by: Marc "DjinniMan" Allie
There’s a saying about pizza, and another common recreational activity that isn’t appropriate to discuss on a family friendly site: “even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good”. That sentiment could very easily be applied to Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. The game is an incredible, over-the-top, and exciting ride, whether you are a button mashing newbie, an accomplished veteran, or anywhere in between.
As a long time fan of fighting games, I’ve played my fair share of Street Fighter and it’s legion of clones. Most of that time was spent in arcades, but in recent years, the genre has come back to home consoles, with a vengeance. Soulcalibur, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken have made recent appearances, as has Capcom’s own Street Fighter series. Though these games are great, they have the most appeal to the hardcore fighting game fan, the one who masters one character enough to win often in online battles, and who might never play another character at all. For the casual fan like myself, who could throw a fireball or dragon punch but could never dream of twenty-hit combos, this new crop of fighting games was of limited appeal, to say nothing of my wife and kids.
But there’s something different about Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. The learning curve has been plowed down to a far more manageable level. The control scheme has been revamped to cut down on needless complication. There’s even a simple control scheme available, which trades the full variety of attacks for a simpler, one button method of using special attacks. This is perfect for kids or super-casual gamers who can still have access to most of the coolest moves. For veterans, the changes to controls tweak the experience enough to keep things interesting, yet still familiar enough for comfort.
The character selection, though not as astronomical as the second Marvel Vs. Capcom title, is still very high, clocking in at over three dozen fighters plucked from the Marvel and Capcom universes. New additions like Thor and Dante join returning stalwarts such as Iron Man and Chun Li. The game uses the same slick visual style as Street Fighter 4, albeit brighter and more dynamic, as befits a game featuring characters from comic books. It’s a visual feast that will make your eyes bleed from high-def carnage, but in a good way.
There are a few areas in which Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 could have been better. Probably the most apparent is the relative lack of unlockable content. There are only four “hidden” characters and we unlocked them in less than a day. Another weak area is the lack of compelling options outside arcade mode. Some might also argue that the game relies more on fanboy shout-outs than on a solid gameplay experience.
Really, though, we’re talking about a game in which super heroes beat up on martial artists, succubi, and demon hunters; it’s not kung-fu chess, and therein lies the appeal. Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is a stellar entry into the series, and it worth a try for even the casual fighting game fan.