Its been about 11 years since since Marvel vs Capcom 2 first debuted on Sega’s Dreamcast. Now, Capcom has dropped the next game in the Vs series of fighters. Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds attempts to take what worked in MvC 2, tweak the combat system, and wrap it up in a modified Street Fighter IV graphics engine. Did it work? Will it attract new gamers to the franchise? Will you be doomed to endure Storm, Cable, and Sentinel matches online? Hit the jump to find out.
Let me get this part out of the way first. I’ll stack my knowledge base of brawler genre mechanics against anybody. Not so with fighting games. While fighting games are my second favorite genre, I am by no means a Shoryuken.com-like thesaurus on fighting genre mechanics. My tournament experience began and ended with local Street Fighter II arcade tourneys in the early 90s; an EVO contestant I am not–so keep that in mind for this review.
First, the basics: MvC3 involves 3 on 3 2D fighting like its predecessor. While your controlled character is on screen, you can summon your two team mates for assist attacks that can extend your combos, and set up your opponent Hyper combos. Each team has a Hyper meter that holds up to 5 bars. Once filled, you can execute your character’s Hyper combo moves to deal out heavy damage to your opponent. The combat system uses light, medium, and heavy attack buttons; 2 assist buttons, and one “special move” button which is basically a launcher that sends your foe into the air for aerial combo fun.
MvC3 has a roster of 33 characters (35 if you downloaded Jill Valentine and S. Gorath), and the one thing has become crystal clear after spending a considerable amount of time with the game. That being, all of the characters, in that the entire roster of fighters feel competent. While MvC2 had a ton of what I would consider throw away characters in its 50+ roster, every character in MvC3 has a move set that makes them more than a contender in the right hands. Granted, Sentinel is still an overpowered robot beast, and forums are filled with hate for Phoenix, but for the most part, I think every character has a shot at being a match winner. As far as I’m concerned there isn’t a throw-away in the bunch.
Once I settled on a button config for my arcade stick (I went on Youtube and found one that worked best for me), I found combat to be easy to grasp. Characters like Wolverine and X-23 are combo centric, while Thor and Hulk rely on strong normals linked to hyper combos to deal damage. The system works for me, and I was able to grasp some intricacies of it quickly. No FADCs here–its all about simple, quick inputs.
Speaking of getting a grasp on the game, the Mission Mode is a great way to get an idea of what a character is capable of. Mission Mode involves taking you through some basic moves of a character and quickly ramping up to multi hit air combos. You’ll probably want to pull your hair out trying to complete the more complex combos, but my focus was on observing how certain moves affect an opponent. For example: Wolverine (one of my mains) can follow up his Drill-claw with a dive kick which causes ground bounce. You can bring in a team assist for extra damage and hyper combo set up, or re-launch the opponent for a continued aerial assault. Mission Mode is filled with little nuggets of information that is applicable in real matches.
Where MvC3 falls a little short are the online assets. While Capcom raised the bar with Spectator Mode for SSFIV, you will find no such assets here. While two people do battle, the rest are left to chat in the lobby awaiting their turn. If you’re playing a friend online, you’re unable to do a quick rematch. Yet, when doing random online games, you have the option to do an immediate rematch. Right now, the best way to play online is to jump into training mode, and set fight request to on, set the parameters, and let the game put you in a match.
If you’re new to the Vs series, or new to fighting games in general, give Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds a shot. Combat mechanics are simple, yet deep–and the game is straight up fun. The hardcore vets from MvC2 may disagree. In my opinion, this is a better game than its predecessor simply because of the viability of the entire roster. The team variety encountered online, and observed in high level tournaments is proof of that. Online isn’t as robust as it should be, but it does work. I’ve had no lag issues. Bottom line: I’m giving this game an A-. Its a title definitely worth your time and money.