It’s been a long time coming, but Capcom is back with a proper follow-up to its hit arcade series, Marvel vs Capcom. MvC 2 is one of my favorite and most-played games on my PS2, but now Marvel vs Capcom 3 is out and taking a whole new group of players for a ride. So, is it worth the $59.99 to buy? Read on and I’ll give you the rundown of Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Easily the first thing to talk about is the character selection. Are all the old fighters back? No, not everyone made the cut, with some mainstays like Cyclops, Cable, and even Mega Man getting eliminated from the roster. Instead, a handful of new fighters like Chris Redfield, Viewtiful Joe, Deadpool, and Taskmaster show up to brawl it out in 3-on-3 matches. While some of the choices are odd now, it’s hard to feel too worried that your favorites won’t show up eventually via DLC. But I’m getting ahead of myself; we’ll get to DLC later.
Graphically, MvC 3 is vastly different from MvC 2 since the new title has full 3D graphics, a style that surprisingly works really well here. The initial hesitation that the incredibly fast fighter wouldn’t look right is a fear you can put out of your mind. It looks amazing and plays just as smoothly (by which I mean speedily) as the games that have come before it.
The sound quality is also at an exceptional level with characters and sound effects exuding the lovely charms needed for a game of this type. Every character has a handful of pre-match trash talk they cycle through, some of which is even worth just playing match after match to hear, such as pretty much anything Deadpool has to say. Then again, would you expect anything less from the Merc with a Mouth?
If you’ve been playing MvC 2 to get in shape for 3, you’re going to be woefully disoriented as the two games play vastly different. The controls are simplistic this time compared to other technical fighters, even going so far as to add a game-changer meter called the “X-Factor.” What X-Factor does when activated is crank your character’s speed and attack for a short period of time (longer if they’re the last of your team left fighting), allowing you to entirely reverse a match in the Eleventh Hour without much difficulty. While this is something I’m okay with as a casual fan of fighting games, this completely breaks any chance at high-level tournament play. Seriously, if you enter X-Factor with five full bars of power and you’re playing as, oh, let’s say Iron Man, your opponent has no chance to beat you as you spam your Big-Ass Blaster (pretty sure that’s his attack’s name).
The plus side to all the changes is the excellent balance added to the character list. Instead of nerfing some of the stronger characters, every returning character got better, a tactic I’m really happy about. Each character plays different enough that you’ll have your work cut out for you learning the specialties of each. However, this is aided by one of the best features the game has to offer: A training mode specifically designed to teach you how to effectively use each character. How this works is there are specific challenges exclusive to each character that you can train through and pass, typically resulting in a newfound understanding of how that character functions in critical situations. I’m the type that needs tons of help when figuring out fighting games, so this is pretty much the biggest selling point for me.
However, the deal breaker may be the relatively small roster. MvC 2 had 56 characters (that’s insane!), whereas MvC 3 has only 36 to begin with. Two have been announced as DLC (Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath), included in the special edition version, but who exactly will appear in future DLC packs is a mystery. The worry here is that these DLC characters won’t be free (extremely doubtful), meaning for a completed roster you’ll have to continually plunk down the cash for new characters, lest you find yourself unable to compete online at a proper skill level. The looming threat of DLC is what will keep me from buying this game right now in favor of picking up the “Super Special Edition” in about a year or so when Capcom does a remake/re-release for the title. And don’t say they won’t do it because they did it for both Resident Evil 5 and Street Fighter IV.
For what you’re paying for, there’s a lot here to entertain both the casual and the hardcore fighting fans. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is at its best when you’re playing against your friends, but even solo you’ve got a great game to learn and play through. I highly recommend giving MvC 3 a serious rent at the very least, though there’s a high chance you’ll just like it too much and want to keep it around past the rental period. You make the call, but don’t forget about Capcom’s remake/re-release history. The threat is ever-present.
Want more game reviews? Check these out: