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Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

Goodnight random jazz music, goodnight one-sided tiers, and goodnight to a storage facility’s worth of glitches and infinites. After 10 years of alternating between demanding and waiting from fans, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has finally pulled into harbor and, that’s right, it’s “gonna take ya for a ride” again.

Albert Wesker and Dr. Doom have teamed up with villains of their own respective universes in a plot to take over both worlds. It’s going to take the combined efforts of Marvel and Capcom’s superheroes to foil their plans and stop Galactus at the same time. That’s nice and all, but there’s no trace of this story whatsoever in game. Unless you’ve shelled out the extra cash to get the collector’s edition comic book, the story might as well not exist as you embark through the 6 stages of Arcade Mode’s nonstop fighting before meeting The Devourer of Worlds himself. But that’s okay, who needs a story for playing fighting games anyways?

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Compared to previous Versus titles, MvC3 is definitely unique in character, and I’m not just talking about the new 3D cel-shaded look. Previous games were infamous for constantly recycling 2D sprites, sound bites, and special attacks, while changes were only made to gameplay, backgrounds and the routine adding of new faces. As a result, it seemed like a legacy of soulless collages where the cast were merely portrayed as the avatars of unbalanced power or lack thereof. However, MvC3 breathes new life into the franchise with the inclusion of character specific interactions and enough comic book and game references to delight enthusiasts.

It’s obvious that there seems to be favoritism towards Marvel fans. Most of the Marvel gang’s alternate costumes nods to the wardrobe of their legendary exploits and Marvel Universe stages outshine and outnumber Capcom arenas 6 to 4. While the Capcom characters can be easily identified amongst gamers, if you’re not into comics, much of the Marvel cast would be totally lost on you. Compared to prior titles, the overall cast can be a hit or miss for certain players in terms of appeal. MvC3 is consistent with this newfound comic book trend, but sadly, it also continues the outdated trend of narrating individual endings with still images and text. Fortunately, all this is easily forgotten amongst the delicious 3-on-3 tag team chaos.

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MvC3 breathes new life into the franchise with the inclusion of character specific interactions and enough comic book and game references to delight enthusiasts.”
MvC3 stays dedicated to the same hyperactive gameplay, but this time the action is welcome to all. Previous Versus titles were notorious for their esoteric accessibility; you either understood the game or you didn’t. In an effort to improve upon this, Capcom made drastic changes to the button scheme. In the past you had to mind the three versions of punches and kicks (MvC2 made it more complicating) while trying to remember a plethora of character specific ‘Launchers’.

The majority of beginners just couldn’t get passed learning how to air combo correctly. Not this time. Now there are only four attack buttons: general Light, Medium, Heavy, and a Special button which auto-launches opponents from the ground. Chain combos were always a matter of tapping the buttons in order of strength, but with the needed number of buttons pressed reduced, gamers of all levels can follow along. Plus, selecting assist types now informs players which moves are assigned thus eliminating the abundant memorizing and guessing. Certain veterans may feel that the controls have dumbed down since MvC2, while new blood shouldn’t feel at all surprised if much of the initial knowledge goes out the window in the midst of the fast paced action. Giving the game a moment of dedication is still required for adjusting to the controls but shouldn’t take up much of your time. In addition, I would recommend beginners to avoid Simple Mode as it limits your moveset.

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In the past, the word “team” seemed like the series’ false advertisement. Randomly tagging in characters was like leading lambs to slaughter and benched characters seemed to take forever in recovering their health. Thankfully, MvC3 has mended these issues. Characters taking over point come out in an angle and speed that minimizes the chances of ritual suicide, and those that sit out recover at a faster rate, but take massive damage if caught during assist deployment. Also in promoting team synergy is the borrowing of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s Team Air Combos: extending air combos through tagging. Like with the return of Delayed Hyper Combos, Team Air Combos adds options for combo creativity while practicing safe character swapping minus the expense of meter.

