Time seemed to crawl from the time Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was announced to when it was finally released. I dribbled away hours checking to see if there were any new updates on shoryuken.com. Finally, this past Tuesday at around 4:30 p.m. there was a knock, knock, knock on my door. “Why yes, UPS man, I will sign for that package!!” Waiting and anticipating had ended; finally a copy of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 (special edition) was in my hands.
The special edition packaging was well worth the extra cash. The game was packed in a luxurious metal tin rather than the standard plastic DVD case. Some vinyl stickers were included (ok…what the hell am I going to do with those???) as well as a collectors comic book filled with promotional art and two special codes; one code good for a month subscription to Marvel digital comics and the other good for 2 DLC characters, Resident Evil’s Jill Valentine and Marvel’s weird eyeball monster Shuma-Gorath. Blah, blah, blah…on to the game.
This game is gorgeous. The colors are rich and bright. Shit flashes so often that there is a special warning for epileptics that fades in (of course) as soon as the game loads. Character animations are so smooth that it is as if you are watching a Pixar film. The background stages are also wickedly detailed and animated.
The sound is equally lush. Each character has his or her own theme music, and once a character on a team is defeated the background music changes to match his or her replacement. The voice acting is top notch as well. Actors from the various Capcom families reprise their roles. The voices of Wolverine, Storm, X-23 and Phoenix are voiced by their actor counterpart in the short-lived but loved cartoon, Wolverine and the X-men.
The gameplay is fast and furious and the controls are responsive. After a few jaunts in training mode even Jill would be able to master some moves. To make it even easier, players can choose to activate simple mode. When activated special moves and hyper combos are easier to pull off, although certain moves will no longer be available.
The game feels much more balanced than Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, which is a good thing. Blogs have been all a fluff with fanboys pissed-off at the inclusion of Sentinel as a playable character. Sure, he is incredibly strong, big and surprisingly quick…but not unbeatable. In fact, I found this version of the Sentinel much easier to overcome than his Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 counterpart. One strategy you could use is this; First, deal with his teammates by using Snap-Back to knock his metal ass out of the playing field. Then, after his teammates are toast, activate your X-factor to get a speed, power, and durability boost and you should be able to overpower the lumbering giant.
One character I found rather fun to play as was Phoenix. In Marvel Comics, Jean Grey is not really known for her fighting skills. I mean, sure, she could peel the skin from your face with the power of her brain from a distance…but she isn’t a hand-to-hand fighter like…I dunno… Psylocke, whose absence makes me frown :(. Anyway, I was initially surprised by her inclusion. Well, her in game character slaps and tao-bo kicks…so yeah, it is accurate. She is rather low on the durability side as well, but her rush down can be exhilarating. However, should she die while the hyper combo meter is full…all hell will break loose. She becomes the Dark Phoenix. Her strength and speed are stupidly high. Smack a X-Factor on and she can easily wipe out an entire team. Special Advisor, Seth Killian describes her character as an “all-in” character…or a “glass cannon.” Still, she is a hell of a lot of fun to play.
This game is a fanboys dream. The characters are true to their personality. For example, Iron Man will flirt with the ladies and Sentinel will come alert should their be a mutant on the other team. Pre-fight smack talk will give fanboys a happy should opposing characters be familiar with one another. Iron Man will respond differently to Captain America differently than, lets say Dante from the Devil May Cry series. The same can be said over on the Capcom side; Chun Li and Ryu will share a little conversation pre-fight. Oh, and Felicia’s commentary to Dormammu is particularly funny. Also, notice that Tron Bonne is watching from the bridge in the Kattelox Island background? Well, should she be in the fight she will no longer be on the bridge. No duh, right? Sometimes this attention to detail is overlooked in other games.
Where is the story?? We were promised a story! Normally, the story in fighting games is not wanted, expected, or needed. However, there was a lot of press made over a story. There were beautiful intro movies…yet you play the arcade mode and you just start fighting. Once you beat the final boss you are treated to two pieces of art work and some written dialogue. Why no ending movies? Why aren’t they at least spoken? WTF? I kinda expected an experience similar to Mortal Kombat Vs. DC in which a story was awkwardly woven in to the gaming experience.
Sadly, I am one of thousands who cannot play this game online. They say this is due to too many people playing online…which I get…but you would think given the fact that we have been salivating for this game for ten years that they may have planned for all of us wanting to play online. Playing against a computer is not the same as playing against a human…even if they do live in China.
And lastly, the DLC. Get prepared to be nickel and dimed to hell with this game. You want more characters? Pay $5. You want more costumes? They will be available in character packs for $5. Other games (Fallout, Dragon Age) felt like complete games. DLC were meant as add-ons to more-or-less tide you over and extend replay value. Capcom seems to offer a game that is 75% complete and you must fork over some dough to get the full game. This reminds me of my experience buying my new car. I had to pay extra for floor mats. Seriously. DVD’s hold a shit ton of information, so storage capabilities are not to blame here, human greed is.
Still, this game is fun, pretty, and easy to play but hard to master. I can’t wait to spend my summer in doors trampling pre-teens (once they settle this X-Box live BS!)