Name: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Genre: Beat-em Up
Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
Image Gallery: Click here
When Marvel vs. Capcom 2 exploded onto the Dreamcast console back in the year 2000 it was hailed as one of the greatest 2D fighters of its generation. Building on the early promise of the original arcade title, the game’s manic tag-team mechanics and ridiculous character roster, pitting teams including the likes of Spiderman against Street Fighter’s Ryu, were a revelation, with screen filling special moves beautifully animated. It’s taken 11 years for Capcom to release this sequel, Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, but thankfully it stands toe-to-toe with its incredible predecessor.
Having said that, to the uninitiated Marvel vs Capcom 3 could initially be totally confusing. Once you’ve got your head around the 36-combatant character roster (which features stars from the Marvel universe such as Wolverine, Hulk and Thor as well as Capcom classics like Street Fighter’s Chun-Li or Ghouls and Goblins’ Arthur), you then have to get used to the fact that you don’t have just a single brawler, but three to control in each bout. Your team-mates can be tagged in and out, or called in for a brief sneaky blow if you’re in a tight spot. It adds a superb tactical element to proceedings, weighing multiple characters’ benefits against your foes’ weaknesses, and also allows badly injured team mates to recuperate some energy off-screen.
If having six fighters racing around the screen in each battle wasn’t enough, then you’re also faced with the most ridiculously overblown special moves ever to grace a brawler. With heroes this big, it’s unsurprising that the moves are as eye-popping in scale. As you take and deal out damage you build points for a multi-tiered power bar that sits on the bottom of the screen, which can set off huge special moves when filled. Pushing the trigger buttons activates the moves, which with only one special bar full are dangerous but visually average. Max out the special power bars however and, providing you have all three team-mates still alive, you’ll trigger a screen filling combination move in which all three characters will show off their finest, explosive skills.
It’s an incredibly fast system that, while initially bewildering, quickly becomes second nature. And like all good fighters, what starts off as button-mashing fun can become a deep and involved dance of choreographed moves should the player choose to invest the time. A training mode will teach you all you need to know, while a challenge room will really test committed players by asking them to take down difficult opponents using only specific moves.
And a committed player you’ll have to be should you want to take the fight online. While the game also features a local multiplayer mode for taking on your sofa-bound friends, the challenge really ramps up several notches online. Marvel vs. Capcom fans are among some of the most zealous players out there, and causal fans should be forewarned that you’ll get a good kicking when you first get on Xbox Live or the PSN. Persistence is key though, and you’ll become truly formidable should you master the online forum. The level-graded matchmaking suite from Street Fighter IV carries over too, so you should more times than not face an opponent with skills similar to your own.
Visually, it’s a slightly different feel this time around. Like Street Fighter IV before it, the game takes place on a 2.5D plane, as opposed to MvC2’s traditional 2D animated cartoon-style sprite visuals. Here you are given an illusion of depth as the camera zooms in for special effects, even though the game is only controlled on a two-dimensional plane. Needless to say, it makes the seizure-inducing special move blasts look amazing, and the cell-shaded graphic style of Street Fighter IV, while perhaps not as well refined as the stellar comic book style of the previous games, still looks amazing.
It may not be as universally appealing as Street Fighter IV was, or as graceful as Tekken, but Capcom have built another winner with Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The roster alone should be enough to pique your interest (who wouldn’t want to see Iron Man throw down with Resident Evil’s Chris Redfield?), but even those not allured by the stupendous character list will be enthralled by the dynamic tag-team options and epic special moves.