When Marvel vs Capcom 2 was released in 2000, it brought with it a massive 56 character roster and solidified itself as one of the most over-the-top fighters in arcades everywhere. Newbies and pros alike were pulling off seizure-inducing hyper combos left and right. It was the magic of the “Versus” series, novices AND veterans were able to sink their teeth into the combo system and really discover everything the game has to offer. The collection of fighters themselves managed to lure in folks who weren’t normally inclined to play fighting games. Why are Marvel favorites such as Captain America & Cyclops going toe-to-toe with fighting icon Ryu and a little Japanese school girl? Whatever. It was damn cool and damn good.
Fast forward about a decade later, Marvel vs Capcom 3 still maintains the core mechanics that made MvC2 so legendary. The fighting roster may not be as gargantuan as it’s predecessor, but it still possesses a very well-rounded and balanced cast. No more bs palette swap, no more clone characters (I’m looking at you Adamantium and Bone Claw Wolverine), and no more sprites dating back to the Alpha series. All 36 characters in the roster (and two via download) are deadly and unique snowflakes.
Although some veterans may be disappointed that the Street Fighter train is somewhat of a caboose this time around. However, this allows other Capcom characters an opportunity to get down and dirty. Nathan Spencer makes his debut with his infamous bionic arm and Dante is a great and appropriate addition to the series. Marvel’s side sees the return of long standing favorites like Iron Man and Spider-Man as well as a slew of new additions like Phoenix and Taskmaster.
The controls are a bit simplified for MvC3. There’s essentially three attack buttons; light, medium, and heavy. There’s also a button specifically to set up air combos and shoulder buttons are dedicated to tagging in your other fighters. But make no mistake; the depth is still existent. Advancing guards and snapbacks are essential to giving yourself breathing space. Air combos are devastating as they ever were but, they’re reversible this time around. No longer does a player have to wait for their beaten carcass to hit the ground to return a volley of their own.
A “Simple” mode lets newbies bust out combos and specials at the push of a single button. This may sound like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but controlling your character directly will always edge out in the end. What’s there to say about the controls? They’re ultra-precise and well ingrained into your head after a few matches. It’s a manner of utilizing your character, controlling space, and knowing when to dab into their expansive move sets. Don’t expect anything less from Capcom.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 has various modes of play, but honestly it has nothing that sets it apart from other fighting titles. The Arcade mode scurries you through several matches against the computer and ultimately ending with a 3-on-1 fight with Galactus. After defeating Galactus you’ll be treated to a character specific ending that consist of a couple of stills and some text. Meh. It’s classic Capcom fighting game ending, but it doesn’t fly these days. Especially when SSF4 had fully animated endings. But this is just a small very nerdy gripe when the rest of the content is well worth a decade’s long wait.
Online multiplayer consists of Ranked Matches and unranked Player Matches. Players can also create a match and set their own parameters if they so desire. One of the biggest disappointments is the lack of a replay feature. Which is all the more trivial since Capcom implemented it very well into SSF4. A replay viewer/uploader can make the fighting community thrive. Watching other people’s comebacks and seeing how they play will only excite and extend the community’s interest in the game. Why Capcom decided to overlook this feature is beyond me.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 is in line with the Versus series’ fighting tradition. Capcom took the fighting genre off life-support with Street Fighter 4, stabilized it with SSF4, and now it’s sending it back to work with Marvel vs Capcom 3. Capcom has proven again that they can still make some of the best fighting games around. MvC3 is a title that fans of the fighting genre shouldn’t miss out on. Whether or not it will stand up to MvC2’s 10 year pedigree remains to be seen. There’s only one way to find out. Time to take yourself for another ride.
+ Controls are precise; just pick up and play.
+ Fast and fluid fighting system dazzles as much as it excites
+ Fan service, fan service, fan service
+ Comic-book style presentation is vibrant and beautiful; makes the geek in us all smile
– Online feature set is a little lackluster
– No replay viewer/uploader
– No white gi Ken
– 10 more years until MvC4
The other day I laid down a solid sixty-something dollars on an upcoming fighting game that I’ve been looking forward to. For as long as I can remember, it was all I ever wanted to play. In case you haven’t got the slightest clue, it’s Marvel vs Capcom 3. I gave a certain evil retailer my hard-earned money and counted the days until it’s arrival.
And then Capcom dropped a two-character DLC bomb on my happiness. The SPECIAL edition of MvC3 has a DLC Voucher (amongst other things) that will let players download Shuma Gorath and Jill Valentine for free. Meanwhile, standard edition owners (like me :(), will have to wait a few weeks down the road to download these additional characters.
Hearing the news I rushed back to the store I placed my reserve and tried to switch my standard edition reserve to the “Special” edition. To no avail, I was told by the person behind the counter that the “Special” edition is only sold at certain retailers and that the one I was at isn’t one of them.
There weren’t enough sighs in the world. I didn’t feel like driving all over the place to find the stores that carried the edition I wanted with the extra characters. I just let my reserve sit on the standard edition and walked away defeated.
MvC3 isn’t the only fighting game that has post-release character DLC. This is unfortunate in my book since the bread and butter of a fighting game is the character roster that is included with them. Namco borderline rapped consumers when they released Soul Calibur 4 and released console-specific DLC characters with an asking price of $5 for ONE extra character. Super Street Fighter 4 was a great all-around package with a robust roster and extra stages, but Capcom has remained elusive as to whether or not they’ll be adding more characters.
Upcoming games like MvC3 and Mortal Kombat are already boasting retailer-specific DLC and additional characters. MK kreator (see what I did there?) Ed Boon has gone on record teasing extra characters as DLC. This simply confuses the consumer and makes the full retail price of a $59.99 fighting game seem disconcerting. I understand that developers have to make money and by the time a game goes gold there may not be room or time for all that content to be shipped with the disc. However, from a gaming consumer’s standpoint, it makes the full asking price of a $59.99 fighting game seem insubstantial. While I paid full-price, it never feels like I got all the game has to offer.
Even with all this bitching about paying for DLC characters; guess what? I’m still gonna buy them as soon as they hit XBL Marketplace or PSN. I know, I’m a sucker and I’ll be the first person to admit that. I’m only contributing to the problem of the nickel-and-diming DLC epidemic, but I believe it is not entirely my fault as a consumer. It’s also the developer/publisher’s fault for dividing this content so strongly.
People can argue that, “Hey if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Voice your objection through your wallet.” I understand and respect the idea behind that statement, however, I’m not going to sit idly by and miss out on meaningful DLC. Essentially, I just don’t want to miss out. Even if I resist purchasing these extra characters at first, I’ll inevitably find myself at the virtual check-out. The fault isn’t solely placed on the consumers; but also on the developers, publishers, and retailers that continue to perpetuate this ugly (but understandably profitable) trend. It’s a vicious vicious circle.
Still… I can’t wait to play as Shuma and Jill…