Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The PS3 Attitude Review
When it comes to the fighting genre, Capcom reigns supreme. It’s difficult to find a tournament anywhere that doesn’t feature the likes of Street Fighter or Marvel vs. Capcom 2. It has been close to a decade since the release of the latter, and fighting fans have been calling for a sequel all this time. But now, finally, fan are getting what they want with the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
The question is: can Fate of Two Worlds live up to the hype, or are Marvel and Capcom two series that simply can’t play nice?
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 brings back the 3-on-3 tag team fighting style, pitting characters from the Marvel universe against Capcom favorites in an all out battle to save the world. Players can choose from any of the 36 characters. There are 18 from each franchise, and you can mix and match or stick to one side – the decision is up to you and your personal playing style.
The game is split into two main components; offline and online. Offline, you can play against the computer AI in Arcade Mode, or practice your fighting skills with Mission Mode or Training.
Arcade Mode has you taking your team across seven stages, culminating with a final boss battle against the massive Galactus to determine the fate of the universe. This author found that while the first five stages weren’t all that hard on Normal difficulty, things did pick up on the sixth stage. The difference in AI skill between these two stages was pretty significant and it could catch some players off-guard for their first few playthroughs.
Glactus is a completely different story because he is a boss. First you must take out two metallic clones, who fight as some of the more notorious villains from the game. They share a single health bar, which is displayed on the right side of the screen, but dispatching them isn’t a walk in the park. Once they are taken care of, it’s time to battle the big man himself. Taking up half the screen, Glactus is a force to be reckoned with. With a flick of his finger he can send one of your characters back into the shadows, or he can send out energy beams to decimate your team. Defeating him is not going to be an easy task.
If you manage to complete Arcade Mode, you’ll be treated to an ending movie for the character who delivered the final blow. Unfortunately, these ending movies are nothing to talk about.
The story is told through two comic book pages and sometimes they feature other characters from Marvel and Capcom. While it’s nice seeing the likes of Mega Man and Silver Surfer making a brief appearance, the endings aren’t quite as rewarding as you would like them to be. After all is said and done, you’re left with a feeling of “is that it?”
If you need to brush up on your skills, each character has ten missions to complete. They require you to perform various special moves and combos. The early missions only ask for you to do simple two button button moves, but the harder missions have you performing long and extremely complex combos. Whether you want to learn the basics or master the more advance moves, Mission Mode is the way to go, but only the most skillful of players will be able to complete all ten missions.
Online is where many people will be spending most of their time. Like Super Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 makes use of lobbies, where up to eight people can participate in matches against each other. While you’re waiting in line for your match to begin, you can view other players’ License cards.
Your License keeps track of all your fighting data, from your win/loss ratio to a graph of your playing style. There’s a little customization available as well. Players can choose an image and title to display alongside their name.
Beginners may apply
While this author would only recommend Marvel vs. Capcom 2 to only the most hardcore of players, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is more accessible to everyone. The button scheme has changed to a simplified three button attack scheme. There’s also a special attack button that allows you to launch opponents into the air for an aerial combo or to perform various other actions. Finally, the trigger buttons allow you to switch between teammates or call them in for a quick assist. If you want things even easier, there’s also Simple Play, which tones down the controls even further.
If you worry that these simplified controls will lessen the fighting experience, have no fear. There are plenty of advance tactics such as snap backs, crossover assists, and hyper combos that will separate the boys from the men. If you’re planning to perform combos in the 50+ range, you’ll have to learn how to take advantage of them all.
New to the series is something called X-Factor. This ability can be triggered once per match and temporarily boosts your strength and mobility. The fewer teammates you have left, the greater the impact X-Factor has. It’s a powerful ability, adding an extra tactical element to the game and can sometimes turn a 3-on-1 match into 1-on-1. Knowing when to use X-Factor is key to making a spectacular comeback.
Right off the bat you’ll notice that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has much fewer characters to choose from than its predecessor. While that may be disappointing to some, Capcom has made sure that each character has a unique playstyle. That means no more teams consisting of Ryu, Ken, and Akuma for you hadouken loving folks. Don’t worry though, fan favorites such as Chun-Li and Iron Man return, but there are some notables missing.
Fate of Two Worlds introduces many new characters to the series. Rather than popularity, the developers selected said characters based on playability. Characters such as Dormammu and Super-Skrull might not be the most recognizable to casual gaming fans, but they are a welcome addition to the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
Fans will find familiar references to some of their favorites. As powerful as he may be, you can’t help but smile when you see someone playing as Mango Sentinel. The dialogue between characters at the beginning and end of a match is also something to marvel at (pun intended). It’s never random as some characters have specific banter between each other. Just start a match between Chris and Wesker for instance and you’ll see what I’m talking. Captain America and Zero is also a personal favorite of this writer. Also, if you leave a character when they get tagged in they’ll taunt and dance. It’s something that no one will ever see, because of the frantic pace of the game, but it’s a nice touch all the same. Have fun experimenting with various character combinations. You’ll never know what you may hear.
Because it’s created specifically for fans of the series, causal gamers may find difficulty in keeping interest in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Once you’ve played Arcade Mode a few times and dabbled in the online aspect, there really isn’t much left to do. Hardcore players will no doubt spend hours upon hours perfecting their skill in the game but the longevity is likely to be significantly shorter for others. If you’re a fan of fighting games, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a well balanced addition to the genre.
Visually, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 looks spectacular. The character animations are crisp and vibrant with the comic book styling of Marvel mixed in for variety. Stages are full of life and non-playable character cameos, providing you can spare enough time from battle to take a look at them.
Each character has three alternate color schemes to choose from as well. Unlike Marvel vs. Capcom 2, they are not just simple palette swaps either. Zero, for instance, has alternative costumes that resemble both Mega Man and Axl. The Marvel characters also have significant backstories to their color schemes too. Marvel actually has an interesting article that goes into great detail regarding how they were all chosen.
That’s what makes Marvel vs. Capcom 3 so fantastic. Everything in the game has been carefully selected for a specific reason or purpose. Nothing is included by accident. It’s evident that a lot of work went into selecting the costumes, the dialogue, and yes, even the storylines – even though the plot is a little light. Even more so, Fate of Two Worlds is made specifically for the fans.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 brings the best of two franchises together and provides an exceptional fighting experience. If you love either Marvel or Capcom or both, then this is the game to get. It’s something that doesn’t take long to become decent at but can take hours upon hours of practice to get great at.