Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Review)

Capcom sure has taken a lot of crap from their fans in recent months. Hordes of angry consumers are upset that they have to buy Marvel vs Capcom 3 for a second time, but I’m not even going to get into that. This is after all my review for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Capcom has really proved their doubters wrong with this thorough upgrade to an already great fighting game.

Since I already wrote a review for the original release of Marvel vs Capcom 3, I won’t really rehash anything I said about the gameplay systems and what not so if you haven’t played Marvel vs Capcom 3 at all, read that review first for my thoughts on the overall structure and playability of the game. So what does Capcom bring to the table with the Ultimate update? Twelve new characters, ten new stages, a revamped main menu and UI, as well as extensive balancing and expanding of existing character move lists.

First, let’s talk about the returning characters. A lot of characters have brand new moves which will force their long time fans to come up with new strategies and ways to integrate the new moves into their play styles. Wolverine is perhaps my favourite example of this as he has gained an attack called “Swiss Cheese” in which he slices his claws repeatedly in front of him. It’s a lot like Super Skrull’s “Tenderizer” attack and is easy to execute (perhaps too easy). Various other characters have a new trick or two up their sleeves while almost every character has been rebalanced or tweaked to some degree. Most of the changes are fortunately minor and won’t really affect the gameplay any differently for regular players, though the hardcore tournament players will be obsessing over each and every small change due to even the slightest tweak being a potential game changer for specific characters on the tournament scene.

All characters now have six colours to choose from with most of them being new colour schemes that were not present in the original release. Captain America, Deadpool and Zero have some cool alternate colour schemes with Zero perhaps being the most interesting due to how his alternate colours pay homage to various characters in the Mega Man universe. In typical trollish Capcom fashion, Zero has received a brand new Mega Man X alternate colour scheme. This is sure to annoy some Mega Man fans, but they haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait until DLC costumes!

In terms of new characters, there’s a lot of really interesting variety. Twelve new faces have been added in total, six to each side. On Capcom’s side we have Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu, and Vergil. Firebrand is a winged red demon who can flutter around the screen shooting fireballs and doing various dive attacks. He’s a little difficult to get used to, but he seems like a fairly pleasant surprise. It’s pretty possible for Firebrand to be anywhere at once, and I anticipate he’ll be the bane of a lot of inexperienced players online.

Frank West seems like a very enjoyable character. He appears to be very melee oriented due to starting off with his baseball bat and camera. The fun thing about Frank is that he can level himself up and gain new weapons. Each time Frank levels up, his melee weapon will change. What starts off as a mere baseball bat will eventually end up as much stronger combo weapons that we all know and love from Dead Rising.

Phoenix Wright is a real handful to use. His animations are confusing and it is difficult to determine what “moves” will hit your opponent. Phoenix Wright’s moves include throwing papers, sneezing (or coughing?), and falling down on his butt. While I appreciate the fact that Capcom included Phoenix Wright in the game to please his fans, he is an obvious joke character – but not in the good way. In my opinion, he is a waste of space in this game.

As a long time Marvel vs Capcom fan, I’ve been putting a lot of time into Strider Hiryu and am loving how he plays in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. He is fantastic at both short and long range and his teleports can really help mix things up quite a bit.

Nemesis and Vergil also seem quite handy and I’m sure each of them will be devastating in the right hands. Nemesis sort of reminds me of Venom while Vergil is sure to get a lot of play from Devil May Cry fans as well as anyone who prefers sword-based characters.

On the Marvel side we have Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon. I’ve really only taken to two Marvel characters and they are Ghost Rider and Nova. The rest, unfortunately, just don’t mesh with my play style at all which is a real shame since I was really looking forward to Iron Fist before release.

Ghost Rider is a long range virtuoso. His chain attacks often stretch all the way across the screen which makes it pretty hard to run from Ghost Rider, and his “eat chain” line that he spits out with each attack sounds great. I feel like I probably like Ghost Rider’s look and voice more than how he plays but, overall, he feels like a really well made fighter with his chain and fire attacks. Oh yeah, and we can’t ignore his hyper where he jumps on his bike and mows down the opponent!

