Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (MvC 2) was one of the most important fighting games to ever come out. Its depth in 3vs3 gameplay provided solid entertainment for an infinite number of hours – proof of which is the fact that it’s still going strong in the competitive scene, eleven years after release.

In those eleven years, fans of the franchise – and fighting games in general – have been clamouring for a sequel. Even more so after the seventh-generation consoles released, because people wanted to see a sequel in HD. While stunts like making MvC 2 available as a downloadable XBLA and PSN title whetted their appetites a little, it still wasn’t enough.

The old favourites return

The old favourites return

Which is why the hype generated when Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced for the PS3 and Xbox 360, following a renewed licensing deal with Marvel, was off the charts. When a game gets as legendary as MvC 2, the sequel usually comes packaged with massive expectations from gamers, some of them unreasonable.  Capcom however, regardless of how unenviable the task was, owed them a game that could deliver an experience that met, if not exceeded, all those expectations – simply because of that eleven-year wait.

Read on to find out just why Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (MvC 3) fits that billing perfectly, and does an admirable job of filling the massive boots MvC 2 left behind.

The first thing you notice when you load up Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the graphic novel style Capcom have adopted for the game’s presentation. Everything from the text used in the menus to the post-battle screens is rendered in the trademark Marvel Comics style, which is a pretty cool touch. The levels and the characters themselves look very pretty and detailed, and stay true to the authentic designs in the source material.

It's the Bionic Commando!

It's the Bionic Commando!

Complementing that is the MT Framework, Capcom’s proprietary engine for most of its current-gen games like Lost Planet, Devil May Cry 4 and Resident Evil 5, that MvC 3 runs on a modified version of. It certainly does its job here, as the game is a very fluid one that never experiences any slowdowns which, as a fighting game, is vital. Load times are almost non-existent and overall, MvC 3 does quite well in the technical aspects.

Controls follow the Tatsuneko vs. Capcom scheme, with individual buttons for light, medium, heavy and special attacks (which will mostly be used as a launcher). Assists and character switches can be activated with a tap or hold of the buttons for your two supports characters. There’s even a Simple Mode that will let those unaccustomed to fighting games learn the ropes for a bit, thanks to the ability to activate combos with a single button. There are drawbacks though, because most of the characters’ powerful combos will be locked to Simple Mode players, so you can’t just use Simple Mode and expect to get the game’s full experience.

Dante is badass, Deadpool is awesome

Dante is badass, Deadpool is awesome

The combo system is ridiculously fluid. The developers have taken a much freer approach, allowing players to chain as many hits as they can imagine and execute. Here’s how it works – as the number of hits in the combo increases, the window to land the next hit gets shorter, thus putting the onus of execution on the gamers themselves, instead of putting in any restrictive barriers. There’s also the ability to call in assists or switch-outs in the middle of an aerial combo, thus making things even more chaotic.

Damage on the whole has been increased, which gives MvC 3 a real on-the-edge feel. When you know that one devastating combo could wipe out your entire health bar, you’ve got to stay focused and not get too relaxed – and this is awesome. You never know when one mistake could cost you your character or your entire team, so MvC 3 really succeeds in keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Better get used to Sentinel curbstomping

Better get used to Sentinel curbstomping

Augmenting that is the x-factor known as… er… X-Factor. Each player starts off with the ability to use one X-Factor at any point in the battle, which will give them boosts in all areas. The boosts themselves increase the more in peril you are, so activating your X-factor when all three of your characters are around isn’t the smartest of ideas. In a sense, X-factor is like a mini-game, choosing the right moment to activate it, in order to finish off your opponent, or stage that ridiculous comeback, is extremely important.

Like all game developers this generation, Capcom have had to make MvC 3 tread the very fine line between too accessible and too hardcore. The game is certainly way more accessible than before, but it stops just short of being too easy, though competitive gamers might disagree. There’s still enough depth in the game to entice the most experienced of fighting gamers, so I’d say MvC 3 does walk the line, and walk it well.

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