Well folks, it's back. It has been a long, dry 10 years since the last installment in Capcom's famed Marvel versus series. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is here on your Playstation 3/360 consoles and brings with it the same crazy adernaline rush of crushing your opponent that Marvel vs Capcom 2 did, but with drastically new gameplay features, some exciting new and returning characters, and several offline and online modes.
If you are used to the Marvel series's addictive fast-paced gameplay, you will feel right at home with this game. This title retains all the craziness that its predecessors had and amplifies it further by pumping the action out in beautiful 2.5D gameplay with 3D rendered models, cinematic supers, and much more. The developers have made many changes to the gameplay, most for the better. One of the most notable tweaks, X-Factor, is an insanely crazy feature that makes the gameplay even more fast-paced and dishes out a ton of damage. I'll get into that later, but let's start off with going over the basics.
The rules of this game are a littlle different from your traditional fighter. Both Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its predecessor share the same gameplay aspects. One must combine a team of 3 heroes, villains, or both and duke it out. However, like any other fighting game out there the object of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is plain and simple - K.O. your opponent by depleting their health bar. It may sound simple at first, but there is definitely a lot of depth and thinking that goes into slaughtering your opponent. Sit back, relax, and take notes while I take you for a ride. Because...it's Mahvel Baby.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is an amazing game no doubt, both graphically and gameplay-wise. Capcom has really done a great job in animating these characters and bringing them to life. Characters move and look like they would in their original universes, even sporting some costumes that throw an homage to their different appearances over the years. The game has achieved what many like to call a "Living Comic Book" effect, and it does it quite nicely. While the game only has a few stages, they are some of the best I've seen in a fighting game to date. The stages are massive and fully animated with 3D backgrounds. Even subtle effects like the ground breaking apart after certain special moves or slamming into the earth are there. Like in most Capcom games, several stages feature cameos of other characters and homages to other series as well. Special touches like these show that a lot of work was put into creating these spectacular stages. All in all, the graphics of this game are great. So much in fact, that it was said by the producer himself that the game was pushing the PS3/360 to their limits.
Yes, that is Arthur in his strawberry boxers. And yes, that is Asgard.
Eh, not much to say here. Like in most fighters, the storyline consists of the player going through Arcade Mode and beating the final boss. Afterwards, they are rewarded with two ending images with text (similar to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom) of the character that landed the final blow on the boss. The credits roll and you're back to the Main Menu, ready to brawl again. While these endings weren't what most were expecting, they are very well-detailed and feature cameos from famous Marvel and Capcom characters alike. With a subtitle like "Fate of Two Worlds", one could easily guess who the final boss is. If you don't know who it is, I will not spoil it for you. Let's just say that it would be in your best interest to defeat this big baddie as fast as possible.
Ah, this is where the core of the game lies. To those not used to Versus series gameplay it is extremely fast-paced, moreso than normal fighters like Street Fighter or BlazBlue. Characters are put on teams of 3 to fight against each other until the last character's health bar is diminished. Characters can switch in and out with their primary fighters at any given time, and can even pop in to help and do an assist special move to extend combos and whatnot. This game also features an Online mode where you can battle people across the world and show your mettle. It features basic modes like Ranked and Player matches with up to 8 player lobbies, no Spectator mind you. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has some new gameplay tweaks to set it apart from the games before it. For starters, each character has a launch move now activated by the press of a button. One of the more notable features is the inclusion of X-Factor. By pressing all of the face buttons on your controller, your character gains a red aura around their body. Upon its activation, X-Factor temporarily boosts your character's damage output and speed drastically, giving you an edge against your opponent. Any red health that you may have is slowly regenerated over the time that X-Factor is active. It even negates chip damage! One can activate it during the middle of an attack or even a Hyper Combo to cancel their animation and go into a relentless string of attacks. There are 3 "levels" to X-Factor as well, depending on how many of your characters are left in the fight. Level one is activated when you have all three characters still alive and kickin', it gives the minimum strength and speed boosts and only lasts for a few seconds. Level 2 and 3 are activated when you have only 2 and 1 member(s) of your team left respectively, with Level 3 being the most potent of the group. There are a few drawbacks to this, however. It may only be used once per battle. Once it's used up you will have to wait until the next fight to activate it again. While it may be used to cancel an unsafe move, X-Factor is not entirely invincible upon activation. It can still be punished.
Another new feature included in this game is the introduction of Aerial Team combos. After hitting your opponent and launching them into the air, you have the option of following up with a combo. If you choose to do so, you can extend it even more by pressing a direction on your controller and hitting them with the Launcher button. This will prompt your character to switch out with another in their possy and continue the combo. If this is successful, your team will gain a lot of meter and will have hopefully dealt a good deal of damage to their opponent. Your opponent has a 50% percent chance of stopping this assault if they can guess the direction you input, causing them to perform a burst and push your character away.
Double Shoryuken? Epic.
Now on to the good stuff. What's gameplay matter without the characters you know and love? The roster is a bit smaller this time around, featuring 36 characters (38 if you include the two DLC - Shuma-Gorath and Jill). Many classics like Ryu, Morrigan Chun-Li, Wolverine, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and etc. return for this new chapter in the Versus series. Newcomers to the series are made up of fan favorites such as Dante from Devil May Cry or Wesker from Resident Evil fame. Capcom decided to throw us a few curveballs and put in some relatively obscure choices like MODOK and Dormammu to spice up variety in the roster. Returning from the original Marvel vs. Capcom is character themes that play when a character is switched in. Many fans have been clamoring for its inclusion and Capcom listened. Characters also call out each other's names when being switched out and some even have special dialogue with each other. That's about it for gameplay in this review, but there are so many more facets uncovered. You'd have to play the game for yourself.
The music in this game can only be described as awesome. From stage themes to individually remixed character themes, Capcom has done a great job in organizing it all. Many themes are recognizable from older games or even older entries in the Versus series, while new characters recieved completely new and lively music to add more "oomph" to their personality. And yes, Take you for a Ride is back. With several remixes. How's that for nostalgia? Not much else to say on this subject either, the music is great.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the third installment in the Marvel vs. series and it brings a ton of new and exciting features along with it. It is insanely fun to play with both friends and online. Even though it has its faults, it is a great game and one sure to be played for many years on end much like its predecessors. This concludes my second review, I hope you guys and gals enjoyed it.~
Overall Score: 9/10
Quite fitting, isn't it?