Nova took a lot of heat before release with many fans saying that he just looked like a rehashing of other characters. Essentially, they thought he was a bland and boring version of Taskmaster. I was always looking forward to Nova and I’ve grown to really enjoy using him now that the game is in my hands. He does have a lot of close range rushdown attacks as demonstrated in his trailer, but he also has quite a bit of long range possibilities as well and I can’t wait to try him out against human opponents.

Now, the four characters I don’t like too much on the Marvel side? Doctor Strange seems very well made, but I can’t adapt to his floaty mechanics and, due to him hovering slightly above the ground, I haven’t had much luck using Strange against the likes of Amaterasu, Arthur, or Rocket Raccoon.

Hawkeye isn’t a bad character and his bows have excellent range and speed, but he feels seriously bland and uninspired to me. I like his theme music, but playing him is honestly a bore. The same applies to Iron Fist who I thought looked like a blast in his trailer, but after using him? He just felt hopelessly generic and is nothing but a Bruce Lee rip-off in this game. I understand that Iron Fist is an exceptionally talented martial artist, but the Bruce Lee vibes could have been taken down a few notches.

As for Rocket Racoon? I don’t have any problems with him and his quirky design amuses me, but his small size makes him a little harder for me to play with. It feels like Yoda from Soulcalibur IV all over again. He has plenty of range and can even use traps (think Trish), but Rocket Raccoon is pretty pitiful in my hands and I don’t want to comment on him very much because of this.

I suppose I could mention Galactus as a seventh Marvel character since we are able to play as him now. In Galactus Mode, you simply play as the planet devourer himself as you take down team after team of opponents. It’s fun for one or two matches, but after that it becomes a bit dull. Playing as Galactus is interesting, but it usually feels like a lot of effort on my part to even make him do anything. Capcom does not include a move list for him, so figuring out how to use Galactus is all guess work.

There are ten new stages in total, but they are all just “remixed” versions of existing stages. For example, Kattelox Island is now covered in snow and the SHIELD heli-carrier stage is now set during the day. Fortunately the remixed stages add just enough variety to be interesting to play on, though Demon Village Redux (essentially a black and white version of the original Demon Village) feels like a bit of a lazy rush job.

There aren’t too many other new features, though the ingame UI has been improved making it easier to tell which character is on point and how much life your teammates have left. You will also always know when you have X Factor available due to the electrified red X at the end of each player’s life bars. Another small thing worth mentioning for those who don’t play online much is that the computer AI has been made a little more difficult.

Overall, I feel like Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a huge step in the right direction. All of the new characters (except Phoenix Wright) feel as if they belong in this game and all of them are probably pretty viable. While we’re sure to see a frightening number of Vergils online, at least we’re still going to see a little more diversity! If you were a fan of the original Marvel vs Capcom 3, then I would definitely suggest checking out the Ultimate upgrade. The game feels remarkably exciting and fresh again and the new characters add plenty of unpredictability to the fights.

Final Score

9.4/10

Pros:
+ New characters and stages all look really great.
+ Old characters receiving new moves was a great idea.
+ The new characters add lots of new possibilities.

Cons:
– Galactus fight is the same as ever.
– No new innovative game modes.
– Phoenix Wright. Capcom, what were you thinking?

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Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Isn’t A Rip-Off

 

Note: I am speaking my mind with this post, so a bit of foul language will slip through. If you don’t enjoy reading colourful language, click here for something more suited to your tastes.

 


Over the past few weeks, I’ve spotted a really stupid trend spreading throughout the minds of disgruntled Capcom fans and such. This trend is the belief that the original Marvel vs Capcom 3 was some kind of beta. Um… Am I the only one who fails to see the rampant stupidity in such a belief?

