Marvel Vs Capcom and the sequel, Marvel Vs Capcom 2 were some of the most celebrated arcade games of their times, thanks in part to doing something totally original. It made characters from nearly every franchise owned by Capcom duke it out with fan favorites from the comic universe of Marvel. For over 10 years, players have longed for a sequel that would do justice to one of the greatest arcade games ever released. In February of 2011, they got their sequel…but it doesn’t do justice to its predecessors. Released for the PS3 and Xbox 360, Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is a fun, but disappointing experience.
Something to be aware of in Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is that the fighting is everything players have come to love the series. Beautiful graphics, crazy character match ups, and unbelievable combos. These are all part of Marvel Vs Capcom 3. But there are a number of dubious choices that make the game feel half finished and bare bones, such as the lack of a meaningful story campaign, lack of many game modes, and incredibly unrefined online matchmaking system.
Like a Comic Book Brought to Life
First things to address are the outward appearance of the game. Marvel Vs Capcom 3 no longer uses sprites, like its predecessors. Instead, all of the characters are rendered beautifully in 3d and while the character models to lack the details one might expect of next gen consoles, but they are still very beautiful and capable of incredibly fluid motion, adding a certain grace and charm to the models. And graphics aren’t everything in a fighting game. That said, the effects thrown around by moves and special moves are jaw dropping. Flame and lighting effects, in particular, are a wonder to behold and in each stage, there are layers of action placed upon one another, such as pedestrians in the background or demons doing a merry jig. The screen is very busy but never slows down in the slightest.
Music is tolerable. It’s a mix of some great Capcom themes that don’t really stand out but do their job of characterizing levels. The voices in the game are going to be a source of major contention amongst some fans though. While some characters sound dead on, like spider man or the Hulk, others, such as the Darkstalkers characters have incredibly high pitched and annoying voices. And after a while, announcer and a few characters become grating. For some characters, Japanese voice acting is an option, but not for all. This is a small thing, but a nice touch, considering the lacking game modes.
On the whole, the presentation is very strong for Marvel Vs Capcom 3. The graphics and effects are amazing to behold and there isn’t the slightest trace of lag or slowdown in normal play, no matter how fast or cluttered the screen gets. While music and voices don’t stand out, they also don’t hinder the game too much either.
She Hulk and Modok but no Venom or Strider?
The story mode in Marvel Vs Capcom 3 is practically non-existent. While it isn’t necessary for fighting games to have stories, why bother with the pretense if they aren’t even going to try? There is a story about Dr. Doom and Albert Wesker trying to merge the Capcom and Marvel universes to conquer them, only to bring down the wrath of Galactus on everyone, but to find out that much players have to consult the manual and comic bundled with the collector’s edition. Disappointing. Worse are the character endings, which consist of two screens of art and a little text which often times doesn’t even make sense. The story is the weakest part of the game, especially since other fighting games have proven that, when included, it can add a great deal to the experience. This is especially frustrating since the opening cut scenes and other media had hinted at the possibility of a deeply integrated story mode.
Story aside, the roster is…well, it’s not bad. There are old hands like Spider Man, Iron Man, Ryu, Morrigan, etc. and a few of the new characters are likely to become favorites, such as the insane Deadpool, the smarmy Dante, or the celestial Amateratsu. However, there are also a number of questionable entries and omissions. Minor characters like Modok, She-Hulk and Haggar are put in, while beloved characters like Strider, Venom, or Gambit are withheld. The roster is noticeably smaller as well, down from 56 to barely over 35. This is almost certainly a marketing ploy, as DLC has already been announced for Jill Valentine and another favorite, Shuma Gorath. It feels like the game is half finished and Capcom will be squeezing money from fans for favorite characters.
Characters themselves have strong personalities, like the Hulk’s rage, Iron man’s arrogance, or C. Viper’s perfectionistic nature. However, while personalities are strong and for the most part enjoyable, the odd choices of character additions and subtractions will annoy fans
Live and Let Die…or Don’t.
Gameplay at its core is still very strong. The system used from Tatsunoko Vs Capcom is in use here, with three attack buttons and a special button, coupled with character assist attacks. While it could annoy older fighting fans, since it’s different, the system works well and is easy enough to get into, even for new players. Special moves are easy to pull off and fun to watch, even if complicated combos take more practice. Players can also save their favorite teams, as all battles are 3v3 and learning to find teams that work together are a great deal of fun. Sadly, there are some flaws in even the basic fighting system.
First, the addition of simple mode. In theory, this could have been used like in Tatsunoko Vs Capcom to allow new players to stand on even terms with experienced fighting gamers, but instead, it cripples players, reducing the numbers of special moves and combos open to them. And while simple mode cripples play, some characters make it far too easy. Characters, especially the secret ones like Akuma and Sentinel, are incredibly unbalanced, making for some annoying moment of being beaten by computer and normal players who can do infinite combos.
Modes are the biggest casualty of Marvel Vs Capcom. Apart from arcade mode, there is training and mission mode. Training and mission are basically garbage. Mission mode tries to offer a tutorial, but doesn’t each player’s basic moves, instead opting for testing out needlessly complex combos. The lack of a tutorial mode here is very disappointing and training doesn’t do anything other than giving players a punching bag to hit in the form of other characters. In that same vein, there are no survival, tournament, or extra modes to speak off. There are lots of unlockables, but players are likely to not care, as they are pretty trite rewards. There is also a ranking system that tracks players fighting, gives them titles, and picks their best team. This could be quite interesting, but instead, it is a superfluous addition at best, and it warns opponents of what they’re in for at worse.
Finally, there is an online mode. What a letdown. First, connectivity is seldom 100%. Often, players willhave to try time and again to get into matches, only to be booted out. Also, there is no way to save replays to study them and no spectator mode, all of which have been in previous fighting games, some even released by Capcom. Players will be stuck in a lobby online, just staring at a screen while they wait for their turn. It is boring at best and unbearably tedious at worst.
For Fighting Fans Only
While there is a lot to love in this game, the characters are colorful, combos are easy, and special moves are spectacular to watch, it’s hard to recommend this game to regular gamers. There is a distinctive lack of refinement in the game modes and many characters are still lacking, as players wait for DLC. It is still an incredibly fun experience, as even with the short 6 level arcade mode, it will take players a while to try out all the combinations open to them. However, there is a great deal lacking from this. Only gamers who can find people online or offline to play with should pick this title up as there’s not a great deal to keep single players engaged.