Change is Good…Mostly
When Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was originally announced, fans the world over were excited. It had been so long since MvC 2 had been released, and fans couldn’t wait to get another taste of the tough yet stylish gameplay that had marked the series thus far. However, as we got closer to release and more information was given about the game’s development, Marvel vs. Capcom enthusiasts started worrying about the new shape the game was taking. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds certainly represents an evolutionary leap for the series, but undoubtedly, some fans will be left cold by some of the changes made. However, if you take the package by itself and leave the history behind, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is a tight and accessible fighter that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The biggest change to the series at-large is the battle system. While Marvel vs. Capcom 2 used a battle system that closely resembled the Street Fighter series (with two buttons each assigned to kick and punch functionality), Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ditches this system completely and uses a three button system that has light, medium, and heavy attacks. There is also a button assigned to trigger special attacks. This system is a little tough to wrap your mind around at first, and for someone who spent quite a lot of time mastering classic characters, I found it tough to re-train my brain.
However, once I got the hang of it, I found myself enjoying the new battle system. It feels much more modern than its predecessors, and though it lacks the depth of the combat found in games like BlazBlue or Street Fighter IV, the inherent accessibility in the game made it easy to pick up and play, and I found myself diving into the game’s training mode and performing advanced offensive moves with ease.
In addition to the easier approach to the battle system and rapid-fire combo ability, I was also able to use the little nuances of the battle system to start playing strategically. Though any fighting game enthusiast will tell you that you need a strategy no matter what title you are playing, games with simpler battle systems often fall victim to the “press more buttons to win!” issue. However, Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s battle system allows for counter, blocking, and swap strategies to be employed easily. Sure, it’s easy to jump in and beat the game’s offline arcade mode by slamming your palm against the buttons and the d-pad, but if you really want to hone your skills and develop skills in the online arena, you’ll have to practice your moves, learn how to take cues from other characters, and strategically plan how to take down your opponents.
While it is fun to play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for hours on end and plumb the depths of its battle system, the overall experience was a little hollow. Aside from the game’s arcade mode (which really is just criminally short…most players will probably only need a half-hour to burn through it) and the online mode, there isn’t much to do in the game. There’s a mission mode, which works essentially as extended training for each character; a proper training room; and a “collectibles” area where you can check out concept art and other digital goodies. Though these are all good additions, none of them are enough to hold your attention for long, and I really wish that more modes would have been included.
Add to that the fact that there are only four unlockable characters, and you’ve got a game that doesn’t give the average gamer much reason to come back. Sister game Tatsunoko vs. Capcom featured plenty of extra modes, content and unlockables, and the fact that it was a Wii-exclusive almost puts Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s lack of content to shame. The fact that the roster was also cut by more than twenty is also a bone of contention. I know that the DLC pay model is lucrative, but I really wish that more would have been included with my initial purchase, as I don’t know how I’m going to rationalize paying additional money just to get the same amount of characters I would have gotten in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
Still, even though I was disappointed in the lack of overall content, I can’t deny that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has some excellent production values. The game looks great, and even though many fans were a little wary of the game’s new visual style before it was released, I think the new visual style fits in well with the new, modern theme that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is going for. Character models are all detailed, and animations are seamless. Special commendation also has to be given to the stage design, which represents the different universes in great detail. Everything from the quasi-zombies in Resident Evil’s Tri-Cell labs to the rainbow bridge to Asgard in Thor’s stage is rendered in loving detail, and give an extra bit of credibility to the game among longtime fans.
The sound is also produced well, but hearing the same catchphrases over and over gets old fast. I don’t care how much affection you have for Nolan North, hearing Dante tell you about his style over and over and over again grates on your nerves. Each character only has a few lines of dialogue (even in the game’s quasi-story Arcade mode), and if you are taking your game online, it’s best to mentally prepare yourself to hear the same old cheesy one-liner again and again. The background music isn’t as annoyingly repetitive as the voiceover, but you will definitely tire of it soon enough, as it is not all that varied between stages.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is certainly a departure for the MvC series at-large, and if you are not open to change within the franchise, then there is no way that you will enjoy this title. In fact, you’ll probably hate it. However, if you can accept that the franchise needed to modernize, and are willing to learn the new battle system, you’ll find a game that is accessible, fun to play, and will be a sure-fire crowd pleaser at local gatherings. Just don’t expect the experience to last too long. Even though there is a lot to love about Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there just isn’t enough content to put it in the same league with the upper echelon of fighting games. And no, potential for future DLC doesn’t count.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.6 Graphics
Graphics are highly stylized and look great. Backgrounds represent their universes extremely well. 4.5 Control
Though longtime fans may lament the new control scheme, once you get over the learning curve the battle system feels very intuitive. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music and voice-over snippets are very repetitive, and I can’t help but wish they gave more than 4-5 catchphrases for each character. 3.8 Play Value
The arcade mode is very short, and the lack of substantial unlockables makes this one a bit of a bummer in terms of play value. Still, you’ll at least have fun both online and offline with the new battle system. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|