Unfortunately, that same variety cannot be said for the backgrounds included in the game. Most fighting games give each character their own, individual stage which leads to as much variety as the roster itself. Not Marvel vs. Capcom 3. There are only nine stages in the game, not including the final boss stage which cannot even be played on in anything other than the arcade mode. I love each of the stages in the game; they are all unique and filled to the brim with tiny details and an incredibly detailed and active background; the problem is that nine stages get old very fast when you play the game for extended periods of time. The source material of both companies is expansive enough to support plenty more stages had the developers chosen to; the character roster of the game alone lends to plenty more, but they just aren’t there. Hopefully this is something that Capcom is going to remedy in the future with additional, downloadable content because you won’t be seeing anything in terms of the background stages that hasn’t already been shown to death in the various previews of the game over the past year.
When it comes to the various modes of the game, there is a ton to do both online and off. First off, the game includes the standard “arcade” mode which challenges you to battle through six stages of teams before challenging the game’s boss, Galactus, and his squad of Power Cosmic-fueled minions. The mode is short enough that you can shoot through it in a matter of about 15 minutes depending on your selected difficulty level and is meant to be played numerous times. Each character has their own illustrated ending to top off the experience and many of them feature cameo appearances of other characters from each company’s universe. You will see characters long-forgotten from both companies including Nightcrawler, Kingpin, the Darkstalkers cast, Mega Man, Nick Fury, and even Master Mold. You never know who is going to pop up. Thankfully, Capcom has also included the fight request feature that was introduced in the Street Fighter IV series of games which allows you to accept online challengers when you are playing through the Arcade mode. This is meant to simulate the arcade experience of facing all challengers that may step forward while you are enjoying the game by yourself.
If you want to study up on your “game” and get better before facing off against the world, you can enter either the game’s Training or Mission Mode. I mentioned the Mission mode earlier; each character has their own unique set of 10 missions which is meant to teach you both simple and advanced skills using all of the game’s various gameplay mechanics. The missions range from doing something as simple as a single special move to utilizing numerous special move and hyper combos in attack strings that run into 70-80 hits. The Training Mode on the other hand simply gives you a chance to experiment with all of the characters in the game in varying circumstances. You can think of it as a sandbox of sorts that allows you to do whatever you want with whoever you want. There are a ton of options within this mode which allow you to customize the situation your liking or to help you prepare for specific situations in battle. Capcom has even included a “lag” setting which will help you practice under the same circumstances that you are likely to experience when playing against competitors online.
All of the previously mentioned modes are a lot of fun, but the true competition in MvC3 is to be found online, against the world. The game allows both ranked and unranked battles against players from all over the world. There is also the ability to create an open lobby for anyone in the world to join which can host up to 8 players, allowing them to alternate matches with one another, with the winner advancing to face the next competitor. Oddly, there is no spectator mode included int he game so you will b e left on a bland screen watching two sets of power bars deplete while you wait your turn. The netcode of the game is extremely solid, even on the
PSN from my experience. I have played a wide variety of matches online and have only experience one instance of bad lag; there is a slight lag evident when playing against competitors from other regions but the game is definitely playable and runs at a very enjoyable speed.
Regardless of the mode in which you are playing, you will always be contributing to your MvC3 resume, which the game refers to as your “license”, and unlocking items within the in-game art gallery. Your MvC3 license card is what will identify you to the rest of the fighting community both in the game and on the web. This “card” will track your win / loss record(s), character usage tendencies, fighting style(s), and track a scoring attribute known as player points. The amount of player points that you accumulate corresponds to your assigned rank which will let would-be competition know what they are up against. You can personalize your card with a wide variety of icons and titles which can be unlocked as your play through the game’s various modes. While the license is meant for the world to view, the gallery is included for your own personal enjoyment. There are a wide variety of items included in the game’s art gallery which are unlocked as you proceed through the game’s various modes. Within this gallery, you will have access to intro movies, character biographies, character endings, promotional artwork, stage and character sounds and music, and even a full 3D model viewer. The gallery will be empty when you first boot up the game, but as you perform different feats with the game’s various characters including beating the game’s online mode, completing character specific missions, and using (and winning) with them online. There is quite a bit to unlock and some of the features included in this mode are simply fun to play with.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a great package based on what’s included in the initial purchase and according to Capcom it is only going to get better as time goes on. The development team has already announced that numerous additions will be coming to the game including downloadable characters, and special downloadable AI which that can be assigned to the computer which is based on the various personalities and professional players at Capcom. The future of the game is promising and as long as Capcom continues to follow the example that they set with Street Fighter IV support, things will only get better. I had a lot of expectations when the game was announced and Capcom has managed to deliver a product that met and exceeded every single one of them. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is exactly the game I was hoping for; it’s fun, deep, gorgeous, addictive... I could go on forever. Fans of the series are likely to have a new favorite and I think that Capcom will be able to turn some new players into die hard fans with the accessibility options included such as the simple mode. I have waited ten long years for this game and I am not disappointed in the least.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the best fighting game that I have ever played... and I have played a LOT of fighting games in my gaming life. The character rosters is diverse, the gameplay is frantic yet deep, and the game offers you a wide variety of modes that keep you coming back for more. Move over MvC2, there is a new king in town.
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