I'm sure you've been waiting for this moment for a long time and the third installment of Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom series is finally out! I know it's felt like forever since it was announced and the first trailer reared its head on the internets. Now that I have my sore fingers on a copy, let's get this party started!
Like I said, this is Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, the third installment in the vaulted MvC series. The last one came out 11(!) years ago. The roster has been slimmed down to 36 characters including unlockables (Valkor's note: MvC2 had 56 plus I believe), but there are a lot of new faces here. Most are definitely refreshing to see, but there are some that are more like question marks in the game instead of exclamation points (I'm looking at you, M.O.D.O.K.). The characters are overall faster and easier to play than ever before.
Speaking of easier to play, the controls have been made even simpler than MvC2. Now there are just 3 attack buttons and a "special" button, which is really a dedicated launch button. Tagging and calling assist are relegated to specific buttons for characters. Essentially, one character is mapped to each shoulder button and tapping gets an assist, while holding one down gets a tag out.
I'm a fan of the majority of the new characters. Deadpool is hilarious, Amateratsu is an underdog if there ever was one, and characters like She-Hulk and Haggar just make me warm with nostalgia. Unfortunately, not all characters are created equal. M.O.D.O.K. is a real waste of a character, as his only purpose is to be a punching bag. Tron Bonne is pretty forgettable... again. And then there's the let down that is Phoenix. She's supposed to be the strongest mutant in Marvel history, with mental powers unfathomable to even Prof. X. So can someone tell me why she takes hits like a little girl made of glass?! I mean like 2 air combos and a strong hit and she's done for. And that's if you're lucky. Dark Phoenix is a cool addition for her, but not worth the price of admission. It takes 5 super bars for Phoenix to resurrect as Dark Phoenix, so no super using til she's KO'ed. Her health constantly drains too, so get those beat downs in quickly.
What used to be a contest of getting combos right and hitting the exact combination of buttons, has been replaced with what could be called a paradise for button mashers. Specials hurt, but the real damage comes from air-combos, and continuing them with characters that get tagged in mid-combo. For the most part, combo patterns are the same for all characters, just Light, Medium, Hard, Launch, Jump, Light, Medium, Hard, direction and Special (to tag in new character). Wash, rinse, repeat. While it's still a very fun game, I can see people calling this very "Smash Bros." like.
There's also a new technique called "X-Factor" that is, as Deadpool puts it, "Super anime power up time!" Basically, you glow red and your speed and power get a significant boost. The effects are timed and the fewer support characters you have and less energy, the longer the "X-Factor" lasts. It's a one time per battle kind of thing and definitely meant to aid those who want to have a "Daigo from Evo 2K4" moment. Which, if you haven't seen that, you NEED to head to YouTube right now.
The visuals are top notch and I, nor anyone else, would expect anything less from Capcom. I finally understood all the black shading with the characters when I actually got to play. I was like "Oh, it's supposed to be like you're playing a comic book! Ahh, I see now". There are a few stages that I think are just too much. There are enough fireworks from fireballs and swords; I don't need to have July 4th fireworks going off in the background too. There were times when I lost my characters due to all the visual madness going on behind them.
The audio is nothing to write home about, but it isn't bad either. The music is mostly forgettable. I say mostly because I was giddy when I heard the "Take You For a Ride" remix. As much as some people complain about this and the music of MvC2, this was the signature song and I'm glad it was included. And since it's a very trance like remix, it reminds me of my favorite arcade racing series, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. But that's a story for another article.
Overall, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is awesome. Despite some slight shortcomings, this game is more accessible, more furious, and more over the top than ever. It's definitely living up to the hype that it has and out of 5 TOV stars, it gets a 4.5. So get your arcade sticks out and get to work.