A Game A Decade in the Making
In 2000, Marvel VS. Capcom 2 hit arcades as well as consoles, and a new fandom was born. This game had it all-- a colorful cast of characters, insane combo opportunities, and lightning-fast gameplay. Fans yearned for a sequel, but they would have to wait a good ten years for it. Now Marvel VS. Capcom 3 is on store shelves, and that day is finally here. You'll be taken for a ride, but not before getting spammed to death, cursed out for winning against someone online, and annoyed by hearing Nolan North's voice in yet another game. Is Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds worthy of the Marvel VS. Capcom moniker, or is its fate sealed?
What is immediately apparent when sitting down to the game is how barebones it is mode-wise. What you have for single-player is arcade, mission, training, and local versus. Online-wise you have ranked and player matches. You can also join lobbies with up to seven other players. Ranked matches can link you up with opponents of the same rank as you, or if you're feeling bold, you can opt to take on someone with a much higher rank. Rank is acquired by completing battles. Of course, if you win, you'll earn more points than if you lose. Rage-quitters and early DCers will have their points taken away from them, so it's best to stick around and take your beating like a man. Yeah, it's not politically correct, but it's true. What's surprising and all the more disappointing about online play is that there is no spectator mode to speak of. Perhaps this will come later as DLC? In my humble opinion, it should have been in the game day one since Super Street Fighter 4 has it. Nonetheless, online battles on the PS3 have little in the way of lag or framerate issues. In fact, I noticed nothing of the sort in my many battles of playing the role of the scrub.
Arcade mode is what you'd expect. Maybe even less. You battle six rounds of teams of three followed by a battle against the universe-destroying tyrant, Galactus. Depending on which teammate of yours scores the final hit, you'll be rewarded with their ending. This goes again with the barebones argument. Instead of a cool movie in style with the opening of the game, you get two comic book-like still-frame panels featuring voiceless text. Talk about not going any extra miles, Capcom. The endings themselves feature characters not present as fighters in the game such as Ghost Rider and Phoenix Wright. They're usually pretty funny or at the least entertaining. There's thirty-six fighters in all, so you'll be getting to know the arcade mode (And Galactus) quite well if you want to unlock every character's ending.
Speaking of character, Marvel VS. Capcom 3 has plenty of it and plenty of them. While the roster isn't as large (or as broken) as its predecessor, there are still eighteen candidates to fight with and against on each side of the line. There's shoe-ins like Ryu, Chun-Li, Morrigan, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine, but there's characters you wouldn't expect like Amaretsu from Okami fame, the comical, fourth wall-breaking Deadpool, and M.O.D.O.K. to spice things up. Each team leader starts the battle out by taunting their opponents, and ends the battle with a victory taunt and ending commentary. Based on who you battle, the commentary is different. A character might even comment on a certain opponent. For instance, M.O.D.O.K. says when he's defeated Captain America that his suit looks more red than red, white, and blue after the beating he's suffered in the hands of M.O.D.O.K. I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Each character oozes with personality, and frankly, there really isn't a loser in the cast. Promised DLC foretells that the cast will only grow larger with Resident Evil's Jill Valentine and Marvel's tentacled menace Shuma-Gorath soon hitting the marketplace for their respective consoles.
In Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, battles consist of three-on-three affairs. Players can tag in their teammates, and while they are resting, a portion of their life bar will slowly refill. Assist attacks occur when a player calls in their teammate to attack. There's three types of assists attacks for each character, so choosing the right one usually is the difference between victory and defeat as is the usage of hyper combos. As you fight, a gauge in the bottom corner of the screen fills. As it fills, you can perform hyper combos which are super-powerful moves. If you save up enough of your gauge, you can unleash a team hyper combo to inflict massive damage to whatever unlucky opponent stands in your way. Of course, they can block your attack to minimize the damage or simply punch or kick you at the last moment to make you waste a portion of your hyper combo gauge.
In the subculture of Marvel VS. Capcom 3, there's a whole slew of technical terms to learn and master from snap-backs to advanced guards. Snap-backs knock away the current member of the opposing team and exchanges them with someone else. Advanced guards occur when you're blocking and press two attack buttons at the same time to push your opponent backward, giving you distance and room to maneuver. There's also aerial combos to consider, aerial blocks, and other terms that scrubs will have to learn if they want any kind of advantage in battle.
There's two types of control methods in Marvel VS. Capcom 3. There's the original controls and the simple ones. Simple mode uses the X button to launch your foe into the air for a team or solo aerial combo, the circle button to unleash a hyper combo, the square button to start a normal attack, and the triangle button to launch a special attack. Simple mode might be too simple in the fact that you're limited in the amount of moves you can use on your opponents. Normal mode allows for a more robust moveset at the cost of more confusing controls. Thankfully, there's no full circle moves to speak of a la Street Fighter.
Along with arcade, training, and versus modes, there's mission mode which is virtually the same concept as in Super Street Fighter 4. Each of the thirty-six characters has ten missions to perform. These are not "kill 10 enemies in 30 seconds" type missions, but more like "perform this move or combo". When the combos are ten moves long, things get confusing and frustrating quickly. You have to have some finger-fu to even come close to finishing half of the missions in this mode. It's unforgiving, yes, but it does give you some options for combat when you play against the computer or online with friends or perfect strangers.
Marvel VS. Capcom 3 is a gorgeous-looking game. While there's only ten stages to fight in, each one is booming with eye candy and moving parts with nary a mention of slowdown to speak of. On Kattelox Island (from Mega Man Legends), for instance, the Bonne family stands a top one of their many Reaverbot inventions while fireworks go off in the night sky, and Servebots play around in the background. There's a lot going on. Additionally, characters are cel-shaded, and they look like they were ripped straight out of a comic book. It's a very impressive choice for an art style, and it looks mighty impressive. On the audio side of things, every character, including Galactus, has their own theme song that plays when they arrive in battle. There's a gallery to look at character biographies, endings, 3D models that can be zoomed in and out and panned around to capture that perfect glimpse, and a catalog of voice clips for every character. Most of the music is quite good and stage themes are also above average.
Overall, Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is not a perfect fighter. It certainly demands a lot of attention if you want to get anywhere near good at it. There's a bit of a learning curve unlike Tatsunoko VS. Capcom, a fighter that I prefer to this one, actually. Coincidentally, Marvel VS. Capcom 3 is modeled after that game. Nonetheless, there's leagues of depth to discover in this title, loads of fan service, marvelous (pun intended) production values, and insane gameplay to make most people happy. It's just a shame there's a paltry amount of single-player content to choose from. Where's the survival mode? Where's the endless mode? Where's the spectator mode? While these questions remain unanswered, there's still plenty to love about the fate of these two delicious worlds.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]