Marvel Vs. Capcom 3

Year: 2011
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Fighting
Review Date: 3/5/11
Rating: ****

A bizarre and eclectic collection of characters and cultures come together for a crazy showdown with Galactus to determine the fate of the world. Or rather, the fate of both the Marvel and Capcom universes, which are separate worlds in both space and time. Yeah, I don't get it either, but the whole point of the game is to get a bunch of characters together to beat the crap out of each other with spectacular results. Similar to "King Of Fighters XI" and "Project Justice", "Marvel Vs. Capcom 3" is a 3-on-3 tag team fighting game. This allows for some interesting team dynamics, but also introduces the difficulty of having to master several different characters and keep track of their different move sets. The character roster boasts an impressive 36 characters to choose from, with 12 female fighters. Even so, I had a hard time finding three females that fit my personality and playing style. "Street Fighter's" Chun-Li and Marvel's X-23 were obvious choices, and after several hours of experimentation, I finally settled on "Okami's" Amaterasu as my third. If nothing else, that's an indication of the diversity of characters that are available in this wacky brawler. There are also characters from "Resident Evil", "Devil May Cry", "Viewtiful Joe", "Darkstalkers", "Bionic Commando", and perhaps the strangest of them all, "Ghosts 'n Goblins." The Marvel side favors The Avengers and X-Men with Wolverine, Magneto, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Storm, Phoenix, She-Hulk, Captain America, and Dr. Doom.

The presentation is delightful and the game centers around performing incredibly crazy combos that are matched with bright and dazzling visuals. The game even comes with a seizure warning for all of the flashy eye candy that's on display. Like most Capcom fighters, this one is very difficult to master, even on the "very easy" setting. However, the controls and move lists are considerably shorter and less complex than in other Capcom fighting games, which reduces the steep learning curve a bit. Having only four buttons for Chun-Li takes some getting used to, but it's elegant and gets the job done. In an attempt to engage novice players, the game offers a "simple" command set which is anything but. It maps the attack buttons to super powered combos instead of standard attacks, which leaves you constantly vulnerable because you don't know what you're going to get and they take so long to execute. It's pretty much the quickest way to defeat, so you're better off sticking with the normal controls (which are also more predictable).

The game features the standard arcade mode, versus mode, training mode, and mission mode. Arcade mode builds to a showdown against Galactus himself, which is an absurdly difficult fight that quickly kills any fun or good will that the game had previously built up. It's rage inducing and completely off the chart. I guess that's appropriate considering who you're up against, but it's simply no fun. Mission mode allows you to unlock various gallery items, but even the "simple" missions are laughably impossible to pull off.

Apart from the difficulty, the only other criticisms I have involve the seemingly small number of stages, the ever-present and annoying narrator, and the fact that it takes at least seven button presses to even start a match (and a lot more if you deviate from the default settings). Thankfully, the game offers the ability to save your favorite team and call them up with a couple of clicks, but it's still cumbersome and keeps you out of the game. If you can overcome these nuisances, "Marvel Vs. Capcom 3" is a feast for the eyes and gleefully embraces its over-the-top silliness.