The once ubiquitous fighting game genre is a mere shadow of its former self. In 2008, Capcom attempted, and largely succeeded, in reviving flagging interest in fighting games by resurrecting Street Fighter, giving fans the first true sequel to the seminal franchise since 1997’s Street Fighter III.
Their latest similar endeavour is Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – a crossover fighting mash up for which fans have been waiting for over a decade.
If you’ve never played Marvel vs. Capcom before, the premise is quite simple. It’s a three-on-three tag-team fighter featuring a bevy of characters from both stables, brought together by some tenuous plot device. This time, Doctor Doom and Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker have joined forces, trying to unify both universes as to make them easier to control. This has awakened an even more terrible force – which the assembled heroes and villains must now overcome.
It’s frankly quite absurd; but if you’re playing a fighting game for its story, you’re doing it wrong. As with all fighting games, the real meat is in its fighting mechanics and it’s this arena that that’ll probably be most divisive. As with the previous entry, Marvel vs Capcom 3 relies on franticly furious, screen-filling combos and structured chaos – but it’s all been made a little easier now to make it a more enticing proposition for newcomers.
The separate punch and kick buttons have been replaced by context-sensitive buttons of varying power, borrowing heavily from another recent crossover, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Pressing either the light, medium or hard attacks executes either a punch or a kick, depending on the player’s stance, direction and distance from target. A new “special attack” button is generally used for launching opponents upwards, readying them for an aerial assault. Press these in sequence, from light to hard, and you’ll initiate a combo that can be cancelled in to air and hyper combos.
The new button structure makes the game much easier to pick and play, but it’s not the only change to appease fighting newcomers. Instead of the traditional control mode, casual players can opt to employ simple mode, which reduces the number of attack buttons to one, with another button for special attacks, and a last for hyper combos. This reduces the number of moves available, but it helps in bridging the gap between serious and casual fighters. It works – but it’s largely unnecessary; the normal controls in MvC3 don’t require otherworldy reflexes for standard play, and a proper tutorial teaching the basics would be infinitely more beneficial.