For starters, betas are ridden with bugs, glitches, and many little nuances that will nag at players and interrupt their gaming on many occasions. None of this applies to the original Marvel vs Capcom 3 which is a finely crafted game that happens to be remarkably bug free and insanely enjoyable to play. The game is very polished through and through, and really the only two complaints about the game that I ever see are “boo hoo, no Mega Man” and “whine whine, no additional offline modes.” Sounds like minor gripes to me. Marvel vs Capcom 3 doesn’t smell like a beta at all, nope. Smells like a fully fledged game that is very well developed.

The reason for a lot of people blabbing that Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is an extension to a beta that we already played is different though. It has nothing to do with how the original game plays or how it feels, no. People are merely pissed off that they have to pay $40 for this wealth of new content which they all assume should have been in the original game… Not because Capcom planned everything from release (they didn’t). It is simply because all of these naysayers are merely greedy pricks.

Let’s look at some other games out there that threw additional content like this at us, shall we? First off, Diablo 2. Remember that awesome PC RPG? I’m sure many people do since, like Marvel vs Capcom 3, it’s pretty darn awesome. Now remember how fantastic the original Diablo 2 was? It was very playable, very fun, very great… And then about a full year later, the expansion was released. It introduced a lot of new gameplay mechanics, new classes, and new locations to play in. How did people react? “THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE!”

Half-Life 2. A different genre, but another game that is right up there with other great games. Remember when Episode 1 was announced and later released? Everyone went batshit insane with joy. Same deal with Episode 2, and we still have people clammering for Episode 3. Both Episode 1 and Episode 2 were well made and exceptionally polished. They introduced a lot of new areas and enemies, and the fans really enjoyed it and appreciated it all. I don’t remember anyone crying that Episodes 1 and 2 should’ve been part of the original game. Valve wanted to continue the story of Half-Life 2 and give gamers more of what they loved. Doesn’t this sound a lot like, uhhh, the same thing Capcom is doing right now?

Then there are MMORPGs. Monthly subscriptions. This is a pretty crappy way to make people continue to play your games and in most cases it is a necessary evil (I said MOST cases), but nobody really whines about it too much. Heck, nobody even complains about MMORPG expansion packs. What happens when World of Warcraft gets a new expansion? The people who go “lol you have to pay for the game all over again” are few and far between. Most people will instead be analyzing the content and all that, and people will get hyped to visit various new areas, try out new hero classes or races, and so forth. Nobody ever seems to be too bothered by the price at all with MMORPG expansion packs as they instead nitpick about changes that expansions bring to the core gameplay (example: WoW Cataclysm completely changed and simplified talent trees, making people relearn a bunch of crap they already knew).

So if expansion packs are tolerated for higher quality first person shooters, roleplaying games, and MMORPGs… Why are they not viewed in the same light for fighting games? Enter Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.

We are getting twelve brand new characters and eight new stages. To top this off, there will be new modes to play, tons of new moves for existing characters, and more. The game has even received a completely new look! Such extensive changes prevent Ultimate from merely being DLC or a patch because there’s just too much darn content. There is too much… Expansion. Oh my.

Because of the extensive additions the game is receiving, it is required for it to be distributed in physical disc form only. Essentially we’re getting a $40 expansion pack that doesn’t require the original MvC3. This is where a lot of the naysayers just start plugging their ears and refuse to listen to anything that is said. Look, this is nothing more than a standalone expansion pack to a fighting game. We’ve never had issues with these before, so why now? Just because it is Capcom? Because they cancelled your beloved Mega Man games? What’s the problem here? I played the hell out of the original MvC3 to a point where I justified paying the $60 price tag and then some. $40 more for a wealth of content is just fine in my books.

Look at it this way. Twelve characters. One DLC character usually costs about $5. If we were to receive them all as DLC, it would cost $60. Eight new stages? I’m sure we’d have to pay between $10 and $20 in total for those if they were DLC. Capcom is saving you money, you ignorant fools! People just seem to completely overlook this fact for some stupid reason, presumably because they’re angry that people who didn’t buy the original will only have to pay $40 to get everything (minus Jill and Shuma). So what if new players get the full deal for less money than you did? Street prices of games go down with time after all, and eight or nine months after release I’m sure that MvC3’s price would have sunk by a few bucks at the very least.

