Review by ClawsOfSteel
"David's Totally Awesome Yet Disgustingly Lengthy and Completely Comprehensive Review!"
In starting off this review, it should be made clear that I am a junkie when it comes to CAPCOM's games, especially when they make a new action game or (guess) fighting game. I only started really getting into fighting games in the past year or so, but I will say that I am familiar with the gameplay of the first two MvC games, and from looking at them and comparing to this, I have to say two thing: Different, but better.
Marvel vs. CAPCOM 3 is the aforementioned publisher's newest addition to their repertoire of fighting games, and as per their record, it doesn't fail, unless it's failing at disappointing, it does that greatly. What we have here is a fighting game that is as straightforward with it's content as possible, yet so lovingly crafted for both the newcomer (myself included, I suck horribly at these games) and veteran, and if the veterans are complaining, it's because Sentinel don't own noobs like he used to.
But let's get down to the part that you folks actually look at: the categories!
Gameplay, Online and Offline:
This is the absolute best feature of the game, and the reason why I haven't put it down since I got it earlier this week. The controls are solid, and far friendlier for the DualShock/360 Controller user than in Street Fighter IV (it's almost as if they were trying to sell the official fight sticks, nudge nudge). The combat, just like it's predecessors, emphasizes combos, which are pulled off on ground, in the air, and both on ground and in the air. The control scheme has been trimmed down for the sake of the shape buttons, with the addition of the special button, players can now juggle with just the press of a button. The aim of all battles is to try and preserve your fighters' health bars by changing them out when necessary, while simultaneously hitting your opponent with your best moves so as to keep them from doing the same.
The game has a training mode that lets you toggle a wide variety of settings, it's your standard fare all buttered up for maximum training efficiency. The challenges from Street Fighter IV return in Marvel vs. CAPCOM 3, and they are trimmed to just the most effective combos. However, I still feel like my lacking the Mad Catz Official Fight Stick Wallet Rape Edition diminishes my capacity for finishing all of these. Well, that and the necessity for muscle memory that I don't always exercise (Ready! Fight! Mash, mash, mash, mash, mash). At least you are rewarded for completing them with unlocks, just like how you are rewarded for everything you do in that game except for navigating the menus and waiting in lobbies.
A new feature called X-Factor, which can be activated by pressing all four of the attack buttons at once, regenerates your fighter even while they're in play and boosts the effectiveness of their attacks substantially. The effectiveness of this ability is determined by how many of your three fighters are KO'd, 2 being the biggest boost. This feature is great for giving players who are falling behind in a match that much needed boost to pull them out of the nastier spots. But don't think that this is a cheap newbie tactic, as it does not make your fighter play any better.
Speaking of how the game plays, let's cover the controls, as they are a major part of the game play that can make or break a video game. The controls are better than in Street Fighter IV (as I mentioned), but don't think that I say that because the game is more accepting of your lack of proper muscle memory, I say that because the game is much more tolerable of your frantic inputs; when I try to do a quarter circle forward motion (look it up), I don't find myself accidentally jumping, although I will admit to the frantic battling I engage in causing me to mash the attack buttons and panic frequently, rendering charge attacks improbable (all one of them, it's why I can't stand Chun-Li) and making flurry attacks, like Super-Skrull's Tenderizer attack (hit L, M, or H attack rapidly) overly frequent (although that doesn't stop him from being an annoyingly effective foe). But mashing inputs is tolerated in this game, as the combo timing is far more forgiving than it is in, say, Street Fighter IV (I'm going to compare these two games a lot), which is great, because it allows me to experiment more and find more of those groovy ground to air combos that I want to pull off.
There is also the Simple control mode, which eliminates the need for circle inputs and the like (god-danged z motion, away with you); it's a great addition because it encourage newcomers to experiment with the moves they can't normally use well and learn what they can do with each character. Just as you may have thought, however, the drawback is that the range of ability is limited in this control setting, and players wanting to get better will want to move on to the normal control setting. It's still awesome because I can play it with my kid sisters, probably even my grandparents, the possibility is there.
Go ahead and go online, you can create a lobby with up to an 8 player maximum, determine exactly how many of those slots you want to be private, and play with your friends and/or strangers. I find it irritating that you cannot watch battles between other players (that's right, no spectate mode), and there's also the connection issues; I have fast internet, so I know it's not a problem on my end, but frequently, the people I invite have a hard time joining (why must this issue plague so many games?).
