In the long history of the phrase “two great tastes that taste great together,” I’m not quite certain how anybody ever settled on pairing the iconic character libraries of Marvel and Capcom in an epic, hardcore fighting game. But they did. And magic was made. Now we’re onto our third official iteration in the series, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and we recently had a hands-on sneak-peek at the game that basically handed us our asses. But suffice it to say that when Wolverine and Wesker, when Deadpool and Ryu, when X-Men and Street Fighter finally go head-to-head, it’s an epic battle indeed.
Sticking to the 2-D roots that have for so long defined both the genre and the series, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will ultimately include over thirty of your favorite characters. While we can’t yet mention a few of these bad-boys, it’s safe to say that fans won’t be disappointed, and with the promise of DLC always on the horizon, who knows what the total count could possibly be…In our experience with the title, we played characters such as Storm, Hulk, MODOCH, Magneto, Tricia, Felicia, C. Viper and others. And if you’re wondering how all these characters find themselves brought together, let’s just say the classic comic-book words “dimensional rift” come into play.
The overall format of the game will feel instantly familiar to fans. This is the classic formula presented in colorful, next-gen quality. Aside from the story path, available modes include your core 3-vs.-3 experience, a training mode for beginners and casual players, and a simple mode for those looking for a less refined battle. After selecting your three primary characters and cycling through their available special moves – three per character – you’ll find a lightning-fast match-up without the stop-and-go pacing of individual rounds. The face buttons will control your basic moves while the bumpers will call in your other characters to either switch out entirely or for a rapid assist. The right trigger will activate your dash and while the left will key up your super-move.
One impressive inclusion in the demo we played were the 3 to 4 story superjump combos, knocking your opponents high into the air and dealing unprecedented damage as you plummet back toward the earth. Victory is ensured by simply defeating all three of your opponent’s characters, and selecting a well balanced team will no doubt be key to racking up your wins. But fear not, beginners, any selection of characters can prove victorious over any other. The developers estimate that roughly 50% of the development time has been spent on balance. But the game’s attention to detail with regard to each character is equally impressive, showcasing specific nuances like Deadpool’s “moonwalk” or Hulk’s cries of “Metal man!” whenever paired up with (or against) Iron Man, etc...
New to the series this time around is a classic character that many a nostalgic gamer will no doubt remember fondly: Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins. The new addition even gets his own level, a recreation of the first stage from the original game. The board scrolls behind you as your proceed, revealing a number of nods to the classic title. The audio that plays is a modernized remix of the original theme. Overall, Arthur is a small, diminutive character, easily avoiding the basic attacks of larger enemies. He has a slow double-jump and a tremendous power-up for his armor and weapons that gives him a momentary advantage. But when the power-up is complete, Arthur is forced to fight – yes! – in his boxers for a short duration, absorbing greater damage and defenseless against the brutal attacks of his foes.
Overall, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is certainly shaping up nice with a crisp presentation and an old-school devotion to the core experience of the 2-D fighting game. Certainly, hardcore fans everywhere are readying their custom joystick-pads, but even new players will be able to pick up a controller and enjoy this title. Not necessarily against a seasoned pro, however. Nope, in that situation, prepare to have your ass kicked.