Marvel VS Capcom 2
waited 10 years for the Marvel VS series to return to the fighting game
scene. I say "patiently," since countless tournament players were
content with MVC2 all the while, in short, thanks to MVC2's
insanely broken & fun gameplay system and equally awesome character
selection. MVC2 was far from
balanced, but often-times that's what made it fun, competitively and casually. MVC2
was a game that was never patched or altered after its original release,
yet MVC3 was patched in the first few months... and now,
we're playing a new version of MVC3 yet again.
If you remember correctly, Marvel VS Capcom 3 was released just last
February.... 9 months ago. That's right, we had to wait 10 years for the sequel to MVC2... but only
9 months for a sequel to MVC3?
Boy, have times changed. A purist MVC2 fan would likely question Capcom's
marketing strategy with UMVC3. Are successive patches and updates truly a good thing?
The fighting game community would give mixed answers. Capcom understandably didn't
take the "DLC route" with MVC3, and I'm actually glad they
decided to release a full-fledged, disc-based sequel. However, releasing a
sequel only 9 months after MVC3's original release caused a backlash from
fans who may now feel cheated after buying the first game. But as a modestly
priced ($39) enhancement with new fighters & features, it seems fair enough. Did this sequel come
"too soon," or is this just what the Doctor ordered? ... (Doctor Doom,
Not your average raccoon.
He has rockets.
Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 adds a
generous 12 new fighters to the roster, bringing the total number of playable
characters up to 50 (only 6 short of MVC2).In addition, 8 new stages have been added, including some sexy "remixed" stages from vanilla MVC3. All returning characters
have been given small tweaks to their movesets, and in many cases, a new
move or two. The updates to each character are significant, yet modest,
and Capcom's effort to re-balance the game seems to be a success. X-Factor has
been toned down in the power department, and top tier monsters from the original
MVC3 (and Shin Omega Sentinel) seem a bit more leveled out in this new
Presentation-wise, Ultimate introduces a few new elements. Characters
now have dialogue upon
entering the battle after their teammates are defeated, which subtly adds to the drama of
each match. Every character still calls out the respective names of their
teammates (including the 12
newcomers) upon tagging them in, which is still an awesomely cool effect. There
are many new pre-fight interactions to hear, witty win quotes to read, and new
theme songs to listen to. The 12 new BGMs offer some diversity; and while some
are decent, they just don't live up to the classics. And finally (to repeat
myself from my vanilla MVC3 review), the voice acting in UMVC3 is
a far cry from the earlier VS games. For example, the way Wolverine says
"Swiss Cheese" (usually 15 times a match) is as irritating as
it is saddening (Cathal Dodd fan here).
However, it's still really cool to have the option to set the spoken language to
English or Japanese (for Capcom characters only).
Along with a
sleek and stylish CG introduction featuring "epic" match-ups between
Capcom & Marvel characters, the title screen
opens up with a short comic book flip through. The comic adds an appreciated
story element to the game, but the pages are clumsily too
small to appreciate on the main screen (thankfully, you can view them in their
entirety in the Gallery). Even considering the new endings (which
feature some awesome cameos from both universes); unfortunately, UMVC3's
story element is short-lived. If only Capcom would've taken a page out of MK9's book and created an
in-game story using the game's amazing graphics engine. No, a "hardcore"
fighting game like MVC3 doesn't need a Story Mode to sell copies, but what
Capcom or Marvel fan wouldn't want to finally see some sort of story unfold in real-time?
It just seems like the perfect... missed... opportunity.
Ohh how we
missed you, Strider...
Now, I suppose it's time to address the rather
large, pink elephant in the room.... Yes, it is now time to talk about UMVC3's
colorful, yet highly controversial character roster. As you probably
know, both the Marvel and
Capcom universes are vast, each with deeply rooted franchises that include amazing, memorable characters,
team-ups and storylines. The
one Marvel franchise that always stood out in my mind was.... Can you
guess? Arguably the most creative, fan-loved, and successful Marvel franchise of
all time? That's right.... The X-Men; the series that kick-started the VS
Series back in 1994.
