Alright, finally a new videogame review! This one’s a little different. It’s for a new, AAA title. It it a cut-price title, however. So, a full decade after MvC2 Capcom got back together with Marvel to make MvC3. They planned to release a whole host of content as DLC, but the tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 forced them to rethink their plans. Instead, they created a new version, with twelve new playable characters, eight new stages, two new online modes, the ability to play as Galactus and rebalanced gameplay. All for less than the price of the original game.
And it’s awesome. See, me and fighting games fell out sometime around Tekken 4, when actual skill became a necessity, rather than being able to have fun with plain ol’ button mashing. Soul Calibur, Street Fighter, all of them were suddenly not catering to guys like me. But MvC3‘s bright, fun gameplay intrigued me and the inclusion of PHOENIX GODDAMM WRIGHT made me put my fears to one side and buy the new version.
While straight up button bashing still doesn’t work, at least it’s discovered a way to let casual fighting fans like me still have fun with the game and pull off awesome moves. When choosing your characters, you can choose between Normal or Simple modes. In Simple, the controls are a lot easier, with one button for combos, one for specials and one for hyper combos. This makes the fighting closer to Super Smash Bros than Street Fighter, and means even the most inexperienced gamer can pick up a controller and have fun. Though this does mean not having access to a bunch of the characters moves, it does help you learn the basics of the game and how to use a character before trying Normal mode.
But if what you want is an in-depth, complex fighting game then UMvC3 will really deliver. Capcom has made a very fast and fun game where you have to consider all kinds of factors beyond the two guys on screen. There’s X Factor, Hyper Combos, Assists and tagging out amongst your group of three. This isn’t a side I’ve been able to get into yet, I’m still just having fun on Simple mode, but it is pretty much unique in making me want to learn the game better so I can use a character’s full range of tricks.
The cast is now a full 48 excluding the two DLC characters. They all have their own style and are very characterful. The little snippets of dialogue between the different characters where’ll they’ll talk smack to each other is great. Ghost Rider even makes an evil lawyer joke to Phoenix Wright.
Although talking of the world’s most badass lawyer, he and several other characters lose their access to the abilities and gimmicks that make them truly useful in battle. To be fair, they are too complex for the Simple mode control scheme to translate, but it can be frustrating if you find yourself using a highly limited version of your favourite characters.
The character choices are deliberately strange in some places, and it’s good to see a game that’ll use characters like Rocket Raccoon and Arthur rather than just loading the roster down with more famous characters that’d play a lot like some existing cast member. And like I already mentioned, PHOENIX GODDAMM WRIGHT. There’s a member of the cast for every play style.
The game has a mission mode that asks you to pull of different types of combos and special moves which I imagine is designed to help you learn the game, but it’s pretty limited. It doesn’t teach you basic combos, when it’s a good idea to use what kind of moves or let you test these skills in a combat situation. It seems to assume you’ll learn all these things yourself. And well, it’s hard to. Those button combinations and combo streams can be hard to remember and pull off.
There is a much more pressing criticism than anything I’ve said above. All sorts of little design choices make me feel like this game is really intended for online gamers. Everything, from little phrasing choices to larger things. It’s a game that you’re clearly expected to play on Normal Mode online, and is just placating others. Only having an arcade and training mode for single player. It’s like I’m being locked into a playpen at an amusement park while everybody else goes to ride the rollercoasters. It’s still fun as hell and I really love it, but it feels like it’s not really *for* me in some ways.
If you’re a really big fan of the original, this is a no-brainer. If you never played 3 and are just interested, then yeah, give it a try. But if you had three and just liked rather than loved it, you may be a little disappointed to pay as much as they’re asking for it.