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