After over a decade of
support for Marvel VS Capcom 2 from the beyond-loyal players, Capcom
has finally answered the prayers of fans and brought back one of the staple hardcore 2D fighting game
franchises of our time. What began with the likes of X-Men: Children of the Atom
& Marvel Super Heroes is now a scientific, streamlined and immensely
deep & fun fighting game engine. The series has certainly come a long way and has
evolved dramatically over the years... so how does the latest installment fare?
The intense 3-on-3 tag team battles have returned along with classic gameplay
mechanics like team hyper combos, hyper move cancels and snapbacks. To meet
the hype and demand that has built up for over a decade, Capcom set out to break down the wall of complicated controls and
present a strategic gameplay experience for players of all levels. Gameplay-wise, MVC3
is something like a hybrid of Tatsunoko VS Capcom and Marvel VS
Capcom 2, taking the simpler, streamlined movelists & easier-to-connect combos from TVC
and blending it together with MVC2's epic combo possibilities and frantic
nobody believed... but you see, it's TRUE!
38 diverse fighters have been re-imagined
in brilliant cell-shaded 3D visuals and feature brand new animations. Returning
Marvel characters retain many of their classic moves and mannerisms from
previous Marvel VS titles from over 15 years ago (such a huge fan service)! While I
miss the charming 2D sprites (like many other traditionalists), there's simply no room to
complain about the way this game looks. The graphics are badass from every
angle... character models are sharp and full of life, special moves & hit
effects are beyond flashy and backgrounds are interestingly designed & well
animated. Although, I heard someone at Capcom say something about "1080p visuals"
early on in the game's development... alas, I was a
bit disappointed to see my 1080p television running the game in 720p.
case, Marvel VS Capcom 3's visuals overall are sexy and there's plenty of eye candy to go
around. I just wish they used better anti-aliasing because there are
some visible jaggy edges when you look close.
If you've ever played any
of the previous Marvel VS games, you'll immediately notice that
returning characters' movesets have been streamlined yet again.
There are now 3 basic attack buttons and launch attacks are universally performed with one
button (known as the Special Attack button, which also has other functions depending on the character). The
Special Attack button is also used to put together
one of MVC3's most notable "new" gameplay features - the Team Aerial
In the midst of an air combo, partners can be tagged in on the fly to extend the
combo, making for some of the most epic air combos ever seen in a fighting
game to date! Players on
the receiving end of a Team Ariel Combo can also counter the combo by guessing the correct exchange move
at the same time as their opponent.
possibilities... if you want to master this game you need to study.
Many characters have an alternate command attack or two, but the majority of
veteran characters feel slightly "dumbed down" due to the lack of priority moves. All in all though, characters have a nice balance of special & super moves this time
around, although some were built in with waaaymore special moves than
others... (yes, I'm looking at you Dante).
An improvement over the prequels in the moveset department is that every
character has a nice variety of super moves, and most of them have a spectacular Level 3 super
which isn't very difficult to connect (some can even be connected after super moves)! The important thing is that character
balance has definitely been improved upon since the days of MVC2, which
is widely known for its infamous balance issues. Fans that have been waiting for a "balanced" MVC
game for all these years have finally been served (so it would seem).
In addition to the 3 attack buttons and Special Attack button, the 2 assist
buttons from the prequel have returned along with alpha, beta and gamma
assist types. No doubt assist-based attacks will play a huge part on how
successful your team is. Possibly the most fun part of the game is exploring
and experimenting with different teams & assist types to find that perfect
team (or teams) that suits your playing style! There are so many possibilities
to discover, it's mind-boggling.... Hardcore players will no doubt find countless hours of replayability
deep inside MVC3's solid gameplay engine. Also worth mentioning, there
are some incredibly stylish looking combos in this game! All characters
sort of have their own unique "combo style" as well. Simply put, MVC3's combo system is
well thought-out and, most importantly, fun!
