cyclonus_the_warrior's Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PlayStation 3) review

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I guess the wait was worth it.

Originally written 2-16-11

Doctor Doom of the Marvel Universe joins forces with Albert Wesker of the Capcom Universe, in an attempt to take over both worlds. The heroes representing both of these realities unite to stop them. But there’s a greater menace approaching that threatens the very existence of these worlds.-summary

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a sequel that was long over-due. It has been over ten years since the last game was released, and this long awaited sequel has been on the imaginary, as well as real life wish list for quite possibly every hardcore fighting game fan alive. The question on many folks minds most definitely would be, “was it worth the wait?” The short answer in my view is yes, because it gave Capcom time to think and not produce a very lazy effort.

It’s always a wise decision to add but never take away, or never try fixing what isn’t broken. Capcom kept things the same in some ways, while there has been significant changes and I don’t think any of them were for the worst. For me, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is much better than the last game in all areas. I’ll lightly cover the key areas as usual.

Game Play:

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is a fighting game that features 3 vs. 3 battles, and the player can swap out characters at any time during the fight. Like its predecessors, the battles aren’t decided in rounds. The fight ends when one team has been completely eliminated. The game does have a time limit, but it can be turned off during the vs mode, as well as with the arcade mode. The difficulty can be adjusted from very easy to much harder settings, and this is great for beginners, since the game can be pretty difficult even on the normal setting. This also includes the cheap AI at times.

What’s still the same?

The game still features a story mode which takes place in the arcade mode. Here, the player will engage in a series of battles until they reach the end boss. The vs. mode is self explanatory and this is where two players can have it out at. Training Mode is still intact, and it’s a great place to learn how the new fighting engine handles(more on that part later). The command list can be accessed during this mode, and in arcade mode to view the moves list at any time.

The characters still possess their own health bars, but once again share their hyper combo bar. For those who are new to the series. Hyper moves are very large and damaging combo’s that can turn a fight around, or turn possible defeat into a guarantee. The bar can be charged up to five times, and it can still be used to perform team hyper combo attacks.

There are also some returning techniques such as the “snap back”, which is a hit that sends your opponents character out of the battle, and brings in another, or the last character they swapped out. The guard parry is also back, and this move pushes your opponent away when you’re blocking. Air blocking, ground, and air combos are present as well.

The game features two play modes; normal play and simple play. Normal is when a player chooses to pull off moves manually. Simple play is more newbie friendly, and gives them a hope in hell at winning.

Now what’s new?

The fighting engine has been reworked. Air combos can still be performed by popping characters into the air. The added twist is that they can now be done on a team level. It’s very possible to extend the combos by bringing in each character one at a time, to prolong the combo and add very big damage. However, Capcom also took a page out of Killer Instinct in a way. The air combos can also be broken up by performing an air counter. This sends the aggressor crashing to the other side of the screen, and gives the victim of the attacks some breathing space. There is also a technique called the X-Factor, and this beefs up your characters strength and mobility. But the overall effect all depends on how many characters you have left. The character will emit a red aura around their body when this move is activated. For an idea on what this may look like, just think of a constantly powered up Akuma.

Now even though the fighting engine went through a slight change. The game really doesn’t have that much depth, and like the previous two games in the series, it’s very possible for button mashers to pull off wins. There is a certain amount of skill necessary to beat more advanced players, but the fighting engine just isn’t as intricate as let’s say; Tekken 6, Soul Calibur 4, or even Super SF 4. Those are more like playing chess, while this is like, well… something else.

The updated game play doesn’t exactly make it a must to be familiar with the older games in the series. However, more experienced players will still have an overwhelming advantage, since at the very least, they already have an idea on how to make big combos work. Dedicated players will spend a lot of time in the training modes.

Capcom also borrows from Super Street Fighter 4. There’s now a mission mode, where a character must be selected, and there’s a list of moves that must be performed to advance to the next mission. I think of this mode as another training mode, and it’s extremely helpful, because it features a bunch of combos that are very possible to pull off. And these attacks will prepare you for the harder AI settings and online battle. There’s a gallery mode to view endings, character profiles, artwork, and listen to the soundtrack.

Controls:

The control set up is completely new, yet very familiar, and it also happens to be my favorite feature of the game. For Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Capcom had combined the weaker buttons; jab and strong punches, low and forward kicks into one button, leaving the fierce punch and round house kick intact, thus, creating quicker and easier controls. This time around, the six actions are removed, and now there’s four buttons taking their place; light, medium, heavy, and special. It may sound strange to a veteran of the series, and I even thought it to be very awkard while trying them out. However, after starting in the training mode first, the set up became very clear and after 2 hours of practicing, I was pulling off 34 hit air combos very easy against the normal AI. The classic Street Fighter two-in-ones are incredibly easy to pull off, as well as linking hyper’s into regular combos. The instruction booklet happens to be great help when explaining how to perform these chain and air combos.

