Since the introduction of Street Fighter IV, there seems to be a revival of fighting games along with a new generation of players. This was particularly exciting, because before Street Fighter IV there was absolutely no real interest in the genre and very little games were being made. Many were out of luck in this drought and anyone who still played then had to play the same games that were out during the 90s/early 2000s. These games became long time classics that has earned their place in history
Now there are new games being released everywhere, including King of Fighters XIII and Street Fighter X Tekken, to meet the positive response that Street Fighter IV had. It makes me wonder who would still be interested in these older classic games of the past. I have always held Capcom vs SNK 2 (CvS2) to be one of the greatest fighting games ever made before the drought of fighting games, but have had trouble getting interest across to the newer players.
There are many reasons why it is considered a classic and why I personally still play this game in spite of all the new games that are coming out.
Capcom vs SNK 2 has one of the most diverse and competitive character rosters of all time.
With 48 total characters, one might think that CvS2 is extremely hard to balance and it will fall into Marvel vs Capcom 2's trap where only the strongest survive. However this is a huge misconception, there are many diverse characters that you can choose that are competitive. In this game, High Tiers and many Mid Tiers stand a chance! There are over 20 characters that are not considered top tier and still see high level play. Need some proof?
**Note: All videos shown will start at the correct timestamp for your convenience !
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of players who would use Sagat, A – Bison, or Blanka. They are top tier and for a reason. But that by no means equate to other characters being useless like Mahvel. Many High-Tier characters are considered top tier as well among different respected players, and can compete with the best.
“Kim isn't even considered High Tier! But Leezy will show you otherwise.”
Add in the ability to have a team, and another layer of depth opens up to you. CvS2 doesn't have as intricate a team mechanic like Marvel, however that by no means make it any less important. Some characters are better off gaining meter than using it, and others are better using that said meter. King of Fighters players will be very familiar with this. This is even expanded upon with the Free Ratio system, allowing more freedom in order selection to find your team's synergy.
Having a well balanced team can help you to deal with different matchups as well. In other games, if one character has a bad matchup against another, for the entire fight you are pretty much stuck with that. The team element makes this much less an issue, and keeps players on their toes adapting to one character to the next!
This is a huge boon to me. Many times I can overcome situations and play a variety of characters because many of them are considered viable regardless of what the other person picks. There are many moments I sit on the character selection screen trying to pick a character that fits what I am feeling at the moment, and they can be played in so many different ways. This makes it a very unique experience with the amount of freedom I get.
Capcom vs SNK 2 rewards good play. Also did I mention it's diverse?
Many people who look at Street Fighter X Tekken compare its Gem System with CvS2's Groove System. In a way, I can see where they are coming at. CvS2 has 6 diverse Grooves which determines how your character is played, how they gain meter, and other properties. However, one crucial difference (and I mean crucial) is that although CvS2 gives you so many options, it is more player centric. It relies much more on the player to push out the maximum potential of the tools given to you, and I believe that makes the game much more rewarding.
In SFxT, you can easily activate the Gem requirements by playing normally, giving a free buff to your attack/defense/meter. Some gems even automatically block, tech throws, and simplify commands for you! The issue here is that everything about the Gem system is very “Passive” in nature, whereas in CvS2 the systems are much more “Active”. It is up to you to time that Parry so you get that frame advantage, it is up to you to break your Power Stock and land that super before time runs out, and it is up to you to manually charge up that meter so you can have that Alpha Counter when Sakura activates her deadly Custom Combo. Many things are given to you, but always come with an active challenge for the player to best utilize them.
The Groove system also has a much bigger strategical depth to it, as people will play and react differently to the same characters given their Groove choice. The entire Gem system is very straightforward in what it does, whereas the Groove systems are much more complex by design. For example, you get different frame advantages after a Just Defend compared to Parry or regularly blocking. There are new possibilities that open up to you when you get unlimited, but potentially vulnerable Level 1 Supers at low life. The aggressive rushdown of Geese in K Groove is replaced with footsies and defense when you decide to switch him to P Groove. The level of depth, playstyle, and adaptation is much more fundamentally deeper.
Thats not to say all Grooves are equal, some are clearly better than others. But even S Groove, which is believed to be the weakest Groove, is still competitive in the right hands. There are people that I have met personally, that play S Groove and do very well because it fits their playstyle. Don't let other people steer you! In the end, CvS2 lets you pick the style you are most comfortable with.
"Dr B fighting the good fight with S Groove against Daigo Umehara"
When you are able to do things like getting that clutch Parry into Super, or Roll Cancel my way out of a sticky situation to win with your own wits, it feels good. Its like I accomplished some incredible feat, and it feels really damn good. IT FEELS GOOD DANGIT!
Roll Canceling helps deepen the gameplay
I know exactly what everyone is thinking right now.
