Greetings, gamers. If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent every moment of free time these past few days trying to play as much of the “smash. hit.” Marvel vs Capcom 3 as possible. Now, before we get into the review, I will give fair warning that I am not only a Marvel fanboy, but also an Xbox loyalist. So this review is for the Xbox 360 console, as well as heavily centered on the Marvel side of the roster. And since this is a Spidey fan site, you better believe that he is our main focus and featured in all our screen caps. If you would like a more fair and balanced approach, you can find a review on all the major gaming sites, or you could pick the game up yourself. But for now, I’m gonna to take you for a ride.
Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Style: 1 or 2-Player Fighter
Pubisher and Developer: Capcom
ESRB: T (Teen)
Story: Marvel’s most diabolical villains have united with Doctor Doom and formed an alliance with the evil Albert Wesker. This unholy union has inexplicably resulted in the appearance of the planet-devouring Galactus who attempts to destroy the Marvel and Capcom Universe. Now it is up to the heroes of both worlds to unite, stand against Galactus (who, fortunately, is not represented as a storm cloud), and save their two worlds.
Any fan of the Marvel vs Capcom fighting series should be aware that a robust plot line was not part of the deal for this game. The main focus of these games have always been providing a large stable of characters for the gamer to choose from, and the over-the-top, non-stop, three-on-three brawling that ensues. In those categories they don’t disappoint, but we’ll get to those later. All 36 of the characters (18 from each universe) have a unique story ending and subtle nods to their comic book or video game roots.
As I am a Marvel fanboy through and through, I usually play with the Marvel side of the roster, only occasionally dabbling with the Capcom side. The Marvel endings I have seen have been entertaining and seemingly true to their characters. However, it seems no one informed Capcom about Amazing Spider-Man’s Brand New Day story, since Spidey still sweats MJ, and Jonah still hates Spidey. Capcom justified the discrepancy by saying they like the “classic” Spider-Man story and character.
The game features witty banter between the characters, as well as references to character backgrounds. When Street Fighter’s Akuma defeats Wolverine, he references the mutant’s stint as Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death; Magneto compares Dante from the Devil May Cry games to his son, Quicksilver; and Spencer, from Bionic Commando, tries to tell Spider-Man that he doesn’t “know nothing ‘bout swinging.”
Characters and costumes: Marvel vs Capcom 3’s predecessor hit the arcades in 2000, and during the decade between the two game releases, a lot has changed for Marvel and Capcom. This third entry in the gaming franchise has 20 fewer characters than the previous one. It features a lot of a new faces, and sports a couple of notable absences.
Spider-Man is the only representative of the Spidey-family this time, much to the chagrin of many players, since the fan-favorite Venom was excluded. There have been rumors of a Doc Ock appearance later. The X-Men clan has been thinned down a good deal. Their most popular character, Wolverine, returns, along with Storm and Magneto. They are joined by fighting newbies X-23, Deadpool and Phoenix, who can succumb to the power of the Dark Phoenix when she is overwhelmed.
Capcom decided to pull from a much wider range of games to represent their side. Arthur, from the game Ghost ‘n Goblins, becomes a playable character this time around, as well as Amaterasu, the paintbrush wielding wolf from the Ōkami game series. The Resident Evil games provide two more characters in Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker, while Street Fighter loses several of their characters, including Guile and M. Bison. With characters like Viewtiful Joe and Amaterasu, it feels as though Capcom neglected some of their more popular fighting characters in an attempt to bring fans of other game genres into the series.
I find the selection of characters somewhat lacking at times, as I found most of my time was just spent using Spider-Man, Captain America and Magneto. I’ve put in over twenty hours on this game so far, and all three of those characters have above a 95% usage rate. The exclusion of any member of the Fantastic Four team, or the original X-Men, Cyclops and Iceman, leaves me wanting more. Hopefully Capcom plans to support this game for a while with new characters and costume changes as downloadable content. The first batch of new DLC is planned for the beginning of March.
And speaking of costume changes… all characters sport three variations of their original threads. The most notable of these costumes belong to Spider-Man, since we all know he has an affinity for new looks. Peter Parker can Spidey-suit up in his classic red and blue, or change into his darker symbiote suit, his Iron Spider armor or even his latest sound- and light-bending suit featured in the “Big Time” story. Wolverine has his classic brown and yellow outfit, Hulk and She-Hulk can turn into their Red Hulk counterparts and Captain America can even go all Comrade Commie with a Red Guardian variant.
Gameplay and moves: Marvel vs Capcom 3 plays like the majority of the other games in this series: very fast action, a focus on special moves and hyper attacks, and bright, flashy graphics. In other words, it can get pretty insane. The player chooses three team members to fight against another team of three. The fight lasts one round as you attempt to eliminate all your opponents’ team members. While one character is fighting, he can summon his allies in for an assist attack, to swap places with him, or to team up on a combo move to provide a more devastating attack.
Capcom said they wanted to make this game more accessible to everyone and not just gamers. In order to do this, they stripped down the basic attack controls, no longer distinguishing between punch or kick buttons. Special moves are easier to pull off now, only requiring a variation of a light, medium or heavy attack input. Launching your opponent into the air to set them up for an air combo is as simple as pushing a different button. When low on health or teammates, you can use an X-Factor (available once a match) to boost your speed and damage, often times turning the table on your opponent.
