The lights are on
Over a decade of waiting, playing imitators and tournaments on its predecessor Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 arrives. Does this fighter's new moves and look hit hard and fast or is it just an assist spamming pile of junk?
One of the big problems with MvC2 is the balancing issues and the assist spamming. Both of these concepts are the most important parts of fighters, assist more so in the "Versus" titles. MvC3 does address these problems and the results are fairly good.
Assist spamming was a big problem online on XBL with MvC2. Everyone that played it remembers Cable's electro-whip while Sentinel and another beam character continuously spammed attacks across the screen. This was a problem before the game was launched on XBLA but I played it more on that than in arcades or on Dreamcast. This problem has been fixed in a few ways. The plays faster for one which makes it harder to bring out assist characters without them getting hurt. The second is there are less full screen beam assist. Lastly is that assist take a few seconds to recharge once used.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, change are the controls. Instead of having three buttons that do punches and three that do kicks like in SSF4 or MvC2 Capcom streamlined the controls into light, medium and heavy attacks with a button that is used to pop up opponents, one that is all attack for hyper combos, and one that when pressed does a hyper combo combination. This setup allows new users to jump right in and gives a little bit of a new learning experience to the vets of the series. I personally like the new setup because it allows the games to be played at a faster pace and the combos are easier to do. However, many vets and some professional reviewers thought Capcom was playing to much into the non-veterans hands and don't like it.
Another new option is simple mode. By pressing a button instead of putting in the combination your characters do special moves. This mode does limit how many attacks you can do and it doesn't really teach you how to play but it is good for players that have never played or friends and family that will never own the game but want to try to compete with you in offline modes.
The last major add-in is X-Factor. When you hit all the face buttons your character in engulfed in a red aura. That has a different effect on all the characters but always regenerates their health. Other affects include: faster movement and stronger attacks.
One problem that seemed to pop up didn't have much to do with any one area so I'll put it in gameplay. Many vets complained that the roster wasn't big enough. There are 36 characters, some new faces but many have been in the series before, a 20 character drop from MvC2's 56. DLC will be a huge part of this game and there might even be something like a "Super" version later on. While I don't mind the roster size I do mind some of the picks, M.O.D.O.K and Thor are just awful. I don't love the idea of DLC but I will get it.
Another problem is a lack of game modes. Other than online and arcade mode you have training, mission mode(learning combos), and versus mode. No time trial, challenge or other modes that are in other fighters on the market. Even a story mode would have been nice to bring some light onto the endings which make no sense.
Overall the gameplay changes are for the best and are mostly an improvement over MvC2. However the lack of game modes and a shrunk roster have many of the fans worrying or complaining.
The reason you buys a fighter, to fight on and offline against people.
Offline is just that. You can play people or CPUs in a match. Nothing more nothing less.
Online is where it is at with MvC3. It has player matches that are lobby formats that hold up to eight people in one lobby. It also does ranked matches that you find someone around your ranks and fight to gain exp and for bragging rights on the leaderboards.
The ranked matches seem more competitive than the player matches. All matches show your playercard with your win-loss, title, emblem and win streak. the difference I think is that the win-loss in player matches, as well as the win streak, only deal with that lobby whereas in ranked matches it is in all ranked play. If you see someone with a 5 or 10 match streak in ranked play you want to beat them but at the same time you might be thinking they are pretty good so you try to plan out how to attack them.
Ranked matches can take a little bit of time to find. I tried to find one yesterday and I was searching for over a minute before I just quit looking. Other times I get right into a game so it seems more of a by chance system, if someone else is looking you will get a match. This can be annoying and it would have been made better if there were lobbies for ranked matches too.
That being said when you get into a match, ranked or player, there is no lag at least that I have experienced. Most players used different parties so you normally don't see the same characters twice in a row. Even if you do no two players play alike.
I do have a few issues with online modes. In SSF4 you had theater mode and could save replies or watch others replies. This is missing from MvC3 which I think is a pretty big mistake. It was fun to watch others and try to learn from them or put up your own matches for friends to watch. Another MIA mode is spectator mode in lobbies. You can't watch others fight while you wait in a lobby. This was a poor exclusion because most people don't stick around in a lobby if they can' watch the matches. I hope these come out in a patch sometime.
MvC3 is one of the best online fighters this generation. It captures the speed of and flashiness of the offline game with near zero lag online. Everyone plays different which means a different game every time you join a match. Missing modes hold this back from being a bright golden color but a slightly dulled gold is still a great reason to buy.
The sound in MvC3 adds a lot of the fighter/comic feel to the game. The voices sound right for the characters as do their lines though they do get annoying to listen to after awhile, Deadpool most of all. The hyper combos and special moves sound like they look, Wolverine's claws sound like metal slashing across something for example.
The music is alright. The title music is catchy and some of the stage music is neat but nothing really catches you enough for you to care about it. It doesn't take away from the gameplay but it really doesn't add enough to help out the game overall.
MvC3 has ditched the sprite look of the older games for a new, 3D look while fighting 2D battles, On a whole the game looks fantastic but it isn't without some down falls.
The characters at a distance look great with their new 3D look. They remind players more of the game characters from the Capcom side and really try to bring the comic book characters to life. However, when you zoom in on characters they seem to lose the detail that the sprites of MvC2 had. The hair looks flat and bland, outfits don't look as sharp and even some of the weapons just look plain. It's almost forgivable because 99% of the time you don't see them up close but you still see them up close at times.
The backgrounds look awesome. The 3D effect is really cool to look at even if some of the stages are a little busy. They are constantly moving around which adds in a neat atmospheric affect that a lot of fighters just don't have.
The game is very colorful too. All the characters seem to have bright colors pouring from their bodies. the combos are still flashy and brightly lit.
Technically this game has unlimited replay as long as you find people to play with. However, after you beat the arcade a few times all there is to do is mission mode and play online which can limit you. You can go for all the titles if you want and a new Shadow Mode, playing against famous people or players AI characters, which can add game time to this title. But being a fighter many will play it for a few months and it will die away.
Still this game will keep the fans going for a long time.
This is one of the better fighters out right now with SSF4 and Blazblue: CS. It is a great addition to the MvC series but I wonder if it is really enough after waiting more than a decade. So few modes and less characters seem to me like a bit of a rip-off. Nevertheless I love playing it despite getting slammed online.
(My review is not an average of my numbers but what I feel the game as a whole should get. The numbers under each category are based on what I think those categories are in general when compared to most games on the market today.)
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