Lets get one thing straight here, Roll Canceling is a glitch, it allows you to have the invincibility of a roll and also perform a special move. This is a highly used glitch in competitive play and has been accepted by the community. So of course some would think that this is extremely cheap and broken.
“Lets Groove Tonight!”
Well yes and no. Its true that some special moves are extremely strong while roll canceled, and it is something not intended to be in the game. But RCing is something that is not easily done; it requires quite a bit of practice and execution to pull it off right. In fact, this opens up a huge layer of depth in the metagame.
For example, Lower-Tiered characters might actually be able to stand a chance now against certain matchups. Those without reliable anti-airs will have one, characters without a viable escape in a certain situations will gain one, and it also deepens the game in terms of what moves a character has that can combat another's when its RCed. RCing also gives a huge boon to character's footsie games. Having an invincible fireball to counter Sagat's mighty fist can be a valuable asset when playing a certain characters since it gives you the option of beating such an ungodly good poke.
Think of Ken's Kara Throw in Street Fighter III: Third Strike or in Street Fighter IV which gave Ken an extended grab. That came as a result of a glitch as well and helped expand Ken's aggressive game that much more. Except this glitch is not only limited to Ken, but to every character in the game. How about an answer to mindless dive kick spam when you don't have an uppercut? Or having a creative reversal in your arsenal when you are in trouble. Imagine the scope of that!
Of course, just because you did an RC doesn't mean you are not susceptible to having the fireball jumped over and getting kicked in the face when the invincibility runs out, or simply thrown out of your roll cancel because throws are the counter to a roll. There is always the chance you will mess up and eat everything head on too. Even with this glitch, you cannot just mindlessly use it. You can be easily baited and punished for doing an RC just as easily as you can get out of a sticky situation.
The idea is yet again, more options! There is a level of freedom and ways around every tactic instead of being forced to block some character's godly vortex. Such freedoms include having RC as an essential part of it, and the game just would not have this level of depth otherwise. Whether you win or lose, it never feels like the game cheated you because there is always an option, and its up to you to find it..
A key element that would be familiar to Street Fighter fans would be the heavy emphasis on footsies and spacing. The concepts of whiff punishing, using patterns to condition the opponent, and counter hit setups all apply here. Its hard to put into words, but watching Air's Ryu land that Ultra in this video, its not too unlike what Aoki is doing in the following video. Trust me that there will be a lot of footsies involved and playing one game can help you in the other.
As compared to...
Many normals in CvS2 give you great offensive and defensive capability with massive reach and frame advantage. In fact, there are very few one frame links in this game and many of them are not as essential to the mastering of a character as would Street Fighter IV.
Thats not to say its all about footsies! Throwing in King of Fighter's system mechanics really add to the game being more fast paced. With abilities such as (but not limited to!) Small Jump to provide a strong overhead attack and offense, rolling becoming an option to chase/crossup someone after a knockdown, and KoF's patented Run system in certain Grooves, the game is definitely much more aggressive as compared to the slower more deliberate pace of Street Fighter IV.
This unique fusion of footsies, defensive, and offensive options really shine in CvS2, and has not been yet replicated in other games.
"This is going to be a match to remember...!"
CvS2 is perhaps one of the most unique game of its kind. It mixes in elements of both Street Fighter and King of Fighters into something deep, varied, and special unto itself. It has such diversity in high level play that has not been rivaled in any other game thus far, sporting many viable characters and playstyles.
"When will CvS2 get its chance like the others?"
This is especially why I am perturbed by the lack of an Online Edition for this game. 3S, HDR, and even MvC2 has made it up to these current consoles for digital download, yet for some reason CvS2 has been quietly ignored. There are reasons Capcom has given us, like the game's difficulty hindering the newer generation of players. As if somehow MvC2 is less difficult. So not only do I vehemently disagree with this, but that alone should not stop a digital release across Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. At this moment, you can only play this offline at arcades or on the Playstation 2. This limits its competitive potential in today's market where netplay is almost essential. It is incredibly crucial to have this release with capable online play to spread that true love that we're makin, to the newer generation just as those other classic re-releases did.
While many people have moved onto newer games due to more competition, I have decided to stay with CvS2 as my main game due to the reasons I stated above. I feel this is one of the greatest games ever made that stood the test of time. I sincerely hope that those who came in after Street Fighter IV would look back on CvS2 and give it a chance as well. Because there is something about CvS2 that makes it have such a special, diverse, and unique spirit. It is that magic that will keep me playing this game for many more years to come.
“I know that ...you'll be baaaack....”
Special thanks goes out to Mr. Warzard, MaKa, and Dragooncore for helping me with this article. Also much much love to the IPW crew for helping us revive CvS2 back in NorCal!
If you are interested in the high level play of this game, remember to check out my Youtube Channel for high quality match videos, and strategy.