Having lost touch with fighting games for more than a decade, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, felt like getting reacquainted with an old friend. Seriously, the genre hasn’t changed all that much – you still play in a two-dimensional field where you can move forwards, backwards or jump, fighting against other characters to drain their health before they drain yours, a la Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter games.
There are differences though. This game is fast. Really fast. Moves happen so quick on-screen it’s hard to decipher what you’re doing at times and you end up mashing buttons. This is undesirable, as each character has a complex set of moves and combinations you could spend hours in the Tutorial section learning. There are light, medium and heavy attack buttons, as well as a special attack, each of which must be perfectly timed to perform combos.
Luckily for noobs, there is a Simple Mode that allows you to perform each characters most complicated combos with the push of a single button. This feature allows you to see some of the coolest special moves in game but disables many other moves. To really experience the depth of style in the fighting, you’ll have to suck it up and learn some of the combos and attacks in Normal Mode.
If you’re a casual gamer or a comic-book fan, many of the characters you can play with or against will be familiar: the Marvel side features such classics as Iron Man, Magneto and the Hulk, while the Capcom team is highlighted by Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter, Chris Redfield of Resident Evil fame and Mike Haggar from the series Final Fight. This is one of the main attractions of the game for a comic fan; making Iron Man whip out a shoulder cannon and blast Dante from Devil May Cry is eminently gratifying, and so is watching Thor summon a thunder tornado and lay the hammer down on Ryu.
The gameplay makes the action more interesting by allowing you to choose three characters for each fight and swapping them in at strategic moments in the battle. For instance, while performing combos, you can get an assist from your teammates on the bench that increases your power-up abilities and health bars. Overall, there is a high level of nuance in the differences between each character’s moves and fighting styles, which make for practically limitless replay value on a game with 36 playable characters.
The Single Player Mode is a fun, arcade-style tournament where you pick a team of three and advance through waves of competition. It’s fairly easy on Simple Mode, and takes increasing levels of strategy and perseverance to win on Normal. User-on-user fights are a blast, especially if you’ve got someone who plays at around the same skill level as you. Hardcore fighting gamers will appreciate the balance and variety of styles between the characters, while newcomers will enjoy controlling some of the most recognizable superheroes from the Marvel and Capcom universes. It’s a fun trip down memory lane for anyone who’s ever spent a pocketful of quarters playing Street Fighter or X-Men at the local arcade.
Written by John Fritz