Another new gameplay mechanic is the X-Factor mode. A player can temporarily
boost the speed & power of their team and even activate a healing effect by using X-Factor.
The cool thing about X-Factor is that it affects each character slightly differently.
Some characters receive insane speed boosts and can dash around the screen with
lightning-fast speed, while others are notable for their sudden ability to deal out ridiculous
amounts of damage... (yes, I'm looking at you Sentinel).
The degree of X-Factor's boost
also depends on how many active fighters are on the team. The "catch"
of using X-Factor is that characters will receive more damage when they are hit,
which balances it out quite nicely. All in all, X-Factor is a
great addition and opens the door to a dramatic comeback if
the player chooses the right time to activate it and uses it effectively.
Nurf King" himself is more than a challenge for you Hulk!
Capcom really did long-time
fans a service when they remixed many of the classic BGM themes from previous VS
Series games, once again dating all the way back to X-men: Children of the Atom.
MVC3's soundtrack is indeed an eclectic and robust mix of music,
containing at least 100 tracks! In Marvel VS Capcom 2, one of my main "cosmetic"
complaints was the lack of character-specific themes. MVC3 "brings
the beat back" with awesome-sounding individual character themes! It never
ceases to add to the awe value when a fighter is called into battle and their theme kicks in. Some of the BGMs are pure
ear candy, but others kinda left me a bit
on the disappointed side (Ryu's & Chun Li's could've been much better). In any case, I really can't complain when there are so
many tracks packed into this one game (and most of them rock!).
Speaking of presentation, Marvel VS Capcom 3
was said to feature a "storyline" early on in it's development. Unfortunately,
there's no sign of any kind of Story Mode within the game itself.
Arcade mode is pretty much what you'd expect, but it is presented in a cool
"comic book style". Also worth mentioning are the practically
nonexistent load times in Arcade Mode... they definitely keep the shit moving,
which is nice!
Each character has their own unique ending which usually presents a cool
cross-over cameo or two, but unfortunately endings are
surprisingly short and feature modest, still artworks (old
Shut up Yipes. )
I'm sure some of the
more artistically inspired fans would've appreciated a deeper
effort with the actual story value of the game, but while it's disappointing,
let's remember that this is a fighting game. And why do we play fighting games? To
fight... and fight with style.
With that said, Capcom's
"presentation" clearly lies within MVC3's gameplay itself. Pre-fight banter
between Capcom & Marvel characters is done brilliantly and there's a ton of
clever dialogue to enjoy both before and after the fight. The high profile voice-actors really add a strong personality
to the game, enabling characters to appear more fleshed-out than ever before.
However, certain dialogue during gameplay seems a bit unnecessary and/or forced.
Also, the original voice actors from earlier VS Series titles better
suited the classic Marvel characters in my opinion, but that's just nitpicking
from an old school Marvel fan.
Capcom really went all out with their character-specific interactions
and even included some quotes that only long-time video game/comic fans
will catch. For example, Deadpool mockingly quotes Magneto's infamous "Welcome to die!" from the
1992 X-men arcade game... how
beyond-epic is that?!?!
MVC3's pre-fight character
interactions are the best of any fighting game to date!
MVC3's opening movie is nothing short of
breathtaking and there are actually several epic cinematics in the game which
revolve around various
Marvel & Capcom character interactions. The amazing CG movies are enough to
satisfy me (who happens to be a huge Capcom & Marvel fan) in the
production-value department, and while I
would've appreciated a deeper in-game story in addition, I ask myself... would I
really want to put hours upon hours into a lengthy story mode? Other 2D
fighting games in recent times have featured strong story modes - for example, Blazblue
with it's countless hours of anime nonsense.
While it seems like a perfect idea
for Marvel VS Capcom to feature a story, honestly... I'd rather just play the
game like most hardcore gamers.
