The ultimate ‘what if’ game is back

When the first Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Superheroes was first released in 1998, it received positive reviews from critics and became a cult classic. Marvel vs. Capcom was the ultimate “What if?” game: What if Ryu from Street Fighter met and fought Iron Man? What if villainous Wesker met the ultimate evil, Dormammu? What if the zombie-killer Chris Redfield had to find the unbeatable Hulk? Who would come out victorious? Even better, the game allowed you two pick two heroes or villains and start a team match.

Two years later, Capcom released the sequel: Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. It didn’t bring anything new to the table graphic or control scheme wise, but it introduced even more characters than the first, totaling  56 heroes and villans to choose from (28 from Capcom and 28 from Marvel). It also allowed players to choose three characters for a match rather than two, and it opened up a whole new batch of possibilities for combos.

It’s now 11 years later and Capcom has finally completed the trilogy with Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.

MvC3 is completely different from the first two games. Instead of the characters being 2D-sprites, each character has been rendered in 3D with a very comic-book feel: they are brightly colored and have bold, black outline. Even the controls have been changed for this installment of the series: the first two games had a six-button control scheme, with low punch, mid punch, high punch, low kick, mid kick, and high kick. This made every character unique, as only certain characters could perform certain combos or techniques, such as launching the opponent into the air and instantaneously going up with them to combo them in the air. MvC3 ditches the six-button control scheme for a simpler four-button control: light, mid, heavy, and special. Light, mid and heavy attacks can link together to form a three hit combo and the special button acts as a launcher button, so now every character has the ability to go into the air beat up their opponents. As an added bonus, Capcom introduced the ability to perform a team aerial combo: you can launch an opponent with one character and then, by pressing a directional button and the special button at the same time, you can switch to another member of your team and continue the air combo.

MvC3 has cut down the total number of available fighters from 56 to 36, and while some players might miss favorite characters, I beg to differ. The 36 characters are all extremely different and have their own strengths and weaknesses. The game’s designers even brought in characters from the Marvel and Capcom universe that players probably have never heard of, like Dormammu, Taskmaster, She-Hulk, Sir Arthur, Spencer and Haggar. Not knowing these characters made me extremely curious and I was playing with them just to see what all they had to offer. The game features brief profiles for characters so you can find out who they are.

The game is also extremely novice-friendly because, along with its normal four-button control, it allows players to choose an even simpler control scheme. What this does is map all three types of attacks (the light, mid, and heavy buttons) into one. Special is still its own button, and the other two buttons are reserved for hyper combos (which are an individuals over-the-top special attacks). This allows newcomers to witness a preview of what characters can do and easily transition into the normal button configuration.

The only flaw with the game is the lack of real, animated character endings after you beat arcade mode. Every character’s ending is composed of two different still frames and text; but Capcom could have done something better.

Overall the game is amazing: it welcomes beginners with its simple and training modes, it allows more advanced characters to perform amazing, eye-popping combos, and it lets fan boys prove that Albert Wesker can beat Captain America.

Eleven years later, the sequel to the ultimate “What if?” fighting game is back better than ever.