After much teasing, planning, and a long wait to endure... Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds FINALLY arrives in consoles the world over for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 entertainment systems. After 11 years since Marvel Vs Capcom 2 hit arcades and caused a stir, a true sequel has finally been released, and people are definitely playing this one and talking about it. The question however stirring in everyone's mind now though is "Did it meet expectations"? Well, the short answer is a resounding "YES", but we'll get into that a little bit later. I bought the PS3 Collector's Edition version of this game yesterday, and I'm enjoying everything as I write this review. Do take a moment to simmer down, relax, and read this article as cautiously as possible. I've been a fighting game player for most of my life, and what I say in this review serves up only to my opinions regarding the game's performance based on my expectations, nothing more, nothing less. With that, let's take things for a ride and get the show on the road!
Before we get to the nitty and gritty, we have to backtrack a bit and explore what the previous installment was like. As I said, over a decade has past since Marvel Vs Capcom 2, and I cannot stress how much has changed in the fighting game industry since that game was released back in 2000. That title literally broke the bar and introduced over 50 characters from both the Marvel and Capcom franchises, setting the stage for what would be considered the most insane crossover fighting game of the previous century. Still, it was a 2D fighter with 3D background stages... and a jazzy soundtrack that makes the title "memorable" to this very day. Impossible team-ups were forged, and anyone playing a Magneto-Storm-Psylocke combination most certainly had your number and abuse added to his name. The game also skewed away with the standard 6-button attack control scheme the previous Capcom VS series had and replaced it with a streamlined layout, with 4 buttons dedicated to attacking and 2 solely as assist buttons to call on your partners. Let's not forget tag team action, team super combo attacks, and giant boss battles! Now, with that refresher aside, lets get to the new game!
First of all, Marvel Vs Capcom 3 has totally reworked its fighting game engine from the ground up. It borrows and is heavily influenced by Capcom's previous VS game last year, Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, and is powered by the same graphics engine as Resident Evil 5, the MT Framework game engine. Essentially, it's still your traditional 2D fighter, only with lovely new 3D sprites and backgrounds populating the latest installment. It took a while for this game to be developed because of licensing issues, but now that Marvel and Capcom have worked out the kinks and brought this baby to life, expect fangasm to ensue anew once more. Veterans of the series looking for their favorites will be pleased to know that old school favorites like Captain America, Spider-Man, and Iron Man are back on the Marvel side, while tried and true Capcom warriors such as Ryu, Morrigan, and Felicia return to settle their own personal scores. Of course, this wouldn't be a true sequel without some new characters added to the table, and there are a ton of new faces! Capcom heartthrobs hoping for their favorite action game characters to make an appearance finally get their prayers answered, as such faces like Dante from the Devil May Cry series, Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker from Resident Evil, and heck even Mayor Mike Haggar from Final Fight appear in a fighting game! Marvel even gets a taste of new blood in the form of Thor, Super Skrull, Deadpool (yes, DEADPOOL!), and even femme fatales like She-Hulk and Phoenix are in! True, the roster isn't as extensive as MvC 2, but MvC 3 holds on its own with an impressive line up to exploit. In total, there are 34 characters available from the get go, with two more unlocked as you beat the game and two that you can download via DLC later this March. Add all those, extra costumes, and a mega boss battle with Galactus come game's end, and you've got an easy look at what is possibly a good contender for fighting game of the year 2011!
The properties of this game remain faithful to previous VS series with lots of crazy combos and super moves, but it adds some new elements to it as well. For one thing, it plays awfully like Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, with a dedicated 4 button attack scheme laid out for even the none experienced players to take a whack at and exploit. There's even a "SIMPLE MODE" for those who just don't get fighting games, making MvC3 a leveled playing field for the beginner to tred on. However, that's not to say that the game is easy, it's the exact opposite. Next to the basic standards of a fighting game, you still have the usual assortment of special moves and supers exclusive to each and every character present in this game, plus chaining said moves into air combos and hyper combos! SInce the game is 3 vs 3 again like its predecessor, it's a battle royale frenzy complete with combination attacks and crossovers that'll make bystanders watch in anticipation. In the end, victory boils down to quick thinking and execution, and with something as fast paced as MvC 3, players have to think on their feet and get ready to dish out punishment when the opportunity presents itself. If you're on the losing end, don't worry. MvC 3 also introduces a new gameplay element called the "X-Factor", which temporarily boosts strength and heals whatever remains in your depleted lifebar. It's good to use when you're in a bind, especially with one character left, so save it and use it wisely when the time calls for drastic measures!
As for content and replayability, this is where Marvel Vs Capcom 3 gets divided in terms of opinions. There's no doubt its a fantastic and fun fighting game to play, but there's sorely a lack of modes that makes the game lose ground easily, especially after one plays and runs down each and every character's storyline (which are kinda typical in a sense). Granted, there's versus and online mode for those itching to keep on fighting, but adding a few more modes like Time Trial or extra story missions would have benefitted the game even more. Mission mode holds up on its own for those looking to learn how their character's combos work, but that's just about it as far as diversity goes. In terms of online play, it holds out well and feels just as great as playing Capcom's other prized fighter, Super Street Fighter IV online. The company has introduced a "License system" that allows players to check and save their stats, as well as compare themselves with friends they play the game with online. You can also register and save up to three team combinations for quick access, so once you have your favorite pairings set, it's ready to go and do battle whenever you please.
In the end, Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds gets the job done. It may not be the biggest character line up since Marvel Vs Capcom 2, but it's hell of a lot impressive to see after an 11 year hiatus. Like Tatsunoko Vs Capcom before it, it's a whole new playing field to explore, but once you get the learning curve right, Veterans and newbies alike will feel right at home and revel at the challenges this game offers. The graphics are impressive, sound is top notch, and the gameplay is just addicting. Hopefully this sets the stage for more breathtaking sequels Capcom can make in the future, and with the possibilities just endless and ripe, maybe they will.
Rating - 5/5