I cannot recall what prompted me to, but I remember going to the store one day craving a new game for my Dreamcast and I ended up taking a chance on a full-priced, new copy of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. At that time, I was kind of out of the whole fighting game scene – not that I was a hardcore fighting game fan to begin with – but the sheer chaos and fun that resulted from the insanity of the 3-on-3 tag fighting in MVC2 was most likely the catalyst that got me back into enjoying fighting games again.

MVC2 stayed in my regular rotation for so long that it resulted in my Dreamcast being hooked up to my television for way longer than it should have. I remember in my first apartment, my roommate and I would have nightly tournaments with our neighbors and we would play that game into the wee hours of the morning. For the longest time, I anxiously anticipated a sequel. This being Capcom in the middle of their Dreamcast run where it seemed like they published half of the Dreamcast library, I thought it seemed like a sure thing. I just did not expect it to take eleven years.

Eleven years have come and gone, though, and last week I finally got the sequel to one of my all-time favorite fighting games. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is everything I wanted it to be as it brings back the fast and furious 3-on-3 tag fighting we grew up with. Where should I start? How about the roster? Instead of the monstrous 50+ roster we got with the previous game, MVC3 features 36 characters, which is still quite a bit when compared to most other fighters on the market. On paper it looks like Capcom just sliced 20 spots, when in reality a whole lot more cuts were made because of the surprise amount of new characters debuting.

I do have to gripe a little about some characters that got axed; just keep in mind Capcom is already promising DLC characters down the line. With that said, why in the holy hell is Ken not here? It is almost tradition for every Capcom fighter to have both Ken & Ryu, but here we have Ryu & Akuma, and that’s just not the same. Plus, no Servebot? His Hyper-Combo was one of the defining highlights of MVC2. I am also a huge Iceman fan and find his exclusion among the roster to be a big one.

Now onto the additions, I love all of them but the incredibly slow She-Hulk. Deadpool steals the show among the new additions as he is a riot with attacks and specials that are crazy over-the-top. Chris Redfield’s shotgun packs a mean punch, and his nemesis Wesker moves hyper fast just like his encounter with Chris in Resident Evil 5. Are you sad that Zangief was not a carryover? Well never fear because Haggar has his trademark spinning clothesline, plus a wealthy amount of other powerful moves. Thor and Mjolnir do not disappoint; he is a god after all. X-23 and Dante both feature some sick air combo attacks I am fond of, but Amaterasu is a cheap combo spamming bitch! Seriously, if you face Amaterasu online, you probably will not like what the battle has in store for you.

Like I said before, I am not a hardcore fighting fanatic, so some of the layers of strategy I hear other people talking about in fighting games like Super Street Fighter IV goes right over my head. MVC3 has that, rest assured, but just like MVC2 it is so easy to pick up and play and it feels quite similar to the last game. There is a new simple mode which assigns a lot of special attacks to one button, but I have not tried it yet since I am so used to the controls from the last two games. The only noteworthy change I noticed is it is now easier to tag someone in by holding one of the character assist buttons down, instead of trying to press two separate buttons together like in MVC2. It is also a smidge easier to launch into an air combo right out of an attack, instead of pressing an attack and then trying to time a follow up launcher immediately thereafter like before.

For being a full priced fighter, I was surprised there was not a ton of gameplay modes available, especially after seeing how Capcom spoiled us with a smorgasbord of options in SSFIV. For offline, there is the standard Arcade mode romp to the special boss, and this boss easily surpasses the bosses in all previous Vs. games with a duel against the one and only Galactus! Remember how awesome the boss fight with Galactus was in Marvel Ultimate Alliance? For fighting games, this is right up there, it easily crushes the boss fight with Abyss (or as I like to refer to him: “The Big Red Blob That Takes Up the Entire Screen”) in MVC2.

Other than the main Arcade mode, the only other single player options are Training and Mission modes. Training is great for practicing combos and all, but Mission mode puts you to the test by placing you into tough predicaments which requires you to have lightning fast reflexes to nail combos and other tough maneuvers in order to proceed to the next mission. Online options feature the expected Ranked and Player matches, along with a ton of leaderboards and stat tracking support. I am playing on PS3, and invested into roughly 30 to 40 fights online and have yet to experience any bad lag or drops, even the voice chat has remained in sync which has been an issue in past online PS3 fighters.

There is one serious gripe I have with the online, and that is the complete lack of a spectator mode. You can get in a lobby with up to eight players and have people rotate in after each fight, but if you are waiting in the queue you cannot watch the current match going on. This is a huge detriment to the online experience because not only is it a blast to watch and learn from others online, but Capcom has conditioned us to having this feature in some of their latest titles like SSFII Turbo HD Remix, SSFIV and MVC2. As it is, just sitting in a lobby menu watching life bars trickle away as you await your turn is an absolute bore. Word is Capcom is supposedly going to patch this in down the line, but as it stands this makes online lobbies a chore to wait through.

Capcom has really nailed a sweet look for the character models in MVC3. The best way I can describe it is think of 90s Saturday morning cartoon animation meets cel-shading to give the characters their own special edge. It works and makes the game stand out among other fighters and perfectly gels with the chaotic nature of the Vs. games. As one of the few who appreciated the upbeat jazz soundtrack from MVC2, I am saddened to see it not return, but at least we do get a remix of the infamous character select screen beat. Rest assured, MVC3 features a far more fitting soundtrack filled with high-tempo and thunderous tunes that I think everyone will find more fitting than the gutsy score featured last time around.

If you have any fond memories at all of MVC2, then this game was worth the eleven-year wait. It would have been nice to have a few more gameplay modes and especially a Spectator mode, but I guess that is what DLC is for. Rarely do I pay full price for a fighting game as there is just something that gets to me that seems there is little value to justify the full price tag. However, there is something special about Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that makes it the exception. It was the first fighter I paid full price for since its predecessor, and so should you!

4 Responses to Marvel vs. Capcom 3

  1. thesau31 says:

    Nice read Dale.

  2. Gruel says:

    I just realized I forgot to mention the new X-Factor heal feature in here, crap!

  3. Ian (DJI) says:

    yep. It needs a spectator mode.
    Otherwise, good effort bringing things to 3D.
    They cheated with MvC2 as they recycled assets from like 7 games.

    Cheers, Gruel.

  4. John says:

    I’m dying to pick up this game, but I’m dead fucking broke at the moment and had to choose between this and Dragon Quest 6. I went with DQ. I’m hoping this gets a price drop in a few months the same way SF4 did, as I’m not too keen on paying full price for it.

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