UltimateMVC3 features "a few" X-Men... but is
clearly lacking some of the most beloved, fan-favorite X-Men characters
of all time, and
when characters like Nova, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, and Rocket Raccoon are taking
the potential character slot from Cyclops, Rogue, Juggernaut, Omega Red and/or Gambit... it's
difficult for an X-Men fan (and in turn, a Marvel VS series fan)
to openly "accept" these newcomers. It makes perfect sense that Capcom (and
Marvel) wanted to give the spotlight to some other, lesser known characters
for once, but that theory doesn't necessarily equate to "putting your best
foot forward". And in such a time when the fighting genre is so
competitive, you'd think they'd want to.
I know Capcom didn't set out to make X-Men VS Street
Fighter 2, especially since MVC2 was already packed with X-Men... but the inclusion of
such obscure characters seems counter-productive when there are so many icons missing in
action (on both sides). I'll admit that as I'm "complaining" about a game that has 50
playable characters, I may sound a bit jaded... and as a VS Series fan
since the very beginning, maybe I am. While going through the motions with UMVC3, I can't help but think
about the characters I wish I was
using instead of some of these random obscurities... (and the "Days of Future Past" stage
that obnoxiously displays a "wanted" poster featuring fifteenMVC2 characters that I wanted to see
in this game, certainly doesn't help.
That was a low
blow, Capcom). Alas, I suppose someone would then say to me, "Well, if you
want to use those characters, then go back and play MVC2." And I say to
them, maybe I will. . . .
Fear not true believers. . . All is not
lost in the sea of "B- and C-grade"
characters. There are still plenty of fighters that deserve to be
in this game, and Capcom did an extraordinary job of making the newcomers as
"likeable" as possible. I'll admit the fighters of MVC3
present far more dynamic and elaborate movesets than most in MVC2, and (to state the
obvious) make up a more balanced roster from a gameplay standpoint. The new
characters certainly look excellent in MVC3's beautiful graphics engine,
and through the voiceovers, amusing win quotes and animation details, Capcom's choice in adding these new characters seems justified. No doubt
the hardcore MVC3 crowd will jump right in and start dissecting "Firebrand rush down
tactics" and "Ghost Rider mix-ups" until kingdom come...
but what about the rest of us? The MVC2 purists.... The MVC1 fans... The
old school X-men VS Street
Fighter players.... and the
"casual" players? Will Ultimate hold our interest
throughout the next year, which will soon be filled with a slew of other
competitive fighting games? Hmmm.
certainly features its fair share of demonic entities.
I guess you can't please everybody, but at least
Ultimate MVC3's gameplay engine sticks to its roots and
returning players will be able to jump right in. New gameplay tweaks such as
being able to initiate X-Factor while in the air and a re-worked air combo
system effectively change up the dynamics of the gameplay. The new moves and characters offer countless new team combo possibilities and ultimately add to
the wildly fast-paced gameplay experience. To repeat myself from my earlier MVC3
review, super moves are incredibly easy to connect in combos, which can be
interpreted as both a good thing and a bad thing. For example, being able to
easily connect a devastating Level 3 Super Move after a throw or a simple
air combo (with so many different characters), slightly lowers the respect I have for the gameplay engine (even though I like
However, there are many aspects of the gameplay that I do like, and most
importantly, it's still fun... and fast as hell.
The new stage designs are beautiful and
compliment the game's incredibly crisp character models and flashy projectile &
special move effects. Ultimate MVC3 is most definitely one of the
prettiest 2.5D fighting games in existence. The animation is also top notch for the most
part... but as I mentioned in my MVC3 review, some of the animations
for the classic characters definitely looked better in 2D form. For one, I
think Capcom could've worked a little harder on Wolverine's fighting stance & walking
Wolverine's classic 2D sprite had a hell of a lot more personality than that,
Capcom. In fairness, many veterans animate better than they ever have and
emit some serious "in-game presence". The art style really
works for the game, yet certain character facial models look a bit off...
perhaps too "3D-ish". The "anime style" character faces tend
to look better in my eyes, and I think some of the more human-looking characters
could've been given a more "defined" visual art style within the game.
