Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Review (Xbox 360)
Posted by Jim Cook, Feb 17, 2011 10:13
It has been about a decade since the last game in this series was made, so Marvel vs. Capcom 3 had very high expectations to meet. It had to keep the last game’s fast pace and high damage combos while simultaneously improving on character balance, yet also be more accessible to new players. Despite a few minor stumbles, overall MvC3 succeeds at all of these goals.
Like its predecessor, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 lets players pick a team of three characters that can be mixed-and-matched from a pool of about 36 choices evenly divided between Marvel Comics and Capcom’s various games. With these teams made, players then fight one another with a variety of punches, kicks, weapons, mutant powers, and so on until one side is out of characters; the basic idea is much like that of Street Fighter. Where Marvel vs. Capcom 3 differs is its emphasis on being very fast and full of opportunities to score huge damage. While you always have one character ’on point’ to do the main fighting and can tag out for one of your others, characters on the sidelines can be called in to provide a variety of assisting attacks; it’s entirely possible to have four characters on the screen at once for brief periods of time.
In a nod to the fantastic world Marvel heroes and villains live in, MvC3’s rules and controls are far more loose and wild than those of Street Fighter. Where Street Fighter rewards methodical ground fighting and keeps characters’ power levels relatively sane, this game encourages high-flying leaps, ways to change your movement in mid-air (Spider-Man’s web swinging, some characters can teleport, and so on), and exaggerated techniques that can take up a pretty big chunk of the screen. Damage is likewise very high, with the typical combo ranging from 30 to 70% damage on a single character and it can get higher in some cases. This might sound bad, but it’s fine when you have three characters instead of just one... and almost everyone on the roster has something ’so good it is unfair’ about them. Instead of being a broken mess of a game however, this wild-by-design combat pays off by being easy to learn and full of exciting combos while making sure most characters have the chance to do these same combos right back to their opponent.
While the fighting is quite fun, building your team and learning about how your characters work together is every bit as enjoyable. In a 1-on-1 fighting game a player might focus on figuring out which character has the fewest unfavorable match-ups, but in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 the emphasis is on your team. You could just pick your three favorite characters and do reasonably well, but this game really comes into its own when you understand the teamwork between your fighters and use them appropriately. If you’re using a slow but powerful character like Tron or Hulk, picking a character with a good projectile assist technique can make it vastly easier to actually get close to your enemy; they’ll provide cover for your heavy character to move in! Or perhaps your long-range character is vulnerable when the enemy rushes them so you might pick Haggar for his powerful lariat assist that reliably gets opponents off of you. This is really just scratching the surface, as team hyper combos and other factors will matter as well.
Somewhat light on single-player content (a basic arcade/story mode is provided, along with a decent training mode), the real emphasis in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is getting you to play against other people. Those unfamiliar to fighting games can use Simple Mode, which leaves you unable to use some of your character’s moves but in return makes using the rest of them vastly easier; a player willing to spend just a few minutes studying how Simple Mode controls work can do reasonably useful combos very quickly, and a series of ’Mission Mode’ tutorials may help you learn regular controls when you’re ready to move on.
Rating: 4.0, votes: 1