Review: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds
Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is an insane, intense, fun and difficult but rewarding Capcom fighting game.
- Worth The Time?Yes, certainly for fighting game fans, but not necessarily for Marvel/Capcom character fans
- Things LovedThe variety of play styles and characters, the jaw-dropping visuals and graphics design, the over-the top free-flowing gameplay
- Things HatedThe omission of a few signature characters (i.e. Megaman), the steep-learning curve, the difficulty and timing of inputs
- RecommendationThe fighting game depth, if you're a fan of Capcom fighters and crossovers, for the variety of well-represented characters and franchises
- Name: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
- Genre: Fighting
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Online, local
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Price: R600
- Reviewed On: PS3
Marvel versus Capcom 3 is the ten-year awaited sequel to the over-the-top, much loved but controversial MvC2 and after a shocking announcement nearly a year ago, the game is finally available to gamers worldwide. Despite my enthusiasm and extreme love of the game, it’s still an incredibly difficult game for me to review. I could call it a ‘love it or hate it’ game, but that’s not really what it is, because it’s almost certain that a huge number of people are going to enjoy it. But I feel like only a very small audience will be able to appreciate it on the level that it’s designed, while others are going to find the intended craziness of the game too chaotic and unskillful for a fighting game. Despite this, it’s still an amazing game with several of its own merits, but I feel like just hyping it up would hardly be fair for a game of this nature.
So let’s start with the basics. MvC3 follows the systems put in place by its predecessor. Out of a selection of characters from various Marvel and Capcom franchises, you select a team of three and then do battle against other teams. As you’d have expected if you’re familiar with other Capcom fighters, the game takes place in a 2D plane and you get your normal attacks, your special moves and your Hyper Combo combos which use up points from your Hyper Combo Gauge in order to do highly damaging attacks. You play with one character at a time, but you can swap out with your teammates when necessary as well as call them in to assist you with special moves, tag them in to continue your aerial combos or have them appear to chain together Hyper attacks among other things.
Simple enough, it might seem, and the game is designed with beginner friendliness in mind, but yet the game still seems to be incredibly difficult to become proficient at for some reason. Street Fighter 4 was a game which could be enjoyed competitively on several different levels but with MvC3, it seems like unless you’re really good at the game, you’re going to feel like you suck. The speed of the game is a lot faster than what we’re used to from fighters these days and, while the inputs are really lenient, the break-neck pace of the game makes it rather difficult to play, especially for beginners. There is a simple mode included, of course, that makes the combos and special moves a single button press, but it comes at the cost of losing most of your character’s special moves so it’s not really practical for anyone who actually wants to play the game for more than a weekend or something.
While the game is difficult to play, I don’t want to give the impression that it’s alienating or completely unfriendly to beginners, but the learning curve is most certainly steep and players with superior execution skills or knowledge of the game most likely hold a massive advantage. Again, I’ll compare it to Street Fighter 4 here. In SF4, even if you weren’t capable of difficult combos or tricky set-ups, it was still very possible to beat players better than you by intuition, timing and mind games, making the game fun for anyone who learned the basics. In MvC3, by contrast, if you play against even a slightly better player, odds are you’re going to be holding on for dear life as you get death combo’d like nobody’s business. Again, the speed and chaos of the game can make the inputs quite tricky at times and that’s definitely a huge barrier to overcome if you plan on becoming good at the game. If you’re just playing it casually, however, you may still find it frustrating at your tendency to mess up even simple combos at times.
However, like anything really, you’ll get a lot better at MvC3 with good old practice and you’ll enjoy it more. But for most people, who aren’t fighting game aficionados, you’re going to find that ‘cheap’ tactics are a lot more effective in this game than Tekken or Street Fighter and you’ll probably just resort to that. The reason for this is that several characters, like Chris Redfield and Deadpool, have fast and strong ranged attacks that can be ‘spammed’ repeatedly to keep your opponents at bay. While there are obviously effective counters to these strategies, the fact that they’re legitimate and powerful tactics will probably annoy a lot of the less tolerant players. Still, the game isn’t all bad, and while it may be alienating to some players, those who give it a chance and learn it are going are going to find that there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from the combat. While the game offers very little beside arcade mode, versus, training, online and challenge mode, the combat itself is so well presented and fun that you’ll keep wanting to come back to it.
