Platforms: PS3, 360
Release Date: 15/02/2011
THE BIGGEST CROSSOVER IN FIGHTING GAME HISTORY CONTINUES!
There was a point where the very mention of this game was nothing more than a typical recurring internet joke or it was mentioned on the wishlist of fans of the franchise. For a while it seemed unlikely there would be a follow up to the highly successful Marvel Vs Capcom 2, especially when the contract between both companies expired. However, Capcom have once again surprised everyone and secured a new contract with Marvel comics, allowing them to develop the much anticipated third installment in what is the biggest crossover in fighting game history, maybe even game history in general. But the big question still remains: Does it live it up to all the hype and expectation?
First things first, people will want to know who's on the roster. By the time MvC2 rolled in, the roster was a mish mash of every fighter who had appeared in a Capcom developed Marvel game or crossover game between the two companies. As such, there were a lot of roster additions who seemed out of place by that point, either in terms of popularity or in terms of general effectiveness in gameplay. Not to mention there were so many Street Fighters and X-Men present, the game may as well have been called "X-Men and company Vs Street Fighter and friends". Well thankfully the roster for MvC3 seems more diverse with some more thought out choices. Sure there are still additions that are present mainly in the name of popularity and some who are somewhat obscure or questionable choices, but the roster at least doesn't have so many fighters that seem out of place from a gameplay standpoint. Included are the usual suspects such as Ryu, Wolverine, Iron Man, Chun-Li and Spider-Man, among a few others. Then there are newer popular choices like Thor, Dante, Wesker and Deadpool. To round things off there are some less obvious choices like Spencer, She Hulk, M.O.D.O.K, Arthur and Trish. Oh, and fortunately there isn't a sombrero wearing catus in sight. On the whole, the game has a smaller more trimmed roster of 36 with room for some additions via DLC, but it feels like it has more variety to it, with more IPs from both companies being represented, and most of them play different enough so hardly anyone feels like they have a copy and paste of another fighters style. The most prime example of this is Dante who has a massive move set of attacks that can cancel into other attacks, and specials using the weapons from Devil May Cry 3 that can also cancel into certain other special moves, allowing him a great variety of attacks for different situations.
Wesker proves that he fears no one: not even the mighty Iron Man.
When it comes to the gameplay itself, MvC3 maintains the simple four attack button setup from the previous game, along with shoulder buttons being used for assists and instant crossover combos (Where you summon all of your teammates at once to pull off a hyper combo), but there is a further change in favor of simplification. Instead of two punch and kick buttons, there are now three attack buttons cycling from light, to medium, to hard, and the fourth button is known as the "Special" attack button. This can primarily be used as a launcher attack to launch your opponent and set them up for an aerial combo. It can also be used for various other commands such as team aerial attacks where you can summon a teammate during an aerial combo to carry on the attack or it can simply be used to slam the opponent back down to the ground. Along with the slightly altered button setup, all fighters have regained the ability to use three different attack variations, unlike MvC2 where everyone could only use two variations such as Captain America only being to perform a straight forward or upward Shield Slash. All attack buttons for the most part, except for the special button, can be used to perform each special move. To allow for this it also means certain command inputs have been changed, such as Caps' Charging Star now being performed with a backward quarter circle motion instead of a forward one. It seems a little odd at first, but it's something you can quickly adjust to. Along with the slightly simplified control scheme there is a simple mode for anyone who's new to fighting games, allowing them to pull off special moves and combos through simple button presses. More experienced players may snort in disdain at the idea of players being able to pull off attacks and combos with little to no effort, while they put in effort to do it the harder way, but anyone who wants to pick up and try a game like MvC3 for the first time will be glad to have the option.
Is the game more balanced though? The jury is still out on that one, as some fighters seem to have greater advantages over others and the new X-Factor, a mode that can be used once per match to greatly increase damage dealt by attacks and nullify chip damage as well as recover energy without having to tag out, can be said to be a culprit of unbalance, especially when one fighter left standing can level almost an entire team on their own with the damage boost. It's meant to allow for last minute comebacks if used wisely, but it's not as popular with everyone, especially if on the receiving end of a well timed X-Factor beatdown. Sentinel in particular gains a massive attack boost from the mode and can create hell for opponents. But there are attempts at balancing the game, such as Phoenix taking massive damage from attacks in comparison to other fighters in the roster in exchange forthe fact she has a Healing Field hyper and a Ressurection move where she can transform into Dark Phoenix. So how unbalanced the game is will have to be determined by each player.
Phoenix absorbs damage like a sponge, so using her requires some preparation and skill.
The fact is though, the game looks and sounds good with it's vibrant cel shaded comic book art style, impressive looking backgrounds and thankfully non jazz styled music, and when you get a decent game going it is fun to play. Also, the game has great dialogue with characters interacting with each other through intros and win quotes, so it seems less like the game just has a bunch of fighters thrown together with no regard for each other. Pit Iron Man against Captain America and Stark will comment how his suit knows Caps moves before he even makes them, or if Ryu beats Deadpool he will comment on Deadpool stealing his Shoryuken during his win quote. Capcom did talk up the fact the game will have a story, but there's no intro to the games Arcade mode to explain what's going on, and after beating the massive, and yes somewhat cheap boss, Galactus, you'll be presented with some ending art with some text that serves as the ending for the fighter who landed the last hit in the fight. So overall there's not much story, but Capcom can't be faulted too much for the amount of detail they put into scripting for the game. Aside from Arcade mode, there are the usual versus and online modes along with a mission mode that, like the Street Fighter IV games, lines up ten missions for each fighter which increase in difficulty as you progress through them. Missions range from simply performing special attacks, to linking combos into specials, all the way up to performing long combos with launchers into aerial combos, assist attacks, X-Factor cancels and hyper combos.