Those are minor grievances, as the online mode is what you're going to be playing a lot of once you finish the arcade mode. Speaking of unlockables, there's a small variety of them: 4 hidden characters, an ending for every character, art, alternate openings, voice samplers, and a plethora of titles and icons for your license (a.k.a. your online tag for the game). The 4 characters increase the roster from 32 to 36 (or 34 to 38, Amazon didn't stock the special edition), which may not seem like a lot to unlock, and certainly less than the roster that Marvel vs. CAPCOM 2 had, but that is because CAPCOM put more time into developing each character, and so there's a lot more balance (and Spider-Man can actually kick Sentinel's butt)
In short, the game play in this game is fantastic, and it elevates this game to a high priority status for those who enjoy the fighting genre, but we still haven't covered the rest of this game.
Holy crap, does this game succeed in that area as well, so long as you are only counting the look and sound of it. The graphics are good, but they only shine because of the fantastic character models and art design. The slick comic book style accentuates the characters and the environs they combat in, everything comes to life and has a charm to it. It's all very arcade-reminiscent and causes this sense of child-like familiarity and nostalgia to emerge in you, even though the game itself is fresh and new.
I hardly notice any clipping, and now that I mention it, I haven't seen it at all yet. The character models are very well integrated, and everybody interacts with each other really nicely. There's a lot going for this 2D fighter with it's 3D appearance, as it abandons the look of it's predecessors for a more eye-popping dimension of the third kind.
The animations are superb, everything from walking to jumping to kicking and punching is made up very well and dispels the sense that you are playing the game in a way, you are playing a game and the characters are alive. There's nothing to gripe about in this department, honest and truly.
The sound is great, all the actors were cast well and fill their roles properly. Deadpool sounds amused and insane, M.O.D.O.K. has that campy villainous voice, Super-Skrull has that voice of an evil, world dominating alien to him, Arthur sounds like a heroic knight with a sense of honor and chivalry, and Wolverine has that aggressive grizzled sound that rings true of his character. The voices for the CAPCOM characters can be toggled in English or Japanese individually, which is great, because the Japanese voice for Akuma sounds awesome, although the English one isn't bad, either.
The music is arcade to the core, with it's synthesized chimes and chords, and it's all very catchy. A lot of the Marvel characters had original themes composed for them, and many of them are fantastic, but it's the remixes for the CAPCOM characters that I love, especially Arthur's and Spencer's, which make me nostalgia like an arcade monkey. The music is dynamic and changes with the defeat of each primary fighter the second player is controlling, which makes me wonder why it couldn't alternate on the first player once in a while, but it's no biggie, and it guarantees more variety to the tunes.
The greatest failure of this game is the story, and to put it plainly, it just sucks. In fact, it isn't even there, really, you pretty much just have the four opening cinematics, no character specific openings, no rival battles (even though the characters supposedly have rivals, I don't understand at all), and when you beat the last stage, you get a short, oft silly or campy, comic book ending that you breeze through in a couple of seconds, boo. And then Sir Arthur saved the princess by defeating Fin Fang Foom...
This game is a huge value. Even at 60 dollars American, you are getting 36 characters and online play, so any of the petty grievances you have will be overshadowed by the overall quality of the game. Fighting fans, I can't remind you enough, go out and buy this game, and don't even think about it, just do it; you know CAPCOM, they're gonna drop a crap ton of DLC over time, characters included (here's hoping they give them out for free, pretty pleeeeeease, CAPCOM). Point is, this game is highly replayable, and it's variety of difficulty setting for the arcade mode really help extend that lifetime, because you will want to get better, and you will keep playing.
So there you have it, the biggest fighting game to be released this decade, and a definite game of the year contender in my book. It's a must have for every gamer's collection, and it's blemishes are so damned insignificant, why would you care, really?
Go out, buy this game. Friend doesn't have it? Buy them a copy. Play it with your friends, play it with your family, play it with you kids and your parents and your neighbors. Play it online, play it offline, play it by yourself, play it with others, play it with me (PSN: ClawsOfSteel).
10/10 without any question or dispute.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/22/11
Game Release: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (US, 02/15/11)
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