....but is that ride an epic, cross-country road trip with your bestest buddies or a vacation drive with your annoying siblings and frustrating parents to parts unknown? The answer is, for the most part, the former. Though, this game does have its "Are we there yet?' moments. It has been a decade of suffering for most fighting game entusiasts since a sequel to one of the most iconized games in that genre finally decided to make its way onto the market. We all remember Marvel vs Capcom 2's appearance on the most cherish Sega Dreamcast system and the impact it had on the competitive, fighting game world. The unheard-of-at-that-time expansive cast, revamped 2-d sprites, chaotic combat schemes, and interesting hyper combos blew players away and had them engaged for hours, which turned into days, and turned into months. It goes on and on. In fact, the release of MvC2 online to both the Playstation Network and X-Box Live stores months before the announcement of the third game in the series preluded a massive resurgence in interest for this genre of gaming.
However, enough about the past. Let's talk about the present, and what's happening now is MvC3. How was this game promoted? Does it muster up to our expectations? Does it offer the replayability of its predecessor? Are the graphics up to snuff? All of these questions and more are about to be answered.
Let's start with the graphics and sound. Unlike MvC2, this recent release had the pleasure of being made for the current generation, graphically-spectacular Playstation 3 and X-Box 360. And the visuals don't dissappoint. Each character model are lush with detail and fully rendered in crisp 3-D detailed goodness. The vibriant colors really adhere to the comic book style that the creators talked about creating. The backgrounds, additionally, not only follow this format. They greatly contribute to building the perfect atmosphere for craziness. Keeping to the traditional platform that are inherent to classic fighting games, each stage are 2-D. This really helps each character model pop and gives the player a since of immersion absent from most games of this gene. The stages range from the Danger Room to an Umbrella Laboratory to an asteroid just outside of planet Earth and many more. Each sound effect for the stages and characters are perfect. The voice acting is some of the best ever done in video games, period. And Capcom took the time to develop a theme for each character, which makes even the staunchest fanboy giggle with delight.
Will address the roster next. There are around 40 characters since the release of the DLC (Jill and Shuma Gorath). The implications of having almost 20 characters less than the previous installment may worry some (as well as some of the choices for included characters versus absent ones). However, the selectable characters are different enough and each maintain their distinct personalities and abilities from their source work. Capcom really did a fantastic job with all of the characters. Personally, I don't think She-Hulk or Haggar really belong in the game with some of the more diverse powerhouses (Dante, Hulk, Dormammu, Phoenix, etc.). However, those characters are wildly popular and fan demand most likely influenced their appearances. Plus, DLC will enable much of the left out favorites to enter the battlefield later on down the line. All-in-all, I was very pleased with the finished character list.
Naturally, their can be no light without the dark. Whereas the makers of MvC3 decided to include many aspects that appeal to both the casual and competitive player (Training, Mission, Story, and Online Play), there is one huge aspect of this otherwise perfect game that is flawed. The lead designer promised in multiple interviews that this story for this game would be "robust the likes a fighting game has yet to see". Well, his notion of robust must be skewed from living on an island country or maybe he was high because there is very little accompishment in completely a playthough in that mode. Sure, the witty banter between characters before the match starts is nice, as are the little vocal nods to relationships in the tag-in's. In contrast, no characters are afforded an actual beginning or middle to their storylines, just a short two-panel ending that scrolls dialogue with no moving cinematics. You, as the gamer, have no idea what the hell is happening. No one informs you that Dr. Doom and Wesker are recruiting villains from both universes to take over both worlds and that they piss off Galactus in the process. That information is not in MvC3. It's available online. That's it. Neither are the endings conclusive to what is actually happening in the worlds. They are used, mainly, for little cameos for people not good/relevant enough to be included as playable fighters. It is sad that they put forth such a piss-poor effort when Super Smash Brothers Brawl's Subspace Emissary Mode and any of the Soul Calibur games's story modes shove more single player content into the minds of the consumers than almost necessary.
Other than that oversight (which I feel is pretty big). This recent release offers so much that it would be a crime to pass up. Go forth and purchase it if you haven't already and get ready for a beat-down for all of your senses.