[Editors Note: This review comes courtesy of Jimmy Blocksom (@djtyrant). Friend to Nerdbastards. Prestigious gamer. All around classy guy. He gives us in-depth look at one of this years hottest titles. And, does it with a level of panache that is far and above our daily standard. Enjoy.]
Marvel vs. Capcom 3, even if you have had no history with Capcom’s popular fighting game series, the title alone gives away what it is about. You know it’s Marvel and that conjures up images of Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine to most nerds. For gaming nerds, Capcom conjures up images of great gaming such as Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and Mega Man. For those unfamiliar (or hiding under a rock from gaming news for the past two years) fighting games have comeback with a stunning resurgence, starting with Capcom’s Street Fighter IV, prompting releases and announcements of all kinds of new fighting games like Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Mortal Kombat 9.
So here we are finally with Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds finally in our hands, how does it play? Does it have enough characters? Is it fun? For the most part Capcom has succeeded in creating a fun, accessible game that both comic and fighting game fans will enjoy. MvC3 is a 3-on-3 fighting game, pure and simple, and Capcom didn’t mess with what has worked in MvC2 here. So what was the hype over Marvel vs. Capcom 3, well ‘Mahvel Baybee’ is pretty much essential watching (and yes Mango Sentinel has returned).
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
The strongest part of the series has always been creating dynamic match-ups between the various heroes and villains of the Marvel and Capcom universes, and they haven’t dropped a beat here. The initial 34 character roster (17 from each universe) draws from either recent stories in each universe or one’s that are universally recognized. Easily recognizable cast members include Captain America, Doctor Doom, Iron Man, Chun- Li, Ryu, Akuma, Wolverine, Viewtiful Joe, and many more. Some more older/obscure/ less well known characters are included as well such as Arthur (Ghosts and Goblins), Amaterasu (Okami), and Hsien-Ko (Night Warriors). As it is, there is a good amount of returning cast alongside new members added to the cast, and there’s a solid balance of character types as well (quick, ranged, slow/strong, etc.)
There are more characters set to be unleashed as DLC, with the first set being Shuma- Gorath and Jill Valentine. There will always be complaints about characters that are left out (Mega Man, Cable, etc.) and you wonder if they’re just keeping some for the DLC packs (now ain’t that some shit?). And why has Capcom decided to lock-up characters again from the initial roster? If Super Street Fighter IV proved anything, it’s that we liked having every character from the get go. Granted it’s only four characters and one unlocks from pretty much every Arcade play-through, the idea that player who may not care about arcade mode essentially needing to go through it is almost a shame. The Wikipedia page lists all the characters in the game if you wish to take a look at it before buying:
The game has both single player and mutiplayer components with the single player consisting of arcade, versus, training, and mission. Arcade is just like any arcade mode where you fight AI controlled opponents and end up fighting the end boss (hint it’s a major Marvel enemy!) to save the Earth. Whichever character you score the final blow on the boss with, you end up seeing their ending (essentially what they would do after saving the Earth). For completion fanatics, this means playing through the arcade mode each time for every single character. Depending on your view, this could be seen as re-playability or flat out annoying.
The other modes such as training and mission are generally for the more hardcore fighting game players as you get to try out combos in practice and learn how to execute difficult combos and attack timings in the mission mode for each character. Mission mode is not for those that get frustrated easily or completely new to fighting games as the combos get complex quick and including strings of air combos and hyper combos.
The controls on the other hand, have changed a bit with no kick/punch buttons involved now replaced by three levels of attacks (light, medium, heavy), a special attack, and two partner buttons. Those who played Tatsunoko vs. Capcom will feel most comfortable here as the gameplay is very similar to it as the game was directed and produced by Ryota Niitsuma, who worked on TvC. Other gameplay features from TvC that make an appearance here as well are Advancing Guards and Crossover Attacks.
Now, did you just read about the controls and conclude that this game is in no way shape or form FOR YOU, because it seems too complex? Well, Capcom is saving your ass (and wanting your money) by including a “Simple Mode” where mashing a button will allow you to chain together combos like a pro! Light attacks will simply chain combos together for you, Medium attacks will do special moves, and hard attacks will perform supers. Some moves obviously are not available in this mode, but if you’re wanting to just jump and not learn quite yet, this is a good first step.
As far as multiplayer goes, this is where fighting games have always shined and MvC3 is no different. Offline multiplayer is just as great as always and there is nothing like playing your friends face-to-face. Online multiplayer over Xbox Live (for this review) was excellent and generally good as far as connections go. For people obsessed with data there is the License Card which tracks tons of player data showing play data and even your playing style.
The issue of balance will of course come up and in a game with a roster this large will always have issues in terms of balance, and the competitive fighting community will argue about tactics, what teams/characters are the best, and more for the months ahead. The larger characters have always felt very strong in the Marvel series and Sentinel, Hulk, and such keep up with this trend. Players are adapting quickly, and learning what does and doesn’t work against different characters, and that is all a part of playing the game competitively.
As the game continues to mature and grow and the meta game of the competitive scene evolves, I am sure the game will be a great competitive game as it’s older brother was. It’s honestly a good balance between being accessible and catering to the hardcore crowd.
If you’re a fan of either Capcom, Marvel or Fighting Games, this is the must pick up game of the year. The level of enjoyment will come from your love of fighting games and the Marvel and Capcom series. If you can get some friends together for a few hours to play in person, the game seriously grows in fun! The game is fun online as well, but not exactly the same experience as playing in person, but still captures a part of the
essence of fighting games.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a 46” Samsung HDTV playing on a Mad Catz Tournament Edition Fightstick. The game is available now for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 for $59.99.