Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
If you can believe it, it’s been 11 years since Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was released in the arcade. The fighter really hit its stride when it debuted on the Sega Dreamcast and made a huge comeback as a downloadable title for Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. No one was surprised when Capcom announced a third was on its way, but we were all very pleased. Now that it’s here, how does Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds stack up?
Really, really well.
MvC3 has moved from the classic 2D cartoon fighting of its roots into the 3D realm with a look similar to Street Fighter IV or its step brother Capcom Vs Tatsunoko: 3D fighters with a toony cell-shaded look that mimics the traditional hard outlines of a comic book. In fact, much of the game looks like it was pulled from the pages of a graphic novel. Choosing your team of 3 combatants results in a custom comic book cover (complete with UPC code) that showcases the selection before entering a fight. The characters are complemented by gorgeously rendered and animated backgrounds culled from the Marvel Comic archives, like Thor’s native Asgard, and Capcom’s most famous locations, like the Demon Village from Ghost & Goblins.
The flashy fight and move animations pack no less detail, often filling the screen with strobing colors, fire and ice blasts or hundred of projectiles, enough to warrant a billboard size warning to seizure sufferers. A perfect example is M.O.D.O.K., basically a giant head in a hi-tech tin can. Every single attack he makes starts with him pressing buttons on a control panel, and each move is a different set of buttons. It all happens very quickly, but the detail is there for anyone looking hard enough.
Sound effects aren’t specifically stand-out, but the voice acting is good. You’ll often hear characters addressing specific teammates and opponents by name or with phrases appropriate to what’s happening on screen. Anyone familiar with any of the recent Marvel animated series’ will recognize the voices of Magneto, Phoenix and Iron Man. Music is mostly forgettable, though I’m ecstatic to hear that overly-repeated “Gonna Take You For A Ride” from MvC2 is all but gone. You can still hear the song in one of the menus but it’s been updated and lyrics have been added…THANK GOD.
Gameplay itself is familiar. Pick a team of 3 from 30+ fighters found in the Marvel Comic or Capcom gaming universes. Punch, kick and combo your way through each opponent and swap out or use your teammates as you see fit to find victory. Perform well enough and charge up your Hyper bar to unleash one of several devastating, multi-hit over-the-top attacks to really stick it to your would-be attackers.
Control takes a bit to get used to, but should feel natural. You see, gone are the typical 6 button control scheme: High Punch | Medium Punch | Low Punch and likewise kick. Instead the controls use 4 primary buttons that are contextual: High, Medium, Low and Special. Combos are actually easier to pull off with this scheme and ultimately help to level the playing field for newbies that aren’t as familiar with the Street Fighter like move set.
There’s a ton to like here. I’m not much of a singular player; I like playing online against real humans, but there is an arcade mode that sets you on a 6 level tournament before reaching Galactus, a planet eating boss that’s capable of serving up combos of more than 400 hits. Alternatively you can choose Missions, which equates to performing a choice set of special moves and/or combos by each character against a stand-in to earn experience. XP (earned in just about every aspect of the game) converts to title tags, ranking monikers and other unlockables. I found the majority of the combos in the Missions to be extremely difficult and less satisfying than playing against a real opponent.
Online play is the core though. Join quick matches, step into 8 player lobbies or host your own private lobbies to play with anyone and everyone all over the world. You can be matched to like skill levels or take on better opponents to earn further XP. It’s this constant flow of opponents that make MvC3 so long lasting and replayable.
A couple of issues however. First, when joining or hosting a multiplayer lobby, it’s not possible to spectate a match. Frankly, this is just dumb. I’m sure they had their reasons, and there is a rumor that Capcom intends to add the functionality down the line, but really? Dozens of fighting games on the market, including previous MvC games and every one of them has a spectator mode. So, joining an 8 player lobby has 6 people in a static chat room, with the only indication of a fight going being two sets of health meters that reflect the current match. For private lobbies, this means there’s no heckling, applauding or anything in between because you have no idea what’s going on.
Dear Capcom: this is kinduva no brainer, please work it in.
Secondly, and this is more of a personal preference, you’re able to set your time limit to infinite during regular arcade matches against the computer, but not in online lobbies. The only reason I can see for this is to prevent 2 players from just leaving their controllers on and walking away while everyone else waits, but it’s equally as dumb not to put such a simple and universal feature in.
Finally, I realize this is a much heftier game, both in features and technical achievement, but its predecessor boasted over 50 playable characters. Five Zero. By comparison, 34 (plus 2 unlockable and 2 downloadable) is pretty disappointing. I got most of my favorite characters back (though I miss Gambit) and I’m assuming more DLC will be on it’s way, but I’m not real keen on having to pay for them.
Those peccadilloes aside, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds easily tops my list for Game of the Year (yeah, I know it’s only February) and certainly worth the $59.99 asking price. One I can admit that I paid. No freebie this time around, but I don’t regret it in the least. Now if I can just master these 200 hit combos, I might stand a chance online.
Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is out now for the Xbox 360 and Ps3 consoles and retails for $59.99