So Capcom is saving the money of existing players while also making it cheaper for new players to get into Marvel vs Capcom 3. What the hell is the problem with this? I can answer that. There is no freaking problem!

I didn’t even mention the incompatibility issues that would crop up if Ultimate was DLC. What would happen? Well, for starters, Ultimate players would not be able to fight against Vanilla players and vice versa. There are too many changes to the existing characters, as well as the overall gameplay, in Ultimate for it to ever be a simple DLC patch. Compatibility patches (like the ones Mortal Kombat use) will be 100% impossible. There is just too much data, too many new features. Plus wouldn’t it be unfair for an Ultimate player to go online, fight a Vanilla player, and fight with moves that aren’t even accessible to the Vanilla player? That would be horribly unfair, and it would not be able to be remedied with simple little compatibility patches.

There’s also a ridiculous claim that, because existing characters can refer to the new characters by name when tagging them in and such, apparently Capcom recorded all of these lines from the start and it was all pre-planned. Oh yeah, obviously! Because it is clearly the only possible explanation, right? Capcom decided to do a lot of extra work for content that may not have even seen the light of day. Yeah, that makes sense. “Let’s pay all of these expensive and industry-leading voice actors for extra lines that we may never use.” Great logic guys. Really.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is not “”the full game” and the original was not a beta. This is a standalone expansion that saves ALL gamers money by giving us a wealth of content at a price that is cheaper than we’d see it up for if it were to be offered as DLC (which would be impossible anyway).

And who cares if it is coming out less than a year after the original? Eight months, a year, two years, who gives a shit? Don’t people usually want new content sooner rather than later?

Capcom’s decision to make and release Ultimate are both justified. If you enjoy MvC3 and have played it enough, then there’s really no problem here. Don’t want to fork over $40? Then don’t. The MvC3 fanbase doesn’t need whiners like you. Get lost and go play MUGEN.

Super Marvel vs Capcom 3 Roster Predictions

So, it’s happening folks. An upgraded Marvel vs Capcom 3 was hinted at by the popular leaker Lupinko a little while back, and now with concrete evidence that Marvel vs Capcom 3 will have a large event at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 23, it’s pretty clear that the Super version is definitely go.

While Lupinko isn’t flat out spoiling the roster this time around as he did with the original Marvel vs Capcom 3 as well as with Mortal Kombat 9, he is still giving out cryptic hints as to who will appear in Super Marvel vs Capcom 3.

It is pretty universally accepted that the number of new characters will be twelve. Taking into account what’s been said by Lupinko himself, as well as what just seems logical from a marketing perspective for Capcom, I’ve taken a stab at assembling what I think will be the roster for Super Mario vs Capcom 3.

That is how I believe the character select screen will be arranged. It would make the most sense if we are indeed getting twelve new characters. So who are the faces I’ve poorly photoshopped to the roster?

Mega Man X (left of Akuma)
Batsu (left of C. Viper)
Strider Hiryu (left of Trish)
Chuck Greene (left of Amaterasu)
Asura (left of Hsien-Ko)
Phoenix Wright (left of Arthur)
Ms. Marvel (right of Taskmaster)
Dr. Strange (right of Iron Man)
Venom (right of Storm)
Apocalypse (right of Magneto)
Jubilee (right of Sentinel)
Gambit (right of She Hulk)

So, why did I pick each of these characters?

Mega Man X: He was pretty much the most demanded character from the fan polls, and has been requested ever since Marvel vs Capcom 3 was even announced! Capcom would be insane not to include him in the Super version. Money talks, baby.

Batsu: Lupinko has dropped a hint or two involving school. Batsu, from Rival Schools, may fit the bill. This popular Rival Schools fighter also appeared in Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Like Zero, he could easily make the transition to Marvel vs Capcom 3.

Strider Hiryu: Lupinko gave two HUGE hints that this Capcom fan favourite is back. First, he mentioned Clockw0rk, who used Strider Hiryu in Marvel vs Capcom 2 tournaments. Second, he posted an edited Marvel comic book cover that had Hiryu’s silhouette. This one is really a no brainer.