That said, what MVC3 lacks on some presentation-oriented elements, it
makes up for with an amazingly fleshed-out gameplay experience. Get some friends, practice
up and play this game online... there's a lot to learn and epic matches to be
The mode selection is definitely
"bare bones," but Practice Mode & Mission Mode are done right and
are your best friends if you want to become a tournament-worthy player. Mission
Mode is a challenge even for seasoned veterans and proudly shows off the
complexity of MVC3's engine. For
the more casual gamers there are some cool unlockables like viewable character models, movies, artwork,
endings, character voices, BGMs, icons and titles. While there isn't a plethora
of "extras" packed
in, the voice selection option for Capcom characters was unexpected and much appreciated, as
you can set Capcom characters to speak either English or Japanese (like SSF4)... Awesome!
The online mode is simple and to the point, but is lacking features and
stability when compared to other online fighting games. First and foremost, I'm disappointed with the lack of any
sort of replay save option.
One of the cooler features are
profile cards" which record a vast amount of statistics such as: hours
played offline, hours played online, battles fought, longest win streak, most used characters/teams and even
a graph of each player's personal fighting style habits. You can even reserve
your top 3 favorite teams on your profile card and "quick select" them
at the character select screen so you don't have to pick each character
individually. MVC3's online mode also introduces a unique punishment for those pesky rage quitters,
dubbed "rage quitter hell".
Dishonorable players who
pull the plug to escape losses on a regular basis will eventually be
pitted against other people who pull the plug frequently! I think
it's a brilliant idea that all future fighting game online modes should
incorporate. Overall, once again, I'm disappointed with online mode and ended up
not playing online very much due to the instability.
Capcom sure had their work cut out for them. When bringing back such a high-profile title, they
had to walk the fine line of pleasing both the hardcore players and the casual fans.
Overall, I think they hit the mark they were going for in Marvel 3.
As a veteran MVC2 player (since its launch), I'm pleased with the final product,
but I have a few issues with the game. Connecting super moves to specials & combos is definitely simplified this
time around... a lot of stuff connects with ease (probably a bit too
often). On the flip side, certain high
level combos require insanely precise timing. I miss the days where you didn't have to
have absolutely perfect timing to connect Magneto's hyper grab with
magnetic tempest in an air combo.
I'm certainly not complaining about the complexity (it's a good thing), but it
may turn some players off.
Like many others, I was skeptical about the roster from the beginning, but I knew
Capcom would balance things out and present an "entertaining" roster at the very
least. While many iconic Capcom & Marvel characters are
indeed missing in action... it's hard to complain when there are 38
characters (especially when the original Marvel VS games had a whole
15-18 playable characters). However, standards have gone up over the years and
in my opinion, MVC3's roster just doesn't have the "magic" of MVC2's.
MVC3's combo system is fun & open-ended, and Capcom seems to have done
a pretty good job with character balance (especially after the patches). However, from a "design
standpoint" I feel that the roster doesn't seem to be as thought out and isn't as well-rounded as it could be. For
example, there's no "Guile-type character". Though he was underrated,
I loved using Guile in MVC2 and I could even hold my own against most top-tier
characters. Believe it.
Presentation-wise, I love all the little details Capcom
brought to the table.
Hearing characters shouting their partner's names during tags & in the midst of air combos
is a joy to hear and never gets old. The close-up camera angles on super moves and
the incredible background detail also add to the "epicness" of the gameplay experience.
On the subject of backgrounds, a few extra DLC backgrounds certainly wouldn't
have hurt, as there are only 9 to select from (with no variations).
hoping they'd release more DLC for MVC3, but expectedly, Capcom went their
usual route and made a proper sequel... which is fine by me. "Ultimate"
MVC3 features 10 new characters, new backgrounds, and
many gameplay changes. The DLC all together probably would've cost the same
amount that they're charging for the new disc-based title, and personally, I'd
rather have a new physical game box in my collection over DLC anyway. Be
sure to check out my full review of Ultimate MVC3
as well. ~TFG