Marvel vs. Capcom started out life as a simple, yet insane, hybrid fighter, designed to captivate the mindless Western audience who had an infatuation with button-mashing over actual skill. After an overwhelming reception Stateside, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 upped the challenge for more serious players, and it too proved to be popular. Then a decade passed and there was nothing. It’s a long time for hype and anticipated to build, but Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds has finally made it into the hands of gamers.
A complex fighter – Marvel vs. Capcom 3 continues upon the foundations laid by its predecessor, an immensely important fighting experience last generation, and has obviously learnt from its mistakes. The gameplay is deep, but reminiscent of 2D games from days gone by. It’s a lot more like the Street Fighter of old than anything we’ve played recently, and fans will adore it for that. Having said that, the two fighters are very different, so don’t go in expecting otherwise. The fluid character movement knows what it’s trying to achieve, with simple controls that might initially confuse fighting veterans. On the surface, immediately simple moves appear shallow, but as you uncover a new layer of depth, it becomes apparent that there’s so much more to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 than your mind can comprehend. It’s an insane, hectic fighter than remains true to its roots while offering a simpler control scheme.
Fans will love the insanity – Marvel vs. Capcom 3 remembers why the game was so popular back in 2000. It’s an insane fighting concept, that borders on ridiculous, with intense combos and bright, flashing lights that rival the seizures given by crazy Japanese games shows; in fact, there’s a warning for this at the beginning of the game. There’s always something happening in the heat of battle, made even more enticing by the prospect of your favourite Capcom and Marvel characters either teaming up or becoming bitter rivals. A decade may have passed since the last instalment, but the enthusiasm to consume the bizarre world of Marvel vs. Capcom is still going strong.
Simpler controls with deep Combos – It’s somewhat of an oxymoron, but Capcom has tried to incorporate fairly simple controls with a vast roster of complex combos with the new Simple Mode. It does away with buttons for punches and kicks, and replaces them with the more user-friendly light, medium and heavy attacks. The devastating hyper combo is now mapped to one button, instead of a string of complex sequences, and the same can be said for special attacks; the whole control scheme has been streamlined for better and for worse. While it’s certainly much easier to play, but not master, characters do lose several of their special attacks as a direct result in Simple Mode.
X-Factor – Everyone loves having X-Factor, and MvC3 is no exception. Entering the new X-Factor mode, by simultaneously hitting the action buttons, makes your attacks more powerful and restricts chip damage. Furthermore, in this three-on-three fighter, X-Factor is more powerful if you have fewer characters remaining. It adds an unprecedented level of tactical depth, and can often turn the tables on a battle that looked to have a clear victor.
Less characters are more & they look superb – One of the biggest changes to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the reduced character roster. It’s been downgraded from 56 to 36, but for good reason. In MvC2, a handful of characters dominated proceedings. This time around, each character is on an even keel. While the roster is diverse with unique characters that have their own niche abilities from the worlds of Marvel and Capcom, it has found a balance that the past games were lacking. The extravagant world of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is brought to life with stunning visuals that immediately immerse the player in the hectic gameplay. There’s always something crazy going on, which can be hard to follow at times, but it’s been brought to life with amazing comic-inspired visuals.
Online is key – Online play is conclusively the most important feature, and fortunately it works well during the heat of battle. You’d be hard pressed to find success heading directly online, but once you’ve completed your apprenticeship with the single player game modes, it’s time to take it to the masses. Online matches run well, especially with evenly match players, with minimal traces of lag to be found.
Lack of longevity – Unlike other fighting games, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will struggle to hold your attention for more than a handful of weeks. Besides the story, there are mission and training modes, but these will hardly keep you occupied. The simple control scheme means there’s no need to spend hours training, and missions start to feel dull and boring halfway through. The training mode, however, is actually fantastic, with seemingly infinite scenarios that can be set-up and practiced. It just isn’t enough on its own with a below-par mission mode.
Multiplayer is lacking – Online multiplayer may be the key, but outside of fighting, it gets boring fast. It’s like watching paint dry when you’re waiting for your turn in a lobby while others duke it out. It doesn’t do much to better the online experience of Super Street Fighter IV, and does away with most of the secondary features that made it such a compelling online fighter; if that’s what you’re looking for, stick with Street Fighter IV.
The Final Verdict
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is a fantastic hybrid fighter that deeply engages its audience into a hectic world of combos and bright flashes. It’s more welcoming to button-mashers than Street Fighter IV, but will take just as long to master and doesn’t quite offer the same stellar online play. Having said that, it won’t disappoint long-time fans and offers the same insane gameplay they’ve been waiting a decade for.