Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Game Room: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

A new day, a new type of review. This time we'll be focusing on a certain fighting game that has been taking the gaming world by storm after a ten year hiatus. What happens when you take some of Marvel Comics' most iconic heroes and villains and pit them against some of Capcom's more prominent heavy-hitting game stars? Well, that's obvious. You get the ultimate battle with the fate of two worlds hanging in the balance...

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the long awaited sequel to Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Duh), which is one of the most revered and respected fighting games in the gaming community. MvC3 fixes a lot of the issues that made it's predecessor a bit difficult to adapt to for more casual fighting gamers. The move sets for all the characters are pretty much similar to one another, abandoning complex joystick maneuvers and button combos for more accessible half-circle button attacks as well as hyper moves. This allows even the most casual fighters to keep up with veterans in more ways then before. If it's still too hard for you, though, there is also the option to use Simple Mode, which concentrates all the possible moves you can preform into the four main face buttons. Besides your basic moves, there are also more advanced moves you can do to either help your offense or defense, such as advanced blocking that pushes your oppoent away and aerial tream combos that do massive damage. Lastly, there's X-Factor, a last-ditch technique that not only boosts your attack damage but also allows you to regenerate any part of your health bar that's in the red far quicker then normal.

The character roster is a whopping 32 fighters right off the bat, increasing to a total of 36 after unlocking the four hidden characters, which is fairly easy to do. MvC mainstays such as Captain America, Ryu, Spider-Man, Chun-Li, Magneto and Tron Bonne return to the ring we also get to meet characters that are new to the fighting franchise, such as Chris Redfield, Deadpool and Ameterasu, as well as those who have been recently introduced into the fray, like Crimson Viper and Viewtiful Joe. All characters have also been balanced out accordingly, fixing those like Magneto, Storm and Sentinel, who were notorious for being overpowered. With the addition of support through DLC, the roster will only keep growing, as upcoming characters such as Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath have shown. The graphics are bright and colorful and vibrant. So much so it makes something like getting your ass handed to you by a 9th Lord online a visual feast for the eyes. All the fighters move seamlessly from one move to the next without any lag or noticable cheats. The music for each stage and character are also pleasing to the ears, with different mixes of techno, rock and pop either to create an original song or remake a trademark theme from fighting games past.

Unfortunately there are a number of issues that plague this game once the rose-colored glasses come off. First off is the simple mode I mentioned earlier. To put it bluntly, it's way too simple. So much so that you don't learn from it as it doesn't prevent any newcomer from just mashing all the buttons since it requires absolutely no skill. Even worse is that this mode is allowed in online matches without it's own category, meaning you won't know whether ther person who beat you was actually a skilled player or not. Next up is the tutorial. Or moreso the complete lack of one, I should say. While Capcom did simplify the game to make it more accessible that doesn't excuse the lack of a tutorial or thinking the training mode or challenge mode would make up for it. Moves such as the previously mentioned aerial team combos and advanced blocking as well as things like snapbacks or team crosscounters are never explained at all. Not even X-Factor is demonstrated. These are things that need to be shown in order to even stand a chance against online opponents. Speaking of challenge mode, this is another instance of not being clear enough. Each challenge gives you a specific combo to preform but all they do is tell you what the combo is without any actual visual reference on screen. For that you have to go to the pause menu, scroll down to objective and THEN look at what it's asking you to do. There should have been an option to switch from verbal instructions to visual instructions in need be.

Next there are the unsatisfying endings to Arcade Mode. Long before the game was released Capcom promised that, unlike previous installments, we'd get an actual story-driven single player experience that would explain why this crossover has happened. Cut to about 3 weeks after the game's release and we've gotten no such thing. The single player mode is the same as always: Fight a 3-man group, move on, rinse and repeat. It's suggested that Galactus would have played a major part in bringing these two worlds together seeing as he's the final boss, but other then that there's nothing. Every character has their own ending but it's only 2 artwork stills with some dialogue underneath. It would have been way better if they gave us actual FMV endings. The opening cinematic and special movies you unlock all had fantastic animation, so why not more? Lastly there are the online issues. While my online experience has been mostly pleasant there are still two nagging problems with it. There's the constant connection failures when trying to find an opponent. Then after failing to connect it bumps you back to the online menu instead of researching. The other major issue is the multiman lobby and leads to the biggest gripe I have with this game. The lobby sucks. It sucks hard. For some strange reason Capcom decided to not add a spectator mode, leaving those in the lobby wait to fight with nothing more then two stat cards grinding on eachother like it's prom night. This makes it less likely for anyone to actually create lobbies since no one wants to sit around and watch two credit cards hump each other, they want see some flying fists and flashy moves. Plus, with no spectator there is also no replay function, leaving anyone who uses replays to study up on their game out in the cold. Capcom HAS stated that spectator mode will be added in an upcoming update, but it really should have been there from the start!

So what's the final verdict on MvC3? Well after the initial hype wore off you come to realize that it truely is a half-completed game. The fighting mechanics are perfect and really fun, yes, but that doesn't make it complete. With minor issues like the lack of a story mode or visual prompts in challenge mode to more significant gripes like simple mode, lack of a tutorial and lack of both spectator and replay mode, it hurts to say that MvC3 would be more worth a $30 price tag as opposed to a $60 one. And to think that this would happen after the absolutely perfect package that is Super Street Fighter IV. If you can find this for $30 or less then it's an absolute buy, but at it's current price I just can't recommend it as of now. Let's just all pray that Capcom doesn't decide to release a Super Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Spectator Edition in the near future.....or I swear HEADS WILL ROLL.

1 comment:

  1. Me and my friends tend to agree with your verdict. Didn't quite live up to our expectations.