Maybe it's the celebrated line-up of characters. Maybe it's the dazzling special attacks and super moves. Or maybe it's satisfaction one gets when pulling off a complicated and impressive looking combo. Whatever the reason, no one can deny that the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise is a fighting game powerhouse that has spawned an entire generation of fans since it made its arcade debut in January of 1998. Now, after 10 long years of silence and amidst a myriad of rumors and fan speculation, Marvel vs. Capcom is making its highly anticipated return with Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
When Capcom announced Marvel vs. Capcom 3 back in April, everyone and their mother knew it was destined for an E3 appearance. And given what a huge fan of the series I am, I ademade sure that Capcom's booth was my very first stop at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The first thing to capture my attention when I sat down with Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the first time was the graphics. I had seen the screenshots but honestly, screenshots do not do this game a lick of justice. Mere words cannot describe the sheer amount of awesome that happens onscreen when warriors from these two worlds collide. Mimicking the style of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has ditched the sprites and has rendered it characters with stunning 3D models. It is probably one of the most remarkable forms of eye candy I have ever had the privilege of looking at as everything from the vibrant and animated backgrounds to the character animations was absolutely mesmerizing.
Aside from the graphical overhaul, Capcom has made some noticeable changes to the game's button configuration. Looking at the layout from an arcade stick standpoint, the three main attack buttons line up the top row while the two assist buttons and the newly added launcher button occupy the bottom row. This means that attacks will no longer be separated by Punch and Kick and will simply be distinguished by light, medium, and hard. As for the launcher button, it proved a whole lot more beneficial in setting up aerial combos and chaining attacks. It might sound a bit cheap to simplify the launch attack to a single button, but players on the receiving end of a beating can easily counter by anticipating the opposing player's next move, or by tagging in another character. Sure it may involve a bit of guess work, but that's all part of the fun.
Capcom's success with this franchise has always fringed on its selection of fighters. A venerable who's-who of gaming and comic book icons, Marvel vs. Capcom 3's line-up looks to outdo its predecessors by bringing in characters who are not only new to the series, but will offer unique play styles to make the experience as fresh and appealing as possible. New to the series and available for the E3 demo were Chris Redfield, Deadpool, and Dante. The remaining roster featured Marvel vs. Capcom favorites such as Ryu, Morrigan, Hulk, Iron Man, Wolverine, and Felicia. I decided to bypass the veteran fighters altogether as after I spent a little bit of time watching others gamers play, it became clear that not much has changed with these characters. Sure, there are subtle changes but nothing as significant as say equipping Wolverine with a bazooka. If you've used these characters before, you'll feel right at home. Truth be told, I was more interested in the newbies.
I'll admit it – I was skeptical in including Resident Evil superstar Chris Redfield in my initial line-up of fighters. I was never fond of Jill Valentine from Marvel vs. Capcom 2. She was probably a character I only ended up using once or twice just out of sheer curiosity and later abandoned for more capable fighters. Her ability to call forth zombies and zombified dogs to aid her in battle while silly, never really worked well against opposing players. So naturally, given the characters' relationship and shared zombie-blasting skill set, I expected Chris to play a lot like Ms. Valentine – oh man was I wrong. To put it simply Marvel vs. Capcom 3's Chris Redfield is a trigger happy lunatic, a full fledged gun nut that wails on his adversaries with an endless supply of firepower. His special attacks include plenty of ammunition and devastating incendiary devices to blow his opponents to pieces. One of his super moves can only be described as an orgy of bullets and explosions as Chris uses every weapon from Resident Evil 5 to bring his opponent to their knee, starting with the handgun and ending the attack with an explosive blast from a rocket launcher.
Marvel's Merc with a Mouth' Deadpool was the middle man of my trinity of pain. While I'm not too familiar with Deadpool's comic book origins (or latest misadventures for that matter), I do know that he famous for having a bit of a mouth on him, and that his beatings are almost always served up with a tasty side order of smack talk. The mercenary is represented in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a sword-wielding, gun-totting smart ass that gives new meaning to the phrase 'adding insult to injury.' He is as fast as he is witty and demonstrates an uncanny sense of agility when on the battlefield. His super move showcases his marksmanship and slapstick personality as Deadpool rains down an excessive amount of bullets from his pistols while screaming, 'Bang! Bang! Bang!'
If there's anything I love more than guns and magic, it's when the two of them comingle in one sexy little package. So it came as no surprise that Dante was not only the first character I chose to play as, but was also my most favorite of the new characters. There something about this character's brilliant marriage of gunplay, swordsmanship, and magical abilities that excites me to no end. The way he so effortless transitions from sword slashes and magical strikes, makes playing as the son of Sparda a thoroughly entertaining experience. The super move I used most involved Dante firing a stream of bullets from his signature dual pistols for massive amounts of damage.
Judging this game on the E3 demo alone, Capcom has a guaranteed best seller on its hands. Though the final head count is unconfirmed, Capcom is looking to squeeze in over 30 unique fighters into Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. And with only a handful of characters revealed so far, who know what surprises Capcom will have in store for gamers out there between now and when the game is released in Spring 2011.