Chuck Greene: Frank West was originally planned for the original Marvel vs Capcom but was cut. Lupinko has also tweeted a combination recipe from the Dead Rising series, orange juice and milk. This means that Chuck or Frank are likely. I’m going with Chuck since his weapons are/were more varied than Frank’s arsenal. Also Chuck would not have to rely on zombie summons and such.

Asura: If you don’t know who this is, then that’s okay. Asura is the main character of Capcom’s unreleased action game titled Asura’s Wrath. Recently there have been hints by Capcom themselves that Asura may be in Marvel vs Capcom 3. This would make sense, as it would be a way to promote Asura’s Wrath.

Phoenix Wright: While I was never one to wish for Phoenix Wright to be included, he was consistently among the most demanded characters by fans. Niitsuma once hinted that he would like to try to add Phoenix if fans wanted him in, and one of Lupinko’s roster hints was simply Phoenix’s name in Japanese. Hmmm…

Ms. Marvel: I am not sure if there has been any hints by Lupinko that strongly point to Ms. Marvel. However, shortly before the original game was released and we still had a few unknown characters left, a lot of people were clammering for Ms. Marvel. She is now more requested than popular series vet Psylocke. Given that she is Marvel’s leading lady these days, chances of her being included are strong.

Dr. Strange: I will admit that I do not know much about Strange, though two of his sworn enemies are already on the roster (Dormammu and Shuma-Gorath). He has always been heavily asked for by fans, and a few tweets by Lupinko seem to hint that Strange may be in.

Venom: There are not really any hints from Lupinko that are solid Venom hints, but this series vet was fiercely demanded by fans to be on the original roster and then as DLC. In both cases, Venom failed to appear. You all know the saying, right? Third time’s the charm.

Apocalypse: Lupinko has tweeted so many Apocalypse hints that it’s quite ridiculous. Either Apocalypse is not in, or Lupinko is having a go at us all. Regardless, he would be an incredible addition.

Jubilee: I had no idea that Jubilee had become a vampire in recent years. She is no longer “that girl who makes fireworks” and instead has become super strong and enjoys sucking blood. There could be some cool gameplay mechanics here, and I would not mind a vampire on the roster. Hell, I was vocuhing for Morbius to be on the original roster! Plus, Lupinko said he would give us a “freebie” and then mentioned Jubilee’s name. Chances are good she’s in Super.

Gambit: Love him or hate him, he was a fantastic character in the previous games and fans loved him. Gambit is a beloved X-Men character and a lot of people, like me, found him to be very awesome in the 1990s X-Men cartoon. Whil Gambit’s inclusion has only been vaguely hinted by Lupinko, fans have been screaming for Gambit to be included. He is a very strong candidate.

And those are my predictions! We’ll surely be getting at least two reveals when Comic-Con hits, and I’ll update whether or not my predictions are correct as we get factual information on the game from Capcom and Marvel. Stay tuned!

To keep up to date with possible hints and leaks, follow Lupinko’s Twitter.

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Jill Gameplay Video

The folks who hacked MvC3 and made an incomplete version of Jill playable apparently released a video of her in action. Remember, she is supposedly incomplete (missing various voice clips and has balancing issues), but she still looks pretty damn good.

When Capcom said that she would be the fastest character in the game, they really weren’t kidding.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Review)

It’s been over a dozen years since Marvel has released a proper game in their crossover versus series with Marvel. The wait has been difficult for a lot of people craving something new. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is here to give gamers that something new, but does this fusion of two worlds meet our high expectations?

The answer to that question is a very large yes, but that does not necessarily mean that Marvel vs Capcom 3 is leaps and bounds ahead of it’s predecessor. MvC3 does some things very well, but a few curious aspects of the game aren’t up to par set by the two previous Marvel vs Capcom titles.

