So Albert Wesker, Doctor Doom, and M.O.D.O.K walk into a bar…
Well, it took more than a decade, but “Fate of Two Worlds,” the third installment in the Marvel vs. Capcom series is finally here, and while Capcom delivered a great fighting game that will appease both the hardcore crowd and the newcomers, they left out several characters and game features that may leave some disappointed.
The core gameplay of MvC3 is solid. Capcom has updated its standard 3v3 tag-team based mechanic to be more streamlined and inviting to newbies while maintaining the level of strategy hardcore gamers expect. Changing characters can be done with one button during air combos, which can make for a stream of devastating hits. The button setup is still very similar to the game’s predecessor, with a light, medium, heavy, and special attack layout. Probably the two biggest changes to gameplay are the X-Factor mechanic, and the simple mode. X-Factor is a temporary power-up that heightens a character’s speed and power. Additionally, by activating X-Factor you can cancel any special combo your opponent may have been trying to unleash, which adds another level of strategy to the game. Finally, there is simple mode, which consolidates a character’s moves into a very simplified setup, allowing newcomers to have a sliver of a chance against veterans. Though being able to pull off a twenty hit combo with a single button is fun, simple mode really is just meant to help players progress into the (more fulfilling) normal mode.
With only a 36-character rooster, MvC3 brings significantly less characters to the table than its predecessor. On the plus side, Capcom has done a fantastic job making sure each character’s personality shines in the game. Deadpool, for instance, breaks the fourth wall constantly during fights and Wesker oozes evil with every step. This effort also transfers into each character’s unique play style. Which means no more palette swapping; each character has their own unique fighting style and move set. In addition to making the process of mastering a character more rewarding, this also challenges players to experiment with different character combinations.
Still, the exclusion of some big-name characters, like Megaman and Venom, didn’t go unnoticed. Other characters who were rumored to be included in the release, like Frank West of Dead Rising and Nemesis from the Resident Evil series, were also absent.
Here is where the game falls short for me. For offline play, the game offers up an Arcade mode that takes the player through a series of matches culminating in a final boss fight with Galactus, and Versus mode that pits you against your friends in the standard 3v3 match type, and a Mission mode that helps you learn the moves for individual characters. Online play has ranked and un-ranked lobbies with a “winner keeps playing” setup. That is it. Special modes like Time Attack, Survival, and Spectator are missing. Additionally, features such as special winning conditions and bonus stages are also absent, and considering that there are only four characters to unlock, there isn’t much to keep gamers interested beyond the core gameplay.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing for a fighting game to have is a well-developed and balanced fight system, and MvC3 has that. The game does also offer unlockable character bios, alternate credit and opening sequences, and a two-panel short comic-blip that can be unlocked for each character after beating arcade mode. There is also talk of DLC characters in the mix, so we might yet see some of the aforementioned characters. As it stands though, MvC3 earns 4 out of 5 stars for providing gamers with a superb fighting game, there just needs to be more…everything.