Crossover fighting games have always had a special place in gamers’ hearts. What better way to settle disputes on who would beat who in a fight than to actually put them against one another? Now it has been over a decade since a Marvel vs Capcom game has provided fighting fans a chance to do battle with one another in fast paced battles that could fill the entire screen depending on what characters are doing battle with each other. Now that Marvel vs Capcom 3 has been released, much to the joy of fighting fans everywhere, does it stay true to what fans love?
The story begins with Marvel’s Doctor Doom putting together some of the world’s most dangerous villains with evil intentions in mind. It doesn’t help that Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker is doing the same exact thing and they have formed an alliance among themselves in the hopes of gaining control of everything in both of their respective universes. The rest of the fighters from these worlds aren’t going to just sit around and let that happen though.
But before they can even make a move to intervene, a mysterious and powerful threat has been awoken by the union of the two worlds and is coming to destroy everyone and everything. This means that both heroes and villains must work together from the Marvel and Capcom universe to stop him from destroying their worlds.
Unfortunately the storyline is far from unique and also very soft spoken, meaning that there is barely any mention of this. The opening cut-scene explains most of the plot immediately and besides the ending movies for the character you finish off the final boss with, the story is far from deep. Of course there are some small interactions between characters that recognize one another and say certain phrases when they start the battle or switch out.
While fighting games aren’t usually known for having a stellar story (or any storyline at all occasionally) we have seen quite intuitive storytelling in the past from fighting games and it is unfortunate that MvC3 wasn’t given a better narrative considering the large amount of source material that it could draw upon.
Players will know what they are in for immediately when the game turns on the first time and are presented with a warning that says that the game will contain lots of flashing lights and anyone prone to seizures would have to take special precautions. Especially considering there are times that the player can perform Hyper Combo attack with all three of their fighters and cause plenty of large flashing laser beams and extremely fancy attacks. Beyond that MvC3 features a stylized blend between great looking 3D models and cel-shading that definitely lends a unique look to the fighters
Characters are brightly colored and each appears just as if they were fighting in their very own video game. The most unique feature that I found was the fact that many of the characters still happened to retain certain features that could easily have been passed by, such as Amaterasu having grass and flowers springing to life wherever she steps. If you have heard of the characters fighting then you will know exactly what they look like considering the fact that all of these characters are as true to their original designs as possible.
Usually a fighting game wouldn’t be praised for its audio and voicework, but MvC3 is certainly an exception to that rule. First of all, each of the characters in the game has their own theme song which is an extremely nice touch, and plays when you view their artwork or character model. Some of these songs may not be familiar but always are relevant to the character they are attached to, either from a past video game or from their comic book origins. Combine these theme songs with the fast paced and energetic music in the background of each fight and you are in for a blood pumping good time.
Earlier I mentioned the fact that characters often speak to one another if they recognize one another. This is perhaps one of the best features of the dialogue system in the game. There are countless combinations to be had when you select your fighters, and they will interact with one another as you swap them in and out of battle. My favorite so far was when Darkstalker’s Felicia finishes a battle against Ameratsu and says she wants to play with the puppy again. These character interactions are a nice touch, including the fact that you can switch the voice acting between English and Japanese for any character that you want which gives people a chance to change their character interactions just a bit.
Players will have the opportunity to select between thirty two different fighters with sixteen from each world. There are quite a few new faces to the ranks, plenty of old favorites are returning just the same. Perhaps the loss of some of the more obscure fighters from years gone by was done to make room for the more popular characters of today? But considering MvC 2 had a fighting roster of fifty six different fighters (some similar to one another) it is disheartening to see such a drastic cut in number.
Despite that fact players will be introduced into the game right from the get go. There are a number of modes available for play, such as your standard Arcade Mode where most of your time will be spent, multiplayer where you can do battle with those around the world, and Mission Mode. Now Mission Mode can be seen as an in-depth training mode to help show how to use a specific characters special moves and combo attacks. Each of the thirty two characters has ten different missions of increasing difficulty that will give players a chance to learn their favorite characters both inside and out.
As you enter a real fight you will notice that battles will take place with three man teams each ready to do battle until the finish with one another. A feature that was implemented perhaps to make the game easier to pick up for new players changes the course of battles drastically. The feature I am talking about is the Simple Control scheme mode. This mode changes your entire attack scheme to feature special moves and attacks that would normally require a relatively large amount of button combinations to perform, as well as give players a one-touch Hyper Combo activation button, and even a team Hyper Combo activation button as well.
Now Simple Controls aren’t the end all of the game, due to the fact that despite the ability to perform special attacks on the fly, you are stuck using only certain special moves. Sure you will be able to perform Snap Backs, where you forcibly switch your opponent’s character, and Aerial Team Combos, switching your own character out while continuing a combo attack, as simple as anyone can ask for. The true abilities of the characters still lay within the Normal Mode which allows the full spectrum of attacks to be used which means that despite an easy to enter option; the true heart of the game lays within the complicated combo attacks that fans of the series love.
Another feature added into the game this time around is the X-Factor ability which is activated at any time during a fight by pressing all the attack buttons at one time. This X-Factor is only available once during a fight and will change the face of your fight drastically depending on when you use it. The X-Factor will increase your team’s movement speed, damage output, healing power and makes you resistant to any minor damage. This means that if you are currently on a losing end of a battle, the X-Factor could completely swing things your way.
The reason I mention that the losing end of the battle would be the best time to use it is because the X-Factor appears to be stronger and more effective when players are down to only one fighter. The duration appears to change depending on the fighters that you have left in your arsenal and using it in the beginning of a fight can sometimes be your downfall if your opponent held onto their own last minute. The game changing ability of the X-Factor adds even more strategy to what can be seen as an in-depth fighting game already.
Now despite the additions of the X-Factor and the Simple Control mechanic, MvC 3 will play quite similar to what fans of the series will know and love. There have not been too many changes to the gameplay formula. But thankfully one thing that has changed is the balancing of the games’ fighters. Sure there are still going to be fan favorites and powerhouse fighters but the inclusion of the X-Factor has made it so despite the fact that players may use Dante, Storm and Deadpool to try and take your force out quickly, you always have a trump card.
Now the multiplayer aspect of MvC 3 will give players the chance to do battle in Ranked, Player, and Lobby Matches and unfortunately the Lobby Matches are the scene of a missed opportunity. Players can enter a lobby of up to eight different players from around the world and wait it out to do battle against one another. The main problem of this is the fact that, although you can talk with one another via your microphone, you cannot actually see the fight happening at the time. There is a small display shown on the side showing the fighters’ roster health but that is all. There is a missed opportunity to allow those in the lobby to not be able to view the fight at hand.
Another thing to take notice of is the fact that there is no option to record your previous fights. We’ve all been in a situation where we have either wiped the floor with an opponent or recovered from said floor wiping to get a miracle victory, but unfortunately there is no option to save your fighting prowess to show off to your friends and fellow fighters.
Earlier I asked if Marvel vs Capcom 3 would be the game that fans of the series have been waiting for and the answer to that question is yes. There is a remarkably large amount of detail placed inside of the cel-shaded box of MvC 3 and with its revamped character roster, easy entry/hard mastery controls, and new fighting mechanics it is easily one of the best fighting games you can ask for. Despite the fact that there isn’t any storyline worth speaking of, Marvel vs Capcom 3 has a lot to offer in unlockable artwork, character models, and even titles to show off online. With only a few small hiccups in the road, Marvel vs Capcom 3 can go down as a successful continuation of the series.
I give Marvel vs Capcom 3