Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (MvC 2) was one of the most important fighting games to ever come out. Its depth in 3vs3 gameplay provided solid entertainment for an infinite number of hours – proof of which is the fact that it’s still going strong in the competitive scene, eleven years after release.
In those eleven years, fans of the franchise - and fighting games in general - have been clamouring for a sequel. Even more so after the seventh-generation consoles released, because people wanted to see a sequel in HD. While stunts like making MvC 2 available as a downloadable XBLA and PSN title whetted their appetites a little, it still wasn’t enough.
The old favourites return
Which is why the hype generated when Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced for the PS3 and Xbox 360, following a renewed licensing deal with Marvel, was off the charts. When a game gets as legendary as MvC 2, the sequel usually comes packaged with massive expectations from gamers, some of them unreasonable. Capcom however, regardless of how unenviable the task was, owed them a game that could deliver an experience that met, if not exceeded, all those expectations - simply because of that eleven-year wait.
Read on to find out just why Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (MvC 3) fits that billing perfectly, and does an admirable job of filling the massive boots MvC 2 left behind.
The first thing you notice when you load up Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the graphic novel style Capcom have adopted for the game’s presentation. Everything from the text used in the menus to the post-battle screens is rendered in the trademark Marvel Comics style, which is a pretty cool touch. The levels and the characters themselves look very pretty and detailed, and stay true to the authentic designs in the source material.
It's the Bionic Commando!
Complementing that is the MT Framework, Capcom’s proprietary engine for most of its current-gen games like Lost Planet, Devil May Cry 4 and Resident Evil 5, that MvC 3 runs on a modified version of. It certainly does its job here, as the game is a very fluid one that never experiences any slowdowns which, as a fighting game, is vital. Load times are almost non-existent and overall, MvC 3 does quite well in the technical aspects.
Controls follow the Tatsuneko vs. Capcom scheme, with individual buttons for light, medium, heavy and special attacks (which will mostly be used as a launcher). Assists and character switches can be activated with a tap or hold of the buttons for your two supports characters. There’s even a Simple Mode that will let those unaccustomed to fighting games learn the ropes for a bit, thanks to the ability to activate combos with a single button. There are drawbacks though, because most of the characters’ powerful combos will be locked to Simple Mode players, so you can’t just use Simple Mode and expect to get the game’s full experience.
Dante is badass, Deadpool is awesome
The combo system is ridiculously fluid. The developers have taken a much freer approach, allowing players to chain as many hits as they can imagine and execute. Here’s how it works – as the number of hits in the combo increases, the window to land the next hit gets shorter, thus putting the onus of execution on the gamers themselves, instead of putting in any restrictive barriers. There’s also the ability to call in assists or switch-outs in the middle of an aerial combo, thus making things even more chaotic.
Damage on the whole has been increased, which gives MvC 3 a real on-the-edge feel. When you know that one devastating combo could wipe out your entire health bar, you’ve got to stay focused and not get too relaxed – and this is awesome. You never know when one mistake could cost you your character or your entire team, so MvC 3 really succeeds in keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
Better get used to Sentinel curbstomping
Augmenting that is the x-factor known as… er… X-Factor. Each player starts off with the ability to use one X-Factor at any point in the battle, which will give them boosts in all areas. The boosts themselves increase the more in peril you are, so activating your X-factor when all three of your characters are around isn’t the smartest of ideas. In a sense, X-factor is like a mini-game, choosing the right moment to activate it, in order to finish off your opponent, or stage that ridiculous comeback, is extremely important.
Like all game developers this generation, Capcom have had to make MvC 3 tread the very fine line between too accessible and too hardcore. The game is certainly way more accessible than before, but it stops just short of being too easy, though competitive gamers might disagree. There’s still enough depth in the game to entice the most experienced of fighting gamers, so I’d say MvC 3 does walk the line, and walk it well.
Where MvC 3 really shines is in its Character Roster. While the number of characters themselves has been reduced from MvC 2 – previously 56, now 32 plus 4 unlockable characters and more via DLC, there is plenty of variety on offer. And while the exclusion of fan favourites like Mega Man might ruffle a few feathers, almost all of the characters that are in this game have something to offer in terms of play style and overall usability, unlike MvC 2 where the top tier was limited to a very select few. On the first glance, characters like Dante might seem too powerful due to the sheer number of combos they have, but in the case of such characters individual hit damage has been reduced, thus increasing the number of hits required to do any significant damage (Sentinel is a different story altogether, though). Gamers will be spending months trying to perfect their teams, simply because of the number of combinations and permutations that a balanced roster brings to the table.
Character interactions are pretty cool, too. They respond to each other with snarky quips and the opponent-based chatter is a really nice touch. Adding to that is the fact that you can choose which language the characters will speak in, so if you’re one of those who’s ultra-picky about the source material, hearing Rie Tanaka voice Morrigan from Darkstalkers will really scratch your itch.
Mode-wise, MvC 3 has quite a bit to offer. There is the simple Versus mode, which is offline multiplayer and the Arcade mode, which is pretty much a series of battles until you get to the final boss – gives you some incentive to play it because of character endings you unlock. While the fact that the character that gets the last hit in is whose ending you’ll see is a bummer (this could lead to some unexpected rage because you’ve already seen that one’s ending), it’s still quite fun.
The MvC3 training mode is one of the best I’ve seen, and I spent hours in there trying to learn the nuances of the game. Almost any situation that you can think of can be simulated, which is what training modes in all games should aspire to do.
Playing as the speedy Zero is a blast
The Mission Mode will lead you through a bunch of missions that change according to the character you’ve selected. You’ll have to perform certain moves and combos to move to the next level, and while the vertically scrolling commands on the left side of your screen can get a bit hard to follow sometimes, it still teaches you a lot about the various facets of your character.
The real downer is the lack of a story mode. Actually, it’s not the lack of one per se - because story modes in fighting games are as needed as obvious reasons in porn flicks – but the fact that the game’s story was talked up a lot before release, and the failure to deliver on that promise is the real downer.
The game’s online modes are currently Ranked Matches, Player Matches and Lobby Mode. While Player matches don’t increase your rank, the ability to instantly replay battles without returning to the character select screen is a real godsend. A major snafu on Capcom’s part does exist though, and that’s the complete absence of a spectating in the Lobby Mode. In a winner continues playing kind of situation, you’d expect the others in the lobby to be able to watch the game in progress and chatter constantly in the background. Instead, all they get are decreasing health bars.
If there is one word that can be used to describe Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, it’s insane. Insanely fun, insanely addictive, insane combos, insane damage, insane replayability… you get my drift. You could talk about the increased damage or accessibility, or the complete lack of a story mode, but when the game is as fun as MvC 3, it all goes out of the window.
MvC 3 will have gamers addicted to it for ages, and while the question on whether it’ll go on to become a major force in the competitive scene remains unanswered, the sheer amount of insane fun it brings to the table makes it a must-buy for those even slightly interested in the fighting genre.
Long live insanity.
Published Date: Feb 15, 2011 10:10 am | Updated Date: Feb 15, 2011 10:10 am