The comic book style graphic design of the game really works well and the models and attack are beautifully animated; MvC3 is definitely the best looking fighting game we’ve seen in a long time. To say that the game looks amazing in action is an understatement of note. And while the game may have a steep learning curve, once you finally figure out the way that the game works, chaining together attacks and combos that look as awesome as they feel is a rewarding experience in itself. The gameplay itself is also deep and fun enough to make just playing training mode on your own to get better a fun enough experience, and when you have friends to play against in this game you’ll increase its longevity dramatically. There are, however a few slight nuances with the game that people are going to take issue with.
Firstly, there’s the fact that high-level combos are incredibly damaging so playing against a player with perfect execution can be about as fun as watching a trailer, especially if you’re outclassed in knowledge and skill. Secondly, there’s the X-Factor ability that you get to use once per match to cancel whatever you’re doing and give you bonuses to damage and speed. The bonuses from X-Factor increase dramatically as your characters die so its primary use is to give you comeback potential if you’re badly losing a fight, but the bonuses from a fully charged X-Factor are so absurd that it’s possible to kill an entire opposing team with a single character, possibly even with one combo each. While playing around or against X-Factor is intended to be a large part of the game, a lot of players are going to take issue with the fact that you can be dominating a match one minute, killing 2 of your opponent’s 3 characters, and then he activates X-Factor and wipes out your entire team with ease. X-Factor also makes you unable to take ‘chip’ damage while blocking, so it can be used to counter your opponent’s X-Factor or for other defensive reasons.
The game has 38 characters with another 2 DLC characters releasing on the 15th of March, which is honestly quite high for a fighting game these days, rivaling Tekken 6’s 40 and Super Street Fighter’s 35 (25 in first SF4). There’s an enormous variety of play styles and the general ‘uneven’ make-up of the characters leaves very few characters even feeling similar yet alone the same. Even Ryu, Morrigan and Akuma, who fans were concerned might be too similar, are so drastically different from each other that they don’t even work in the same teams. There’s a great representation of both mainstream and less common ideas, mostly from the Marvel side, and you’ll see plenty of familiar faces, like Spider-Man and Deadpool, alongside some of the less common characters like Taskmaster and Dormammu. Still, the Marvel side is fantastically represented, with a diverse variety of franchises, references and fighting styles.
The Capcom side, however, while still quite satisfactory, might seem like something of a let down to some people. There are plenty of fan favourites like, Dante, Amaterasu and Zero, but then you have some really obscure characters like Tron Bonne and Hsien-Ko in the face of some glaring omissions like Megaman (isn’t he almost like Capcom’s mascot?) and Phoenix Wright. Still, Capcom roster does offer a deeper selection of characters than the Marvel side in some aspects as several of the characters have previously appeared in fighting games or Japanese action games and there is some consolation with Capcom announcing the high probability of DLC characters in the future.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a very difficult game to rate. It’s not like Street Fighter 4 where we were almost guaranteed that it will be a long-term success loved by pros and newcomers alike. Instead, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is going to be entirely what the community make of it. It draws heavily on MvC2, making it almost seem like a game that was intended for a different generation of gamers, but given the amount of effort put into the game, it has a very good chance of succeeding in today’s times. If it does, then MvC3 is going to be a game that we play and love for years to come as people constantly experiment and discover things years after the game’s release.
However it also seems probable that the chaotic nature of the game may push away experienced players and newcomers alike as they return to more structured fighters, again like SF4. If this happens, it’s possible that MvC3 may fade into obscurity, remembered as being fun while it lasted but ultimately released far too late. Like I said, it’s difficult to say what will happen with a game like this but I’m inclined to believe that it will be extremely popular, but will probably be overshadowed by the future Capcom fighters such Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Street Fighter X Tekken.
*Note: for tons of additional information on the characters, be sure to check out our in-depth character rundowns*
This review was co-written by Tody and EX_Machina