A Brief History
Before I begin, I’m going to share some of my thoughts on Capcom’s Versus fighting games.
I was floored when I first laid eyes on X-men vs. Street Fighter. The air combos and exaggerated super moves blew my mind. It felt like an amped up and less rigid take on Street Fighter Alpha 2 (the sprites were taken from it after all). Up next was Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter which continued amping up flashiness of the Versus franchise and laid out the foundation for the assist system.
Then Marvel vs Capcom arrived along with a whole slew of new characters from both sides. It was the last Versus series game which retained the classic six button layout which we were all used to. It was also the last sprite driven Versus series game involving Marvel that didn’t look like a MUGEN project.
I wasn’t particularly keen on Marvel vs Capcom 2. I felt Capcom cheapened the franchise with its excessive recycling and remixing characters; the total roster stood at 56. The game also introduced a new button layout which got rid of mediums and replaced them with dedicated assists. Capcom also ratcheted up the game speed which I felt was a step in the wrong direction — especially with the lack of quality animation to back up that speed. The entire project seemed haphazard to me.
Tatsunoko vs Capcom was released in early 2010 for the Nintendo Wii. Even though it was not in HD (outside of using the Dolphin emulator), I wanted Marvel vs Capcom 3 to be like it. I enjoyed the pace, the return to two player tag teams and the art style. The only gripe I had with it was the Tatsunoko half of the character roster which didn’t appeal to me.
And this brings us to Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
Out of all their Versus games, this is the first one that has me at odds. I want to enjoy it and I do on a number of levels, but I can’t get rid of that sour taste of its predecessor. But let’s start with what Capcom got right.
A Fine Tribute To Marvel
The comic book aesthetic powered by MT Framework yielded excellent results. The game was an eye pleaser with slowdowns only occurring during the non-interactive parts of the game, like the character intros for example. But it was all the little comic book touches that I appreciated. The comic book font and framing went a long way to establish that this was a Marvel joint operation — more so than any other game in the franchise’s past.
Marvel’s cast in particular showed more camaraderie between in-comic buddies calling each other by their real names when tagging out or giving special one liners. I was disappointed by the omission of Cyclops or a Fantastic Four hero, but I can’t pinpoint a character that I was truly disappointed with.
We’ve seen this coming since the omission of the medium punch and kick buttons in Marvel vs Capcom 2. In an effort to make the game even easier to play, Capcom restructured the button layout to simply light, medium and hard attacks along with a dedicated “Special” button. Tatsunoko vs Capcom had a similar setup, but the fourth button in that game was a Partner button and didn’t act as a launcher. To initiate an air combo, all you had to do is connect with the special attack and press up to follow up with the air combo.
It took a bit of getting used to, but I was able to pull off basic air combos without much effort. It honestly couldn’t have been any easier. They even streamlined the tag out system where I simply held the desired partner button to tag in. I’m not to keen on that decision since it took a bit longer to pull off a tag than the quick two button tap of the games before it.
I was also able to pull off special moves without much effort either. The timings for Versus series were always lax, but it appeared to have been taken to whole other level in this game. Normally, I wouldn’t have any objections to this decision, except that it affected my ability to pick Chun Li and just dive in to the thick of things.
In fact, it’s actually quite tough to pick this game up and keep up with it.
It’s not impossible to acclimate to Marvel vs Capcom 3’s speed, but spending time in order to familiarize myself with that aspect of its game is not something I want to invest in. I feel most characters are manageable, but others like Chun Li are too fast for their own good.
Then there are characters who are far too slow for a game where split second timing dictates whether or not I lose a third of life or not. Combining it all with the fact that certain special moves were so spam worthy and certain hyper combos were nearly instantaneous, things were tough to get a firm grasp on.
As an unfortunate side effect, the quick pace simply didn’t allow enough time for punch in the face to resonate. It all went by too fast and sounded very soft.
Not So Accessible?
But what if I held down the basics of a character and wanted to improve? What was that level and how would I get there? Like Capcom’s other fighters, the answers did not lie within the game or its manuals. None of the provided materials even showed me how to perform an effective air combo.
It showed me the buttons to press, but there was more to it than that. When should I be using this? How should I set it up? Then there were other abilities like delayed hyper combos, snap backs and assist mix ups. Right now I’m throwing them out with no rhyme or reason. It all feels a bit random.
Fortunately, I know where to look for those answers, but it would have been convenient to have it built in.
I think Marvel vs Capcom 3 and I are simply incompatible. I’m not a fan of the 3 vs 3 format; my brother and I would end up with more timeouts than normal because of the additional life bar. I think it looks great and I can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it, but I just can’t seem to appreciate the gameplay itself. Maybe if they toned down the speed or maybe if I invested more time with it, but why should I do that? There are so many other fighters out there which I can simply pick up, play and enjoy without having to go through a training regime with.
Worth a Try
For more information on Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, visit the official site.