Capcom is supporting UMVC3 with a variety of awesome "fan
service" DLC costume packs. This time around, every character has six
default alternate colors but also an entirely new costume which is taken from
actual comic/game history. Some of the alternate costumes may give casual
fans a head-scratcher or two, but hardcore Capcom and Marvel fans will
immediately know the origins of these costumes.
Overall, Capcom did a godlike job with these alternate costume designs. Being
able to play as Jean Grey instead of Phoenix, Final Fight 3 Mike Haggar, or "original" Strider
Hiryu is simply badass, and one of the main
reasons why I'm okay with 3D graphics. No doubt we'd never see content like this
if the game was still using 2D visuals.
Ultimate MVC3's Online Mode has been revamped with an improved netcode
and an aim to improve matchmaking. Thankfully, this time around you can view
your opponent's connection before starting a match, and can opt out of a
potentially laggy/unplayable match. Battle lobbies are more functional and much easier to
use this time, and playing Ranked Match continuously is a lot faster. If you
can't find an opponent online, the game won't kick you back to the default
Online Mode menu (a big flaw in vanilla). As online match begins, both players
can also view their opponent's License Card. License Cards keep track of player
tendencies based on fighting style, record player points and total number of
wins and losses.
Not many fighting game sequels can say they offered 12 new fighters... and certainly not in such a
short amount of time. Ultimate MVC3 is very ambitious in that sense, but does
the actual content live up to the hype? As usual, it's a matter of preference...
do you like the characters this time around? Players that are in it
primarily for the competitive gameplay experience probably won't care; but for
many of us, the character selection does make a difference. And it's ironic that the subject of the roster has come up yet
since it was a very apparent controversial issue in the first MVC3.
In all honesty, the character selection turns my stomach at times. It's like a bunch of
food items that don't really go together, yet you eat it anyway because you're
hungry and kinda like the food.
Ahh, I guess I just miss the countless "cool" team-ups from the world
of MVC2. On average, team-ups in UMVC3 tend to lean more towards the "freak show"
variety rather than the "cool/badass" variety. On the bright side, I will say
that the character selection screen layout and the color selection process is
excellently designed on all levels.
My idea of what "Ultimate" Marvel VS Capcom 3
should be is a bit different than what is seen in this game, and would contain more
fan-favorites and fewer characters from obscure lands. If you bought or played the original MVC3, you should
already know if you're going to approve of the roster or not. If you're
skeptical, unless you're a big
"Hawkeye / Ghost Rider fan" or "Phoenix Wright / Frank West fan," Ultimate isn't going to
do much to change your mind... but it's certainly not impossible.
I hate to play the blame game, but since Marvel had creative input on
which characters to add from their universe, it would appear that they chose characters
that wouldn't normally have much of a chance of appearing in a video game (or
much of anything else) these days. Instead of feeling like a calculated,
creative vision by a tight-knit group of designers, Ultimate MVC3 seems more
like a bunch of different ideas thrown together... but that's also the nature of
a crossover game, I suppose. Also, all of
the Marvel characters that appeared recently in a Hollywood movie are unsurprisingly
in the game. *sigh* Sometimes I feel like I'm walking down the toy isle at Target.
In closing, I'm glad they made a sequel to MVC3. Although, if I had to choose, I'd still rather play
MVC2 or MVC1 any day of the week, but that's just me. I understand not everyone out there was a serious MVC2 player
like myself, and many will find something to love about UMVC3...
especially new players. Am I glad
the Versus series is still around? Hell yes, and I
hope Capcom makes a sequel to Ultimate. And if they do, they better put
in some more X-Men, dammit! Otherwise, The Juggernaut will show up at
Capcom headquarters and... (insert "I'm
the Juggernaut bitch" joke here).~TFG