The first thing worth bringing up is the roster. MvC3 comes with thirty six characters, down from the fifty six in MvC2. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. All characters in MvC3 were modelled from scratch, and all of the characters feel very distinct and original. On the flipside, while MvC2 had a larger roster, almost all of the character sprites used in the game were already created and had been used in previous games, and quite a few characters were either clone characters or just played too similarly to others on the roster. So, while MvC3’s roster is smaller, it is much more robust and each character is truly their own identity. Players who simply want large numbers may feel upset by the smaller roster, but any true fighting game fan will really appreciate how diverse the cast is and how great every character plays.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 is perhaps one of the brightest and most visually satisfying fighters ever.

A lot of popular characters in the franchise didn’t make the cut. Captain Commando, Gambit, Jin Saotome, Mega Man, Strider Hiryu and Venom are the most notable absences on the roster. A few of those characters were the only ones I regularly used in MvC1 and MvC2, so I can relate to many complaints from people that the roster culled too many fan favourites, but many new additions to the roster make up for the loss of several favourites. Look at the names that we’ve lost and then look at the following names: Mike Haggar, Chris Redfield, Dante, Deadpool, Albert Wesker, Zero. Suddenly the new roster is a lot easier to stomach, and there are still several other new characters. Amaterasu, the star of Capcom’s Okami series, is perhaps my favourite of the new characters. Wolves are my favourite animal and Amaterasu’s gameplay is very interesting and unique, so it was really a no brainer for her to become my new Captain Commando, at least in terms of how much I appreciate the character being in the game and how much I enjoy using them.

Many popular veteran characters are still kicking around, so all is not lost. Captain America, Chun-Li, Morrigan, Ryu, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and several others are on the roster and, for the most part, are the same as they’ve always been – only better. The likes of Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath will be released as DLC in March with the promise of further DLC characters to follow later on, which even further solidifies this roster as perhaps one of the most diverse I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. Since this is a three on three fighter, I feel completely sure in myself when I say that there’s a team of three here for everyone. Each and every player will find at least three characters that they will fall in love with.

The gameplay in MvC3 is significantly different from what we were used to in the two previous MvC titles. The controls have been modified and the actual pacing of the fights has also been changed. For starters, gone are individual punches and kicks, and gone are six attack buttons. Mvc3 has three attack buttons (light, medium, strong), a launch button (useful for aerial combos), and two assist buttons. Tapping an assist button will call in one of your team-mates for support while holding an assist button will instead allow you to tag a character in and use them. Overall, the control scheme is pretty much identical to what Capcom had implemented in Tatsunoko vs Capcom. The flow and pacing of the fights are both also similar to Tatsunoko vs Capcom. To a newcomer, fights will play out much slower than they did in MvC2. Characters feel like they have more weight to them, and it gives off the impression that the characters have to put forth actual effort to pull off their attacks. The slower pace only lasts a little while, however. After playing the game for an hour or two, players will come out of their shells and adapt to the new flow of the fights. The pacing will pick up a little and some wild combos and attacks may start to appear, though the speed of the game will still be slower than MvC2.

Sentinel is back, and he's just as intimidating as ever. If you hated him before, you'll hate him again.

To make up for the slower gameplay, Capcom increased the damage that characters take from attacks. Players can change how much damage characters take, but on the default setting it is not impossible to see some characters being defeated almost as soon as they jump into the fight. Characters with lower health, such as Amaterasu, Arthur, or Zero will take oodles of damage while tougher characters like Hulk or Tron will be able to take quite a lot of abuse. There are two characters who are on both extremes of the health scale. Sentinel is the character with the most health and can take more punches than any other character in the game except the final boss. Given how punishing and unforgiving Sentinel can be to fight against, it makes the character a very terrifying force to be reckoned with. Phoenix on the other hand has the lowest health of any character in the game by a very large margin and can be killed extremely quickly without even using hyper combos if her player is being careless. Despite the fact that Phoenix is very fragile, she can dish out tons of damage and can even resurrect herself as Dark Phoenix if she dies when your super meter is at level five.

