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Ryu and Wolverine go toe-to-toe once again in the long-anticipated, and much demanded return of Marvel vs Capcom...
After a decade of anticipation, hope and patience, Capcom and Marvel’s finest have once again collided with the long awaited release of Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Buoyed by the huge popularity of Street Fighter IV, which proved that 2D fighters still hold similar relevance today as they did a decade ago (albeit with a little 3D eye-candy), Marvel vs Capcom 3 hopes to maintain Capcom’s recent revival of the once long forgotten 2D fighter. But can this prove that SFIV wasn’t just a one-off and more importantly can it continue its predecessor's legacy which is still fondly recalled (and played) to this present day?
From the tweaked control setup to the addition of a Simplified control scheme, it’s evident that Capcom sees this as having wider appeal beyond its typical remit. Four buttons now govern light, medium and hard attacks along with the addition of a Special button in a similar (but different) manner to the recent Tatsunoko vs Capcom. It’s a setup that suits the exaggerated insanity that goes along with Ryu squaring up against Wolverine and capably places the emphasis on easy to understand Chain Combos and ludicrously insane Hyper Moves and Crossover Assists. The 'vs' series has never been solely about refined techniques and precise frame calculations; instead it’s all about the mayhem that goes with aerial combat, super jumps and team moves, and in this respect Capcom’s latest entry in the 'vs' series is a definite success.
But that’s not to say this is a fighter that sacrifices sophistication for sheer outlandish entertainment. Chain Combos and Hyper Moves are still the order of the day and there’s plenty on the list to master. It is, as always, an offensive based game where combos quite literally reach into the hundreds, and as such playing the game defensively is a tough but necessary task to learn. Techniques such as the Advance Guard and Snap Backs are crucial when you come up against anybody with an ounce of skill. As always Capcom is the true master when it comes to the balance between offence and defence, even in a game of exaggerated attacks such as Marvel vs Capcom 3. However combos, no matter how insane, are wonderfully balanced by the fact that they steadily decrease over time, so the longer the attack the less damage it does. It provides the scope for plenty of outlandish play and creativity but never threatens to drag the overall experience into a disjointed mess of unstoppable attacks.
With a team of three characters at your disposal, Marvel vs Capcom 3 is all about the huge list of Team moves and variations on offer. Fans will enjoy working out the perfect combinations of characters and Assist Types, while those less au-fait with the intricacies can just have fun with a character roster that boasts some of the most well-liked superheroes and videogame characters around and provides plenty of variety even if it is a smaller list than its predecessors. Tweaks to the way in which characters swap-over presents a whole new technique to playing the game, while new techniques such as the appropriately named X Factor offer an intriguing new slant on many of the tried-and-tested methods. Offering a timely health bonus along with a buff to the character’s mobility, the X Factor is likely to be derided as much as it’s praised. Capcom has done an admirable job of balancing it with its overall effect based upon how many characters are left in the team and insisting that it can only be used once during a match. Ultimately, although Marvel vs Capcom 3 is geared towards a wider market, the depth and sophistication is truly there to master and as such it’s not quite the schizophrenic sequence of noise and flashy images that it initially seems.
Provided a fighter gets its mechanics balanced and provides enough variety, a good fighter never really needs that much padding around it. The modes on offer are split between offline and online, with variations such as a Mission mode that provides character specific challenges. The inclusion of a highly detailed character breakdown in the shape of License carsd is little more than fan-service, but it’s the type of thing that such players will spend hours pouring over every little statistic. Perhaps the only complaint here, given the game’s aspirations, is the fact that it still doesn’t do a great job of introducing the many subtleties behind the combat to newcomers. Sure the Mission mode is a good place to start, but it’s still down to determination and perseverance if you really want to discover and master everything the game has to offer.