other games that copy the speed-based fighter formula, but few have ever and may ever copy this great blend of characters, enjoyment, and playability.

I typically don’t play fighters, but when I do, I choose MVC Origins. Stay crazy, my friends.

8 out of 10
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