MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 PREVIEW

Marvel VS. Capcom 3 Preview
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MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 PREVIEW



Written by Chris Price
13 Monday 13th December 2010

 

Last weekend, I was invited down to a clandestine shindig in a trendy bohemian basement, to celebrate all things Capcom, and sample possible the most eagerly anticipated beat ‘em up of 2011. 
 
For me, the hyperbolic twin worlds of the comic book juggernaut Marvel and the video game behemoth Capcom sparring for supremacy has always been something of spectator sport. Great in principle, but never fully embraced; like learning a new language, or colonic irrigation. As someone who’s seen the evolution from classics such as International Karate + and Street Fighter 2, I never wanted the one-on-one beat ‘em to get so complicated. Necessary; but not necessarily for me.

 

 
 
I’ve avoided the Marvel vs Capcom series up until now. Where learning the subtle nuances of these requires a doorstop of a players guide, and the same level of study discipline that I put into my A-levels (that being the last time I remember working particularly hard).
 
Welcome to a world of focus attack dash cancels, triangle jumping, frame advantages and negative edge. Advanced techniques developed by players fully exploiting everything from the animation of the characters, to glitches in the game coding. But how well did a self-confessed MvC noob fare with 5 hours in its company?
 
 
For a start, it looks INCREDIBLE. High off Street Fighter 4 reinvigorating the 2D fighting genre, MvC3 seeks to replicate both the style and the success of its spiritual forefather. Capcom have been working very closely with Marvel to fully realise the character style from the comics, with the play in 2D but with cel-shaded fully 3D realised characters, you really get a palpable sense of each – to coin a phrase ‘bringing the comic books to life’ – Hulk’s size, Wolverine’s paced Adamantium fury, Iron Man’s lithe athleticism – but also their personality and their context within the comics; Skrull’s unrelenting viciousness and his retro-styling’s, Deadpool’s camp fourth-wall-breaking antihero (complete with an advancing saunter and a moon walking retreat). It’s probably the best depiction of the Marvel stars you could every hope for. Additionally, those familiar with Capcom’s characters native games can experience similar levels of authenticity- Viewtiful Joe, Ameratsu from Okami, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker from Resident Evil and even Dante and Trish from the Devil May Cry games. All faithfully replicated, including hero mannerisms.
 
 
But for all its blistering visuals, Marvel vs Capcom hasn’t managed to get to a third iteration without being a rather unique gaming experience. At the turn of 2000 when the first arrived, 3D fighting was de rigueur – MvC bucked the trend with two cel-shaded dimensions, and a tag-team fighting system. This has proved crucial in cementing its legacy.
 
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 uses a simplified, three-button control scheme modeled after Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars – immediately accessible and familiar to my poor calloused fingertips. Simple, repeated button tap combinations make flurries of offence easy to pull off. These build a ‘hyper’ bar which can be easily tapped to unleash furious special moves – and nobody does furious like Marvel vs Capcom – check out the video below.
 
 
Strategy comes between calling in characters to build your hyper bar, counter attacking players while the point character cleans up, and juggling players mid-air trading in your point characters, delivering combo after combo... all basic techniques that hint at the depth possible on those who risk complete immersion. But for those fearful, playing "Simple Mode" will allows players to perform combos and special moves easily at the expense of limiting a character's number of moves.
 
MvC3 is easy to get into. Within 5 hours, we’d worked out basic combinations, and were using ‘Hyper’ moves to effectively counter varying levels of attacks. We’d also gotten used to trading moves (when 2 simultaneous moves counteract, depending on the ‘strongest’), and using the X Factor to regenerate health for a flailing boost. It’s about resource management as much as it is about timing. But it knows where it exists – it’s about entertainment. The possibility of rich experience is there, but also crucially in this increasingly casual market is the quick burst of Marvel action. It’s not Street Fighter – MvC3 is its own master. The simplification of the input system is likely to lose a few diehard fans, but crucially open the franchise to the wider world, and this can only be a good thing. And it’s only left me wanting more.
 
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in Spring 2011.

 

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