Friday 25 February 2011

Game Review – Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Formats: PS3 & Xbox 360

Any avid fighting fan will tell you that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was one of the most frantic and enjoyable 2D brawlers of the last decade. The franchise has been a roaring success all the way from the arcades, to the Dreamcast, onto the Playstation 2 and Xbox and now finally, has graced a new generation of gaming. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 once again revitalizes the series, pitting some of the most iconic and memorable heroes from both universes such as Spider-Man, Captain America, Ryu and Dante, in a 3-on-3 battle like no other. With a brilliant new art design, lots of replay value and a refurbished fighting system catered to simplify what was a quite an advanced game, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a winner in all departments.

For newcomers to the series, there really is no better time to enter the fight to save the world than right now. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 allows you to chose a team of three heroes from a dazzling and varied array of characters from both the Marvel and Capcom universes, pitting them against each other in a smooth, fluid and breathtaking battle for victory. Each character feels different and are all fun to experiment with, although the basic mechanics in MVC3 are similar for all characters. For those of you who don’t know, the predecessor in the series was renown as a very advanced fighting game, forcing players to learn certain techniques that took a lot of time and effort to master. Well MVC3 decided not to walk in those footsteps; rather it wanted to be as accessible as possible for a wide variety of players. This is done by cleverly simplifying the game’s controls. With light, medium, heavy and launch buttons, players can easily pull of combos on the ground and in the air without having any need to learn tricky button combinations. That isn’t to say that MVC3 doesn’t have plenty to offer the competitive player, but it allows almost anyone to pick up the game and give it a go. If this still sounds too difficult for you, then MVC3 goes a step further by offering a ‘simple’ game mode that minimizes the buttons further to one attack button and special attack buttons, allowing the computer to create combos for you with the press of a single button. While this obviously limits your capabilities throughout the battle, it is an accessible way to start playing and get to grips with the game before opting for the normal button configuration.

However you chose to play MVC3, there is no doubt you will have a blast playing with your favourite characters or getting to know some of the new faces of the game. Superskrull, a vicious enemy from the Fantastic 4 universe is an excellent addition to the game, using variations of all of the Fantastic 4’s powers. Dante from the Devil May Cry series is also a fan favourite with his lightning fast moves and quick chain combos. Perhaps Viewtiful Joe from the world of movies is better suited to your fighting needs? It doesn’t really matter who you opt to play as because everyone’s charming and devastating, the two words best used to describe MVC3.

It’s safe to say that just like me, many of you out there will pick the game up and try to jump into the action straight away. Although I loved the experience, I got destroyed somewhere near the end of my first arcade run. Not knowing what to do, I opted to scurry through MVC3’s different game modes and found ‘mission mode’. Mission mode is an excellent tutorial like station that allows you to practice almost every aspect of every character’s moves. While this is a brilliant way to learn how to perform effective air combos and link hyper-combos etc, unfortunately the game-mode severely lacks in a demo function that Street Fighter IV used well. What I mean by this is the combos that the game wants you to perform are not shown in a demonstration, the commands are merely thrown onto the screen and you have to figure the rest out. While not a terribly complicated fighter, timing is still a key factor in performing these advanced moves and players with no previous experiences could seriously struggle here. This is a massive shame and perhaps one of the game’s biggest disappointments, a little bit more care into this mode and we could have seen plenty of competent fighters online.

Speaking of online, once you’re brave enough you can tackle the world’s players with your squad of superheroes. The online runs smoothly and is a real joy, until you decide to join a lobby. The lobby system is rather poor in that when you are waiting for a game, you actually don’t watch the fight in progress, rather just the health bars of those playing, come on now, really? Online fighters since the dawn of time let you watch others play in a theatre-esque mode, what’s the deal with sitting you in a dark room full of health bars, I wasn’t best pleased! When you do get into the action MVC3 is an absolute blast and certainly doesn’t disappoint.

If you need to play against the computer some more before you step on the online battlefield, then your standard practice and versus modes are available, alongside the story arcade mode. In comparison to the vibrant characters available, the story mode feels somewhat washed up. In fact calling it a story mode is pretty ridiculous so from now on it shall be known as arcade mode. Nevertheless, you progress through seven stages beating opposing teams until you reach the game’s climactic boss and I’m not going to reveal the name of the devourer of planets, but fans of the Capcom universe are going to be very pleased with the choice.

From a technical perspective I don’t think I could be anymore impressed with MVC3. The graphics are just outright beautiful, each and every character is gorgeous, the combat is brought to life with explosions, thunder, lightning, proton canons, whatever they could fit into it, gosh they did. The backgrounds although lacking in numbers, are all great to look at and of course take you to very nostalgic arenas such as a Resident Evil lab with a Tyrant overlooking the battle or the ever-nostalgic Danger Room. Wherever the game takes you, it is visually stunning, from the opening cinematic, to the menus and into the combat. The audio is also one of the best things about MVC3. It is a sheer joy to hear your favourite heroes brought to life with such humour; Spider-man, Deadpool and Dante in particular are brilliant characters to listen to after their victories. Of course in terms of game mechanics, the new revamped fighting system simply cannot be faulted, I was a victim of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in that my friends were all brilliant at it and I just couldn’t get the hang of the complicated fast-paced action. Well here I feel like the slate has been cleaned and I stand a much fairer chance against my friends, therefore MVC3 gets 2 thumbs up in that department from me.

Ultimately there is nothing not to like about Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it is a beautiful, technically efficient and fun to play fighter that blends ferocious combat with easy-to-use controls that allow everyone to get their hands dirty. The charm that these iconic characters bring to any experiences is utilized to perfection with a brilliant graphical and audio presentation, it’s just an absolute winner and you need to get a copy now.

Technical presentation – 9.0

Graphics – 9.0

Game-play – 8.0

Replay value – 8.0

Final score – 8.5 / 10

Igor, CeX UK Contributor.

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