Goin' crazy with "Marvel Vs. Capcom 3"
Last updated on March 02, 2011 at 03:45 PM

Score: 8.5/10
The Good: It's the first "MvC" in over a decade! It's still freakin' nuts and it's got prettied-up graphics! The control scheme has been tweaked to be easier to use without removing the challenge. Character balance is also in abundant supply.
The Bad: Doesn't do a whole lot to move the series forward. Fewer characters and fewer extras than expected, especially in the shadow of "MvC2." If you suffer from epilepsy stay far, far away from any room in which this game is being played.
The Ugly: Still no Fantastic Four members? And, good lord, who is responsible for the aural crapfest that is the soundtrack? I'd rather listen to Vogon poetry than this.

What I expected from "Marvel Vs. Capcom 3" can be summed up in one word: crazy. I'm looking for a new level of insane, button-punching, screen-filling madness. While waiting for the title screen to load in the original "Marvel vs. Capcom" a lone, crazed voice could be heard yelling, "Let's go crazy!" Yes, let us go crazy, my friend.

The switch to 3D graphics (specifically cell-shaded polygons) is as advantageous to this series as it was to "Street Fighter IV." They upgrade the look of the game without sacrificing the cartoon-y feel that's always been a trademark of the series.

One of the unfortunate hallmarks of the "MvC" series on home consoles has been the often terrible, terrible amount of slowdown. Perhaps the greatest added benefit of the switch to 3D is that, no matter the amount of craziness going on onscreen, there is no slowdown. No chance to admire the frame-by-frame animations meticulously crafted by Capcom as they crawl across the screen one frame every couple of seconds, yes. But, overall a huge improvement to playability.

"MvC2" was rather famous for the sheer number of characters to choose from. Not only did it include nearly every previous character from the Vs. franchise, it introduced several new ones.

Some of the new additions (like Deadpool, Viewtiful Joe, Zero, Super-Skrull) seem like they've been a longtime coming. On the opposite end, though, some of the exclusions seem strange: Cyclops, Strider, Sakura, Mega Man, Venom.

If there's one place "MvC3" suffers in comparison to its predecessors its in the fact that there are far fewer characters to choose from. While it does help in terms of game play balance between teams, the fact that there will almost certainly be a plethora of downloadable characters puts that balance in question while also putting the character total in a less than pleasing light.

Sure, it's become the norm for game companies to do this (and I understand the reasons why they do it), but that doesn't mean I have to like the final outcome.

Let's just get this out of the way: The music in Vs. series games has always, without question, sucked. "MvC3" does not change that trend, meaning we're still at least 10 years away from an awesome fighter featuring a brutal Iron Maiden soundtrack.

Game Play
Someone once said, "All that glitters is not gold." Fortunately, the play in this game glitters and is most definitely gold.

I've always been more a fan of the Vs.-style game play than regular "SF."

That said, even in comparison to the sublime "Street Fighter IV," this game stands as a new high water mark for Capcom fighters.

The improvements to the streamlined controls found in "MvC2" are subtle, yet extremely welcome. Putting the majority of tag partner controls on the shoulder buttons is a genius move. A quick tap will call them in for a crossover attack, and holding the button will tag out for a partner. Push the two together (with the appropriately filled super gauge) and you get crossover super combos. Simple, effective, fun.

And, as mentioned previously, there's a surprising amount of balance to be found here, despite the overall anarchy inherent to these types of games.

Tip: Check out Deadpool's Shoryuken, as it's far morre hilarious than anything Dan's done in his entire career.

There's not a whole lot to talk about here, especially in comparison to the large number of unlockables in "MvC2."

Most of what you'll be getting are character models and ending viewers, and the gods only know why someone would eve chose to go back and look at those two-frame, static endings. The extra costumes (many characters get more than a regular palette swap when alternate costumes are chosen) are pretty slick, but aren't present for every character.

Much like the character selection, there's a good chance this area might get more fleshed out with DLC. (Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath are already available if you picked up the Special Edition game. I didn't, I'm poor, wanna fight about it?).

Overall, Capcom has blessed the fighting game elite with another masterpiece in need of mastering. The sheer number of characters combinations will keep any fighter busy looking for their ideal team for months to come. Online play is, of course, well appreciated, and it's all wrapped up in a pretty sweet looking package. Just don't expect a whole lot that's earth-shatteringly new. This is very much a Vs.-style game, with a Vs.-style presentation (albeit prettier) and Vs.-style fan service.

With any luck this is the herald for a release of a Vs. Series anthology of some sort, including all the previous games in the series as they appeared in the arcade.

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