"This will keep nerds entertained until the Avengers movie comes out"

For years, nerds have wondered many important questions: When will I lose my virginity? Is it pathetic that I am 34 and still live with my parents? Who would win in a fight between Albert Wesker and Captain America? I can answer the first two questions with a resounding “Never!” and “Yes!” As for the last question, there is only one authoritative source on this matter and that is Marvel vs. Capcom 3. After a 10 year hiatus, Capcom with Marvel Studios have brought us the third, and best, edition to the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Now all your nerd questions (as they relate to fictitious figures in goofy looking outfits battling to death) can be answered. The real question though is this: Is it a good game?

For starters, the game boasts 36 characters, plus 2 more via downloadable content. With so many characters, you will have numerous team combinations to choose from and each character is pretty well balanced. However, I do believe that once tournament play starts up, we will see pretty much the same characters on every player's team (Magneto/Storm/Sentinel FTW). But this cannot be truly labeled as a fault though. If all the fighters were perfectly balanced, then why not just have two characters instead of 36? Instead, Capcom has given us many characters that are balanced enough to the point where it does not immediately appear to anyone that one character is superior to another.

The graphics are very reminiscent of the previous fighting game released by Capcom, Street Fighter IV. The cel-shaded graphics give the game a very animated, comic book feel, which is fitting since half of the characters are straight from the pages of comic books. The detail of the characters are precise and amazing. If games were scored on graphics alone, then this would get at least a 9.5.

The controls are much more simplistic this time around. First you are given two options: Normal Play and Simple Play. Simple Play is for those who either a) suck at fighting games or b) are new to fighting game and/or the Marvel vs. Capcom series. In this mode, the X button does all the basic attacks (so just mash the hell out of it to create a chain of hits), the Y button is the special attack, the B button is the individual character's hyper combo, and the A button pops the enemy in the air. So now instead of mashing buttons like Michael J. Fox on crack, you can occasionally look like a smooth pro who knows what they are doing. There is a downside though, and that is that you cannot do all of the character's special attacks. At most you can do two out of four, so you will be limited in what special attackss you can perform. With Normal Play, instead of having six attack button (like in MVC2), you have 3 attack buttons (X=light, Y=medium, B=heavy) and the A button which pops the enemy into the air to set-up for air combos. This mode is better suited for those who are savvy with fighting games in general. Another nice plus, is that instead of hitting three buttons at once to do a hyper combo, like in MVC2, you now just have to tap the L-trigger to perform those glorious team hyper combos. Still, this game suffers from a known problem with most fighting games, which is that a mom who mashes random buttons has a strong chance at beating a MVC3 pro.

The story in this game is extremely disappointing. Now I know that fighting games (and porn for that matter) are not known for their story. However, Capcom promised the gaming community a more “robust” story and that the endings would be better. This is not the case at all. There is no story period. There is no clarity on how these worlds collide, or what is Wesker's and Dr. Doom's evil plan, or how in the hell Zero and Arthur fit into all of this? It can only be assumed that [SPOILER…maybe] is that Doom and Wesker are trying to harness the powers of Galactus by being one of his heralds (hence, why you fight silver versions of the villains in this game before fighting Galactus himself). As for the endings, well, it is not hard to improve on MVC2 seeing as how there was only ONE ending no matter what your team consisted of. It is refreshing that each character gets their own ending…even if that ending only lasts for 30 seconds, is given in the form of a comic panel, has no dialogue, and brings no closure whatsoever. I have not gotten all of the endings yet, but the ones I've seen so far have been pretty lame. Also, the character that delivers the final hit to Galactus is the ending you will see. It would be nice to see all three individually, but I guess this way adds to the replay value of the game

Another negative hit on this games resume is the lack of playable modes. It only contains an Xbox Live mode, which is where you play with others via Xbox Live, and an Offline mode. Under Offline are the following sub-modes: Arcade, Versus, Training, and Mission. Arcade is your basic fighting “story” mode. You fight normal 3-on-3 battles until you fight the last boss. Versus can only be played if you have second player. Training is self explanatory. Mission is a glorified training mode. I have two huge gripes with the offline sub-modes. 1) I cannot battle the computer in Versus. One of my favorite thing to do in MVC2 was pit themed teams against one another, like Ryu/Spider-Man/Wolverine against Akuma/Venom/Omega Red. This cannot be done in MVC3 however. 2) Mission mode is a big letdown. I was hoping that these “missions” would be themed around the specific character. For example, one of Deadpool's mission could have been fight the other Weapon X candidates, then you and another character fight Wolverine and X-23. The “missions” could have even required that you perform certain tasks in a fight, like execute a specific combo or finish your opponent with a hyper combo. Instead, each “mission” tells you to perform an action or combo chain against an immobile enemy. That is it. Once you perform the requirement, you move on to the next “mission.” The good: You learn character specific combo chains. The bad: You have to go to Training to continuously practice a combo chain. The lame: This Mission mode should have been Training mode. Mission mode can also be stressful, because if you are a fraction of a second off in performing the required moves for the combo chain, you will have to start over despite your aching hands and bleeding fingers.

So is this a good fighting game? Yes. Is it the best fighting game to come out in the past year? Yes. Is it the best fighting game of all time? No. Despite the game's strong roster, amazing graphics, and simplistic controls, the games lack of promised story and lack of modes keeps the game from getting a perfect 10 out of 10. I'm sure that those with Xbox Live will enjoy hours of replay value, whereas those without Xbox Live (like myself) will lose interest after a month or two. If Capcom releases some amazing DLC (such as many new characters [I want Black Heart and Cable back!] and new sub-modes are created for offline mode), then I would easily give MVC3 a 9/10. As it stands now, though, I can only give it an 8, which is not bad at all. If you're a fan of fighting games, lover of everything Marvel, and have Xbox Live, then this game is an easy purchase for you. If you do not meet all of these requirements then rent it or buy a used copy.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/22/11

Game Release: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (US, 02/15/11)


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