There are a few interesting mechanics in MvC3 that are worth mentioning. Advancing guard, which was relatively unknown to casual players prior to the release of this game, occurs when you press two attack buttons simultaneously while blocking and being under attack. If your timing is right, you’ll push the opponent back. I haven’t used this function very much yet, possibly because I keep forgetting that it’s even there, but the other gameplay mechanic is certainly one that I never forget about and that is X-Factor, or KFC as the hardcore audience has apparently dubbed it. X-Factor occurs when you press all four attack buttons together. This will put your character into a sort of rage status, increasing damage and speed by a huge margin. It becomes possible to chain all sorts of things together that would normally require a lot of effort or even be impossible. There is a catch to X-Factor however. You can only use it once per match, and how much of a boost it gives you is determined by how well you are doing. If your characters are all in good health, X-Factor won’t really make a worthwhile difference at all, but if you are on the brink of death with one character remaining then you can certainly expect it to give you a very significant boost to just about everything you can imagine. X-Factor may sound overpowered on paper, but it isn’t difficult to fight against a character that is using X-Factor. It just forces you to be more careful and less reckless.

Though, MvC3's roster is smaller than its older siblings, quality over quantity is very much at work here.

It just wouldn’t be Marvel vs Capcom without a hulking final boss from the Marvel universe, either. In MvC3, we are fortunate enough to have the giant planet gobbler known as Galactus waiting for us at the end of arcade mode. Unlike previous bosses, Galactus only has one form. The fight is still broken up into two parts however, with the first part being a battle against the Heralds of Galactus. The Heralds are just randomly selected villain characters in the game who are given a shiny silvery look, and you get to fight two of them at the same time. After defeating them by depleting their shared life bar, Galactus comes out to play. The fight is very similar to the one against Onslaught in MvC1 where the player will be doing a lot blocking when Galactus attacks and tons of frantic comboing when he isn’t. Overall, Galactus provides a very enjoyable fight. My only complaint with the Galactus fight is that he is fairly easy to defeat if you’re using characters that you are at least even decent with.

Outside of arcade mode, where Galactus awaits, there isn’t as much content as you might expect. There’s training, versus, online, and a pretty underwhelming mission mode. The mission mode is basically identical to Street Fighter IV’s trials. You choose a character and the game will give you tasks to complete that are nothing more than stringing moves together to make combos. While I understand that the mode is there to help new players learn how to use specific characters, it is not very enjoyable and does not teach you anything that the training mode cannot. Training mode in MvC3 is pretty robust. Just about every feature introduced into practice and training modes over the past decade have made it into MvC3, making it much more than just a mode that lets you practice a few moves. Training mode in MvC3 can simulate an actual training regime, and you can learn a lot from it. It’s also cool that training mode can function as a fully playable mode with fights as well. There is no 1P vs COM mode on the main menu, but it is possible to arrange such fights in training mode. With several options available to be tinkered with on the fly while engaging in 1P vs COM versus fights, it’s understandable to see how having training mode as a full replacement for 1P vs COM makes a lot of sense.

Beyond that, there isn’t much to the modes of play in MvC3. There are no minigames or endurance tests. Survival mode, a genre mainstay, isn’t even present. Capcom seemed to assume that just having arcade, two training modes, and online play is enough. Unfortunately, for casual players and just about anyone who isn’t hardcore or into the tournament scene, a little more meat is usually required.

Online is pretty decent overall. You have the standard player matches and ranked matches, and several options for filtering through the pools of players waiting for fights. The net code is extremely robust and lag hardly happens at all, proving that Capcom is truly becoming the industry leader in providing reliable and stable servers for online fighting games. The only huge disadvantage to online mode is that you cannot spectate matches when you are in a lobby with several other players. Fortunately Capcom has said that they will patch this into the game at a later date, so all is well, or at least will be in due time.

Galactus is without a doubt the most intense final boss that the Vs series has seen thus far.

Players who obsess over win ratios and such will probably get a kick out of the license card feature. This is accessed from the main menu by pressing one of your right shoulder buttons (R2 for PS3 and Im asuming RT for 360). It brings up all kinds of data, such as a graph that shows how good you are at offense, defense, etc. along with your character usage, total play time, wins and losses in singleplayer and online, and what your reserve teams are. There are many other statistics on your license card that the game keeps track of and, adding the fact that you can set your icon and title ala Street Fighter IV, the license card feature truly is something that feels like your own personal corner of the game. As someone who loves looking at character usage, play times, and so forth in games, I’ve taken a huge liking to my license card.

