It’s So Good It’s Spooky
Darkstalkers Resurrection is cut from the same cloth that all of the other Capcom fighting game re-releases are cut from. It doesn’t update the mechanics of its games (Darkstalkers 2 and 3) in any way shape or form. Instead, it updates just about everything else, from art to achievements, and lets the games speak for themselves. Heck, it’s even done by the same studio, Iron Galaxy, that brought us the incredibly well-received Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition.
As a result, there’s not a whole lot to discuss here. We all basically know what’s in store for us in terms of gameplay. If you liked the original Darkstalkers series, then you will absolutely love this updated version. If you didn’t, then there isn’t anything new or revolutionary here that will change your mind. Darkstalkers Resurrection isn’t anything more than a love letter to currently existing Darkstalkers fans, a beautifully written and masterfully crafted love letter that makes us all remember why we fell in love with the series in the first place.
Of course, no Capcom fighting game remake would be complete without a host of new graphical options, and those are all present. You can apply all sorts of filters, making the game look as smoothed over or pixelated as you like. You can stretch the game to fit widescreen TVs, or you can keep the game bordered at its standard 4:3 ratio.
However, none of these graphical options is the coolest thing that Darkstalkers Resurrection has to offer. That honor goes to the “over-the-shoulder” view, which pretty accurately simulates standing over the shoulder of an old pro at your local arcade, waiting for your turn to play. Of course, you never had to actually play from this perspective in the old days, so it’s a little weird to control. You’re not likely to use this option much outside of playing around with your friends. Still, it’s an amazing piece of nostalgia that satisfies old arcade regulars like me.
All the same bells and whistles that were present in Third Strike Online Edition are here as well. For example, the game has a full list of achievements and challenges that can be set to scroll up the margins of the screen as you complete them. The points you earn by completing these challenges can then be used on a number of mostly aesthetic unlockables that your standard superfan would appreciate.
A fully fleshed-out tutorial has also been integrated into Darkstalkers Resurrection, and it’s one of the better tutorials that we have seen in a fighting game remake. Granted, it’s essentially just a trial mode and there are only five trials per character, but for once the trials aren’t just a Simon Says combo simulator. Instead, these trials actually teach you the utility behind each character’s best moves. Some of these trials get difficult fairly quickly, and that is sure to anger some of the newbies who have never touched Darkstalkers before, but biting your tongue and sticking it through will make you a far better player.
It’s impossible to talk about re-releases like this one without discussing the inevitable inclusion of online mode, and Darkstalkers Resurrection’s is one of the best. The game’s online modes take full advantage of the GGPO networking library, the best online library for fighting games out there. The majority of matches go off without a hitch. You can easily play matches across the country without perceiving a hint of lag. Problems only start showing up when you decide to take on opponents from the other side of the planet.
Ressurection’s implementation of online multiplayer is far better than even Third Strike Online’s. You can now filter matches both by region and by ping, making sure you only get the best connections possible. You can create eight-player online lobbies that allow you to set your own rules for the game, including straight out banning characters that you just don’t want to deal with. If you are a fan of online-only tournaments, which have become all the rage in the fighting game community in recent days, you can run one using the game’s online tournament mode. Finally, if you feel the need to show off your Darkstalkers prowess to the world, you can upload your match replays directly to YouTube from the in-game interface.
Of course, not everyone has played the series before, so allow me to give you a quick rundown: Darkstalkers is kind of an intermediary game between the slow technical combat of Street Fighter and the fast and frantic combat of the vs. series. In fact, many staples of the vs. series, like Morrigan and Felicia, came from Darkstalkers first.
The franchise introduced several mechanics that we now consider to be fairly standard in other fighting games. For example, Darkstalkers was one of the first games to introduce the Magic Series, i.e. the ability to combo from weaker attacks into stronger attacks. It was also one of the first games to introduce OTGs or “on the ground” attacks, though they did so with specific pursuit-style attacks in every character’s arsenal. The Dark Force mechanic is essentially a type of “proto-install” allowing your characters to go into a super mode by burning meter. It’s a delight to play the games that so many of these mechanics came from.
Supposedly, Capcom was split up on its decision to remake either Night Warriors (Darkstalkers 2) or Darkstalkers 3, so they just decided to remake both games. You can choose to play either one, much as you could choose between Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom in Marvel vs. Capcom Origins. To be completely honest, you will likely be playing Darkstalkers 3 most of the time. It’s the game that feels more “complete” of the two and is certainly the game that more people are playing. Heck, Capcom itself is even producing tutorials for the game, and it was Darkstalkers 3 that was more prominently featured in Resurrection’s launch trailer.
As I said before, we all know exactly what Darkstalkers Resurrection has to offer. If you enjoyed Darkstalkers in the past, you will absolutely love Resurrection. If you didn’t, Resurrection isn’t going to convert you. And if you never played Darkstalkers in the past, what’s the matter with you? Sign on to PSN or XBLA and get this game. You owe it to yourself to experience one of the most important titles in fighting game history.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.9 Graphics
I’d like to give the graphics a higher score, but they are still just filters for PSOne-era graphics. 4.1 Control
The controls were awesome back then and are still awesome now. 3.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
I wish Iron Galaxy would have done more with the audio, but it’s still quite enjoyable. 4.7 Play Value
The Darkstalkers franchise should be played by every fighting game fan. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best