Patch 1.02

A patch was recently released on 3/22/2011. At the time of this writing, the following updates/tweaks have been uncovered:
– Drastic drop in health for Sentinel, from 1,300,000 pts. to 905,000.
– The Haggar/Spencer freeze glitch now only works on Viewtiful Joe and Arthur.
– The Spencer loop has been removed.
– Akuma’s air Hurricane Kick no longer maintains heavy hit stun thus his infinite has been removed.
– Patch sets up the game to receive the upcoming Event Mode, a new set of in game challenges for obtaining new license titles.

Though known for its own unique gameplay, MvC3 features some familiar elements. Similar to Tekken 6, certain throws and attacks that drive opponents into the ground puts them in a “bound” state allowing one to extend combos. Adding to the carnage is the new X-Factor, activated by hitting all four attack buttons. This is a temporary state that renders your team impervious to chip damage, while granting your point character with gradual healing, and, depending on how many teammates are left, your character(s) can exude the strength and speed of Jason Statham in Crank. Invoking this once-a-fight feature is reminiscent to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s Baroque Canceling and Guilty Gear’s Roman Canceling. You can activate it at anytime while blocking, or even in the middle of combos. This puts your character back into a neutral state, opening up a can of worms for some advanced mayhem. Evidently, X-Factor was added to promote the possibilities of making comebacks, similar to Tekken 6’s Rage System. However, being that it can be tapped into at anytime, stuff like this can happen, so be careful.

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Like Super Street Fighter IV the game includes a challenge section called Mission Mode. This mode provides instructions for performing certain combos at varying difficulties. For beginners, this produces an educational crash course in game mechanics that can teach you how to weigh practicality. If you’re new, I definitely recommend that you give this mode a try along with developing the habit of frequenting Training Mode. The game also provides the option of switching up the individual voice acting language, but with talents like Steven Blum and D.C. Douglas reprising their respective roles of Wolverine and Wesker, there’s almost never any need to go Japanese.

Each time you visit Training, Mission and Arcade Mode you gain Player Points that are auto spent on unlocking hidden goodies. My only gripe is the fact that this is needed for unlocking only four hidden characters, which is about as inappropriate as having to pay $5.00 per DLC character. PP can also be gained from playing online, which is the unfortunate flaw of the game. There is occasional lag depending on how much animation is going on with the characters’ introductions and background. With a game like MvC3, it’s always a bad time for lag. So if you get to choose the stage just go with the Danger Room.

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Online’s Ranking and Player Match modes are almost identical. Both serve as a GPS in finding random players to contend with while allowing you to choose the region, language, and skill level (based on game logistics). The only difference is that Ranking Battles grants the chance to advance your rank through Battle Points, but only Player Battles allow the option for rematches. Overall, the results are haphazard, thus most advanced players, or those who try to maintain their fights at a certain level, go to the lobbies.

Lobbies, however, are even more disconcerting. Whether you joined or created one, those waiting in line have to sit around at the lobby screen, watching license cards bump each other like drunk teens, and listen to headset jabber. The only way to tell if a match is almost over is to observe the emulated health bars on the cards. Having this instead of even a tiny window to allow those in wait to watch matches in progress is an awful way to pass the time. The lack of such a feature, and no options to save replays, leaves reviewing cards as the only way to gauge one’s experience. Any fighting gamer knows that general numbers and graphs are an ill-substitute in measuring a player where general spectating serves.

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The best feature of online mode, however, is the inclusion of “Rage Quitter Hell”: an invisible tracking system that monitors how often any player abruptly disconnects from matches. When a rage quitter is identified, the game will only match them up against other spoil sports; promptly exiling them from those who just want to have fun.

Though the online modes leave a lot to be desired, it’s forgivable as nothing can replace the old fashioned approach of playing with people in person. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 still stands as a welcomed addition to today’s fighting scene. For those having a hard time comprehending today’s fighters, MvC3 is there for you. Meanwhile, veterans can definitely say that this title hits the spot. Welcome to the show!

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @S_Chyou.

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