Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Playground Disputes Quelled

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Arcade, Fighting, Gaming Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Picture the scene; two kids in a playground having the argument almost everyone has at one point in their lives:

“Iron Man could so beat the Hulk”
“NO! Hulk can throw chunks of earth at Iron Man”
“Iron Man can fly! And shoot lasers!”
And so on…

Normally these sort of disputes are rarely sorted, but Capcom’s newest fighting game could go some way to sorting out these arguments; Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds. This is Capcom’s latest attempt to beat the living daylights out of a bunch of well-known characters from a particular franchise. Previously, they laid the beat down on SNK, though they mostly just used characters from Street Fighter, with one or two from other games. Now, to take on the giant of comic superheroes, they’ve brought in characters from many more of their games, including Devil May Cry, Darkstalkers and Megaman.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Developed by Capcom and noted to be the fifth installment in the acclaimed Marvel vs. Capcom franchise

The game itself is about Dr Doom (from Marvel’s Fantastic Four series) and Wesker (of Resident Evil fame) joining forces to bring together the greatest super-villains from both dimensions.  Of course, the heroes from the world of Marvel and Capcom join forces to put a stop to this.  I’ve never felt beat-em-ups needed a plot; just hit buttons and beat the other guy, end of story.  Also, the plot is never really shown in the game apart from the little paragraph in the manual. Guess the developers needed a reason for Captain America to punch Ryu from Street Fighter in the face.

The gameplay is quite simple in this game; you have a light attack, a medium attack, a heavy attack and a special attack (used to send the enemy in the air).  These attack buttons are used in any order to deliver a variety of combos.  Each character has a number of signature attacks too, activated with simple button combination (e.g. Ryu’s Hadoken is used by pressing down, diagonal, forward, attack).  There are also “Hyper Combos” which are extremely powerful multi hit signature attacks. Each are specific to every character, so Viewtiful Joe (from… well, Viewtiful Joe) won’t have an attack similar to any other character.  What is good about this control scheme is it feels free and easy to handle; you can use any button combination to pull off different attacks.  It doesn’t feel as restricted as, say, Tekken, which has a long list of moves for each character, but not much in the way of actual freedom to move around as you see fit.  With the ease of controls in Marvel vs Capcom 3, you now select your characters not by who is easiest to control, but whichever ones are your favourites.  In a game like SoulCalibur 4, you’d normally choose a character by how easy it is to use them.  But think about this; would you rather have a character you’re not too fond of, but with an easy move set, or pick your favourite characters you like playing as, with a simple control layout, that allows for a multitude of combos?

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - X-Box 360 Cover Art

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds - X-Box 360 Cover Art

Graphics wise, it’s top notch; each character looks and move perfectly, with vibrant colours, and very smooth animations.  And don’t think it’s just the playable characters that got the works; even the stages are beautifully rendered.  One example is The Daily Bugle stage.  The background seems to stretch far into the distance, with no indication of it ending.  Looking closer, you’ll notice that while you’re fighting, two photographers are following you and taking pictures; one even leaps in the air to take a photo when you pull off an air combo. It’s the little things like that which I like, and makes me think that Capcom and Marvel have done something not many game developers do nowadays; put actual effort into their games.  It’s nice to see a company put a lot of time and effort into making a game the best it can be (but I’ll go into that in another blog maybe).

The characters in the game all look like they’ve been individually handcrafted; by this I mean they all have their mannerisms and personalities captured perfectly.  For example, Deadpool (debuted in New Mutants #98) is known to be unpredictable, wise cracking, and has a tendency to break the 4th wall.  Capcom capture this very well in the game, making him jump around, have an erratic fighting style, and even talk to the player when he wins the round.  Depending on which characters you pick, and whoever your opponent is, the fighter’s intro speech changes.  When Iron Man enters the fight at the very start, and if a woman is his opponent, he will start to flirt with her.  Again, it’s the little things that add to the fun of this game.

If I have to mark the game down for something, it would have to be the difficulty curve.  Take this scenario; Arcade mode, normal difficulty, stage 5.  Everything is going great, and the player manages to win no problem. Stage 6… complete annihilation from the computer.  The difficulty seems to jump up after a certain point. This is even apparent in the mission mode, where you need to input a particular move to advance; after mission 5 it all gets a bit too hard a bit too soon.

Something else caught my attention, and that is the number of character in this game; there are 36 character altogether, with a further two announced as downloadable content. This doesn’t seem too bad, but in the previous game, there were 56 characters. The only theory I can come up with is that they were wanting to put a lot of detail into the game, so taking out some fighters might have made that a bit easier.  In my opinion, it’s better to have a few distinct and detailed characters, than a lot of potentially similar fighters.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been able to nail down a great recipe for “pick up and play” fighting games.  I thoroughly enjoy playing this game, and it’s one of the few that’s a joy to play online as well as offline.  If they altered the difficulty curve a tiny amount, to make it a bit more gradual, then this would be a near perfect game.

Score: 9/10

Review attached to the side of a goat by: Satchel

By Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

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