on 18 August 2011
Here we go again with yet another fighting game from Capcom, the guys and gals who brought us Street Fighter 2, the grand daddy of beat `em ups. This is another 3-on-3 `tag team' style fighter in the tradition of X-men vs Street Fighter and the original Marvel vs Capcom (vs something).
The main difference between this and the previous Marvel vs Capcom (2) is that this time the characters are fully 3D models as opposed to the 2D characters of previous games. This is still basically a 2D fighter on a 2D plane (2D), so it plays like the other games in the series and so isn't a true 3D fighting game in that sense, like Virtua Fighter 8 or Tekken 10 (or however many there are). The characters have an interesting and unique look to them, as they are cell shaded and look almost 2D, this gives them the kind of cartoony look of the previous games with the benefit of smoother animation.
The character roster is fairly impressive too, with around 36 fighters (along with a couple of downloadable ones). This is quite standard for fighting games these days though and if your new title doesn't have masses of characters it'll be quickly shunned (or Hadoken-ed) out of the arena. Gone are the days of the original Mortal Kombat where you could release a game with 7 fighters in it (and two of those were the same bloke in different coloured pyjamas). This leads to the first real draw back of the game, there are actually `less' characters than in Marvel vs Capcom 2, which sported an impressive 52 to choose from (when you weren't just picking Ryu and Wolverine, that is). Even though a few of these characters were basically the same guy with a few different moves (Ryu/ Ken, Iron Man/ War Machine, Torville/ Dean...etc), there still seemed like a vast selection and there was a lot of scope for picking an interesting trio.
The characters are (not surprisingly) split into either Marvel or Capcom teams and all of them are teaming up to defeat the evil Galactus who wants to `eat' the planet! Does he ever do anything else (although I suppose it's hard to think up new evil schemes on an empty stomach)? For some reason though, the whole `teaming up' part of the plan involves lots and lots (and lots) of fights-to-the-death (probably) by characters on either side! Though I suppose someone like Wolverine or Dante wouldn't just team up with a group of strangers from a different dimension (or whatever) without first beating the hell out of them, just for giggles (probably)! Although overall there aren't that many characters to choose from compared to previous games, they are at least extremely varied. Bulky characters like Hulk and Sentinel play differently from the more nimble ones like Spider-Man and Chun Li. There are also characters like Iron Man and Sir Arthur who are more `projectile' based (they shoot/chuck stuff respectively). Then there are the characters that are just plain odd, like Dormammu (Large spooky guy with a flaming skull head), Super Skrull (Green faced alien man who has the Fantastic 4's combined powers) and Amaterasu (Capcom's teleporting doggie with a small alien companion perched on his head). The characters all have their own styles of play and strategies and (when you aren't just playing as Ryu) offer different approaches to the game and make for some interesting, varied match ups!
The actual combat has been simplified since the last game, however. In Marvel vs Capcom 2 there were four attack buttons, these were light and heavy punches and kicks. With a double tap of either of the light attacks, a second, um...'medium' attack was linked onto the first to start up a chain combo. In this way, the characters still had the same amount of moves they'd usually have in a Capcom fighting game, like Street Fighter 2 for example (three punches, three kicks). In Marvel vs Capcom 3, this has been scaled down further, so that there are now only three attack buttons (light, medium and heavy) and pressing these produces a random punch or kick, depending on the particular character. There is a forth `special' attack button, which usually only produces a small projectile attack and is mainly used in combos or as part of a special move command.
The fights are always between teams of three, there sadly isn't an option to pick just one on one, or one vs three or other combinations (um, two vs three, I guess). This does work quite well on the whole as the fights are really fast paced and you have the ability to tag in another fighter at any point or have another team member leap on screen to help out briefly. If a character is close to being knocked out, there is the option to simply tag in one of your other fighters and let him/her recover a little health on the side lines, adding a little extra strategy to the fights.
The `special' special attacks are as suitably over-the-top as the previous games! Individual characters can send out huge laser blasts that fill the screen (Iron Man) or rip the place up (Wolverine), even Ryu's fireball now takes up most of the screen (HA-DO-KEN)! Not only this, but if you get three full `special power meter' thingies you can unleash all three characters' `special' special attacks at once...filling the screen with nonsense and practically obliterating your unfortunate opponent!
Even in the midst of a (berserker) barrage of other fighting games, this one stands out as something great (like the Hulk at a dinner party). The variety of characters and over-the-top silliness, combined with the range of moves and solid core game play make for a fun, entertaining gaming experience. This is recommended to comic book and fighting game fans alike and is another top quality beat em' up from Capcom. This is definitely the best Capcom vs game for the moment...that is until they finally make Street fighter vs Mortal Kombat (please, please make this). Get it before it gets you.....um, it won't really get you (well.... it might)....
Overall score: 4 Dragon Punches out of 5!