The controls are very responsive when dishing out these combos. They’re also very smooth when performing the hyper and team hyper combos. Everything is performed with ease, and Capcom did not complicate the hyper move combos either with wild directional pad functions. They’re all delivered with half circle motions, basically, a Street Fighter fan will have no problem understanding how these moves work. Newbies who spend time in the training modes will find them easy to pull off also. As a fighting game fan, I will say these are the most perfect controls for a fighting game I ever came across. SNK should take notes here, and realize not everyone wants to go to hell and back to pull off devastating moves.

Graphics/Sound/Music:

Visually, the game is on point and I am impressed with it. Capcom went with the comic book style. The characters are featured in 3D models and their designs have a shiny look with some good attention to detail. The Marvel characters look splendid and they’re carbon copies of their comic book counterparts. I’m also happy that Capcom didn’t take the lazy route by using the exact same designs from previous games. The animation for some of the older characters looks familiar, but it definitely looks more up to date to me. I also think the animation concerning the moves have a nice fluid flow to them. The action can be very fast at times, but the movements can still be spotted.

The game is a 2D fighter but it blends in the 3D elements nicely. I think the camera work displays the 3D elements well, and it’s used best during some of the more powerful hyper combos; Magneto’s Gravity Squeeze stands out to me with its perspective range and use of the background animation. The character on the receiving end disappears in the middle of the void without a trace and the segment is kind of eerie to me. The final battle also does a great job displaying the 3D qualities and I think it’s one of the cooler stages (won’t spoil exactly what it is). Now speaking of the stages, there are some very good backgrounds with the Shield Helicarrier being another big standout. In the background of the battlefield, there’s an obvious air battle taking place, with turret guns firing and missiles hitting the carrier. This stage is just awesome all around with the dark setting and the well use of lighting.

I think the sound effects are very good to a certain degree. Akuma’s fireballs for example, sound completely different from Magneto’s projectile move. I also noticed the slight sound of electricity when Magneto takes off, as well as the small gust of wind when Storm dashes. There are plenty of different sound effects to look for. The only issue that I have is with the sound of the blows. They really don’t sound like punches or kicks landing.

The voice acting is very good to me, and the characters personalities are well captured. Deadpool’s wisecracking and comedic side is very well intact, and he dishes out a few funny lines. Captain America sounds like the hero you have to follow, and Thor sounds.. well… way too blond and manly.

The music is a gigantic step up from Marvel vs. Capcom 2. That ridiculolus jazz track is gone and the themes are character specific. Shades of the original Marvel vs. Capcom, the characters have versions of their songs playing, and when that character is defeated, the song will shift to the next character entering the fray. There are some easily recognizable tracks; like different variations of Ryu’s and Akuma’s themes, along with Arthur’s theme from Ghouls and Ghost creating that nostalgia trip.

Character Roster:

Some fans may be disappointed with this roster, but I’m glad Capcom slashed down the numbers. The total roster is 20 characters less with 36 this time around. This was one of the problems I had with the previous game, because there were so many throw away characters who were copy and paste. Now, it seems like a little bit more of a balance. My only gripe here is that there are too many obscure characters. And I’m talking characters who aren’t really that popular in the Marvel or Capcom universes. Here’s the roster:

Captain America, Deadpool, Spider-Man, Thor, Storm, Ryu, Chun-Li, Dante, Trish, Wolverine, Magneto, Ironman, Chris Redfield, Albert Wesker, Zero, Tron, Phoenix, X-23, Hulk, She-Hulk, Morrigan, Felicia, Arthur, Haggar, Akuma, Sentinel, Spencer, Hsien-Ko, M.O.D.O.K. Doctor Doom, Amaterasu, Crimson Viper, Super Skrull, Taskmaster, Viewtiful Joe, Dormammu

Not all of these characters are playable from the start, and I think there was only four to unlock. All I know is that I beat the game twice, lost once, and spent some time in training, and the next thing I know, the notification came up that characters were being unlocked. It didn’t take long to unlock them at all and I was amazed at how easy it was. But I think fighting games really should do away with that. Supposedly, there will be more characters as down loadable content. Personally, I’m satisfied with this right here but I will search for it later.

I also liked the attention to detail when considering character rivalries, because it adds a little bit to the story. During some pre-battle match ups, Wesker acknowledges his feud with Chris, along with Akuma and Ryu sparking their rivalry. I thought it was real cool beating Iron Man with Captain America, and Cap mentioning their Civil War feud. There’s other good segments like these that will only be familiar to fans of both universes. Overall, despite the play mechanics pretty much being the same. There’s a nice mix of slow and fast characters, and the slower characters can perform their combos just about as well as the quicker ones.

Final Thoughts:

The training modes have soaked up almost all of my time with this game so far. The single player is good, but the two player and multi-player are very good. I haven’t spent too much time on-line, but I didn’t have a problem finding a match. In the long run, this will prove most valuable for die-hard fighting fans. But once I get my fill, I will have to go for some long adventure game.

I highly recommend this to those who loved the first two games in the series, and for serious fighting fans in general.

Rating: 8

The Good: Visuals, much better soundtrack, very tight controls, no overblown character roster, newbie friendly, online play

The Bad: Button mashers have a chance, AI can be a little cheap

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