Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Marvel vs. Capcom 3

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Awhile ago, I wrote an editorial on how I thought, just from seeing the videos alone, that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 might suck. My biggest complaints were the characters, the three button attack scheme, and the graphics. Well, after some extensive playtime with the game, I can honestly say that all of my worries were unfounded and absolutely wrong. So, you were right, fanboys, you were right. I’ll eat my own words, I was wrong. The only argument from that article that I do still stand behind though is that it’s not as good as MvC2. But could it have ever have been? Probably not.

Let’s get to the characters first, as that was one of the major problems that I foresaw back then. The characters in this game are just fine and are so different that it’s like learning to play MvC all over again. Arthur is very different from Trish, who’s very different from Deadpool, who ‘s very different from Wesker, so you’ll spend hours upon hours just finding your perfect team (mine’s X-23, Hsien-Ko, and Akuma. Who knew?). One thing I don’t like about some of the characters though is that some of them are absolutely worthless in my hands. That doesn’t mean that they’ll be worthless in other people’s hands, and I can definitely see more balance with this roster than in the last game. But I can’t use Haggar or Thor to save my life, even though those were two of the characters that I wanted to play as the most when I initially heard that they were in the game. In this way, it kind of saps a bit of the fun for me, knowing that even with practice I won’t be able to use them since I’ve developed my own sort of rhythm with the game.

And that’s something that’s pretty new for me in the series—the rhythm. I don’t know how other people feel about this, but this game just seems to move differently than the previous two installments. I’ve always been one for air combos; it was never an integral part of my play style in the past two games. But with the new special attack button that launches characters into the air much easier than before, I find that half of my battles now take place in the sky. In this way, lumbering characters like Sentinel or Thor just don’t do it for me. I pretty much can’t even use them. My rhythm is too fast for characters such as those.

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But again, I think this all comes down to the rhythm of how you play MvC3. Some might prefer that slow paced style of attack. I just don’t. In that way, MvC3 is a very unique fighter in that it actually develops around you rather than you developing around it, which is fascinating. I never thought that that would happen with the new control scheme.

And about that new control scheme. I was initially worried that this game was going to play too much like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, which I wasn’t too fond of. But this is MvC through and through, and the unlimited playability of the franchise returns with this game. As I mentioned before, there’s a new special attack button that can be used to either strike or knock enemies into the air. In that way, the game still actually retains the four button format but alters it slightly, making it much easier to cobble together combos, but still satisfying because of the aforementioned air game, which can lead to ridiculous combos once you ease into it. The only problem that I have with the controls is that for some reason, they seem to fail me whenever I’m getting my ass handed to me. It’s like, unless I’m dominating a match, I’m getting demolished, so there’s no balance in-between for me. I’m screwed.

The new X-Factor tries to rectify that though by giving you a fighting chance. When you hit all of the face buttons at the same time, you can get a limited amount of time to make a comeback with much stronger attacks and mobility. Still, I don’t feel as confident in this game as I did in the previous MvC's. In those games, I felt that no matter how low my health got, I always had a fighting chance of winning. But with this game, I just feel like my controller is working against me sometimes. I wonder how it would play out in the arcade. It might be better. Or maybe even worse.

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But it’s hard to stay mad at a game this pretty. If you remember from my previous article, I complained that I didn’t like the new visuals. And while I still prefer the hand-drawn look, I have to say that these visuals have finally grown on me. The specials look pretty spectacular, and all of the old moves from the last game, like Iron Man’s “Repulsor Blast” look really spiffy now with the new colors. The backgrounds are also pretty nifty and add a nice touch, especially the Ghost and Goblins stage. That said, all the things going on on-screen can get a bit too chaotic at times. So much so that you sometimes don’t know what’s even going on during the game. But I think that has always been a part of the fun with the MvC series—the visual overload.

In closing, MvC3 is another classic from Capcom, with only a few nagging issues that may just be my own problem. I definitely say pick it up though if you’re any sort of self-respecting fighting fan. The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance!

Players: 1-2
Platform(s): Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
ESRB: Teen
Rating: Four stars out of five

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