In terms of unlockables, there isn’t a whole lot here. Casual players will not be too thrilled to know that there are only four characters and a slew of gallery items that need to be unlocked in this game. All four characters can be unlocked in about half an hour by the average player, and the gallery just contains pieces of art, character models and themes, and voice clips. While the gallery is a neat little diversion, it does not stand well on it’s own as the only thing worth unlocking in the game beyond the first hour or two of play. I find myself checking out the gallery items that I unlock perhaps once (and that’s when I unlock them) and then never looking at them again.

With the meat and bones of the game out of the way, it’s time to focus on the aspects of the game that are not tied directly to gameplay.

First of all, the story isn’t good. Fortunately, this is a fighting game and the story doesn’t matter at all! Basically, this is how it goes… The baddies from the Marvel universe team up with Wesker, and they decide that they will use their combined forces to rule both Earths (the Capcom one and the Marvel one). They need to create a portal to pass between the two worlds though, so they decide to sap power from the cosmic being Galactus, hoping that he does not notice. Unfortunately Galactus does notice, and he decides to come kick some ass. That’s the entire story, which is pretty much standard fighting game fare. I mean honestly, do we need to know why everyone is fighting? Not really, we just want to have fun playing an enjoyable fighting game. Because of this, the story does not matter and it will not have any affect on the score I give Marvel vs Capcom 3.

I’ve waited a long time to bring up the graphics, and now I will do so. PC gamers will not be too blown away by any of the character models, but for a console game they look pretty decent. Some character clearly look better than others (because their models demand more detail) such as M.O.D.O.K. or Sentinel. Stage backgrounds on the other hand look absolutely superb. The only one that is honestly below average is the training stage, which is understandable. Some stages, such as Asgard or the Daily Bugle, look absolutely fantastic. Menus and selection screens are also very slick looking due to the comic book appearance that the game tries to mimic.

Despite being very fragile, Phoenix can still dish out quite a lot of pain.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 is an orgasm for your ears. The sound effects are a cut above the rest. While the sounds aren’t revolutionary, they don’t sound generic or give off a sense of deja vu. MvC3 sounds very fresh, and your ears will enjoy it. The music is mostly pretty decent and a few character themes, such Amaterasu’s, are really awesome and well done. Unfortunately, the overall soundtrack isn’t quite as good as what we’ve heard in the past Vs games. Some character themes just aren’t catchy at all and could easily be forgotten. The music is still above average, but not even the three Take You For A Ride remixes can make the game’s soundtrack oustanding.

Where the game’s sound department shines the best is the voice acting. The only English voice that made me cringe was Akuma’s, and I quickly set his voice to Japanese to escape the torture he put my ears through. All other voices are excellent, however. D.C. Douglas as Wesker is easily my favourite of them all, but Deadpool, Phoenix, Super-Skrull, and Wolverine all have great voices as well. Like I said, only Akuma’s English voice bothered me, and one single voice isn’t enough to even dent the score at the bottom of this page.

So, is Marvel vs Capcom 3 a worthy inclusion to the Vs franchise? Without a doubt, yes. I sincerely feel that this could shape up to be Capcom’s best fighting game of all time and, in time, my favourite fighter that I have ever played. There is so much substance to the actual fighting and there is so much experimenting to do with various team setups and assists that you could play this game forever and keep finding new ways to put characters together. Despite the lack of additional game modes, a problem that will be remedied via DLC beginning in March, this is an exceptionally meaty package with tons to do.

If you’re a fan of the Vs series or fighting games in general, or have a love for all thinks Capcom or Marvel, then you owe it to yourself to pick this game up. Marvel vs Capcom 3 will go down in history as one of the best fighting games of all time. You don’t really want to miss out on that, do you?

Final Score

9.3/10