Character moves are various and provide different play styles but the majority of the special moves all follow the same basic commands. Once you have the hang of pulling off the moves of one or two characters, you should have no problem figuring them out for the others. Characters have different strengths and weaknesses. Dante can chain together a string of devastating sword and gun attacks while the slower Sentinel can sit back and call in electric attacks or missles. Albert Wesker causes havoc as he teleports around the screen, and Spider-Man web-zips and swings over people’s heads in order to get in close and fight the way a spider can.
You can store up to five hyper combo gauges which can be used to unleash devastating super attacks on your opponent. Some characters even have a level three hyper-combo attack which does more damage but will cost more to use. Unfortunately Spider-Man does not have one of these level three moves, but his Crawler Assault is a great ultra move that can easily chain to more destructive attacks by his teammates.
Game modes and multiplayer: Once the thrill of taking Galactus down in Arcade mode has worn off, you can take your skills online to test your mettle against other players for fun or in a ranked match. The online experience is missing a few components that could make it more enjoyable, such as a tournament mode, or being able to watch battles while in a lobby with other players. All these features can be found in Capcom’s Super Street Fight IV game, so hopefully it can be adapted here in time.
One of the downsides of all the special moves and team assists in the Marvel vs Capcom games is that it makes it a haven for spammers, players who enjoy using one or two moves over and over again. While that may be fun for some people, I find that it takes some of the pleasure and replay value out of the game. Whenever I face someone spamming a character like Dormammu or Dante, I excuse myself after the game and try to find someone less interested in that repetitive style of play. Avoiding random online encounters altogether by playing with friends is a much more enjoyable experience.
Those who want to avoid multiplayer can use the Mission game play where you can learn and practice the moves and combo attacks of all the characters. There is also a Training mode where the computer can be passive or aggressive to help you train. While training or playing in the Arcade mode, you can have the computer search for any online games to avoid the hassle of having to search the lobbies yourself.
Graphics and visuals: If this game is anything, it’s bright and beautiful. The colors are flashy, and several of the moves are accented by red or yellow broad strokes which cut into the screen. Lightning and flames routinely take up the whole stage thanks to characters like Thor, Storm and Amaterasu. The game has a very visual comic book look to it. They use a thick, black outline around the characters to define them and graphic lettering to call out hit streaks and combos. The opening cinematics of the game are visually stunning even though they don’t really do much to explain the premise of the story.
The stages of the game are as respectful of the characters as their moves and quotes are. The Daily Bugle level is a platform rising between the skyscrapers of New York during a parade. Large balloons of Spidey and Servbot, akin to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, float by as photographers from the Bugle tumble in the background, trying to get a shot of the fight. Arthur’s Demon Village is a nice side-scrolling level where you float down a river. You can fight on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier or at the Hand’s hideout, and just like most other Marvel fighting games; you can even train in the X-Men’s Danger Room.
Overall: This game is a great entry to the Marvel vs Capcom series, successfully bringing the franchise up to speed with the next gen consoles. The roster hopefully has room to grow, making this a game to hang on to. The fighting is intense and fun. The graphics are stunning and the characters are refreshing when compared to the decade old graphics of Marvel vs Capcom 2.
The game play is easy and anybody should be able to pick this game up and have a good time. The nods to the comics and games are great. Most of the achievements or trophies, if anybody cares about those, are easily obtainable if you play the game long enough. The head-to-head battles are thrilling and have kept me on the edge of my couch for the past two weeks. A must buy for any fan of fighting games, and a must borrow for any fan of Marvel comics.
Rating: 4/5 Maximum Spiders
“Remember that one time during the fight when it looked like you might actually win? No? Me neither.” – Marvel vs. Capcom 3
“Did I mention I beat up Firelord once? No, seriously. Firelord.” – Ultimate Alliance 2
Intro to battle:
“Spider-sense is tingling.”
“Look out. Here comes the Spider-Man.”
“With great power comes a great beat down.”
“Your Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-Man, at your service.”
“Well aren’t you just the cutest little thing.” (to Viewtiful Joe)
“My slimeball sense is tingling.” (to Wesker)
“You kiss your mother with that face…jeez.” (to Taskmaster)
“You’ve got a black belt in stupid if you think you’re going to beat me.” (to Ryu)
Victory quote (while webbing up a camera and giving it a thumbs up):
“Meh, I didn’t even need my spider-sense for that one.”
“That’s why J.J. pays me the big bucks.”
“Good old Spider-Sense. What would I do without you?”
“Sorry little guy. Beating you up is like stepping on a kitten.” (after defeating Viewtiful Joe)
“You got power Albert, but you’re not very responsible” (after defeating Wesker)
“Going to be hard to copy that butt-kicking.” (after defeating Taskmaster)
“I must admit, beating the living snot out of you is a great feeling.” (after defeating Ryu)
Win screen caption:
“Ugh, late again… MJ is going to kill me.”
“I’m pretty sure even the Spectacular Spider-Ham could beat you.”
“Have you seen that big float of me at the Daily Bugle parade? It… kinda creeps me out.”
“Sometimes with great power comes the great responsibility to beat the beejezus out of somebody.”
“Something tells me Peter Parker got some nice shots of your humiliating defeat for tomorrow’s Bugle.”
“What is it with me and cat women named Felicia? Jeez…” (after defeating Felicia)
“Was that a clone me or a skrull me I just beat? I can never tell the difference.” (after defeating Spider-Man)
“Hey Mr. Wiiiiilllllll-son…. You suck!” (after defeating Deadpool)
“Being a carefree, fun-loving hero is all good, but you wouldn’t ever qualify for the Pet Avengers.” (after defeating Viewtiful Joe)