Saturday, February 26, 2011
Xbox 360 review: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Fighting games have generally catered to two audiences: those who take the time to learn all the moves and those who prefer button-mashing guesswork. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds takes this into account and offers two modes of control. The first, called ‘normal’, is the standard style in which players must activate various moves and combos by chaining the buttons and directions (pretty standard to any fighter). The second is called ‘easy’ mode and assigns a number of key moves to the buttons, taking away some of the difficulty in mastering the combos but also restricting the number of attacks at a player’s disposal. In player vs. player matches, the use of these two control types work quite fluidly with one another.
There are plenty of characters to choose from, both old-school favorites including Ryu and Iron Man and newcomers including Chris Redfield and Deadpool (and yes, the latter does break the fourth wall time and time again). All of the playable characters are balanced in a near-perfect manner, and their various strengths/weaknesses will cater to just about any play style. Progressing through the game unlocks four new characters, though there are no specific requirements regarding who you comprise your team of or what difficulty you play on that determine who is unlocked and when.
The gallery, on the other hand, is host to character models and bios, original artwork created specifically for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, intro/promo clips, the various pieces in the game’s soundtrack, and a theater mode which allows players to go back and watch the endings to each character’s story ending in arcade mode. Some of these are unlocked from the moment players first fire up the disc, but many require players to play through the arcade mode a number of times. Additionally, players can customize their icon picture and catchphrase as they unlock these through the various modes of gameplay.
Arcade mode, the main single-player experience within Marvel vs. Capcom 3, challenges players to fight through six rounds against CPU teams before facing down the final boss character Galactus. Players can customize the arcade experience through five difficulty settings, time limits, and the amount of damage dealt. The CPU teams are randomized each time, and no character will show up more than once on the opposing team in any given playthrough. The boss battle against Galactus is the only portion of the game that is particularly unforgiving to those playing on simple mode, as it is rather difficult and requires players to be more tactical than in the majority of arcade mode.
A two-player versus mode has been included for those playing with multiple controllers on the same console, though the only ‘quick match’ style of gameplay against a CPU comes in the form of training mode. In training mode, the health bar of the enemy team constantly recharges, and (as its name implies) is intended more for players to hone their skills than to actually go toe-to-toe with the CPU. Mission mode is more or less a glorified series of tutorials that teaches players various attacks and combos. Multiplayer carries over to Xbox Live, and plays surprisingly smoothly. Occasionally there will be brief moments of lag, but nothing that will hinder the fast-paced gameplay or make players overly aggravated. In both forms of multiplayer, players can set aside three rosters of characters for quick-load if they so choose.
The game utilizes a combination of current-gen graphical standards with a comic book-inspired cel-shading layered overtop. All in all, this presents a very clean and appealing art style. The level design is pretty standard throughout – players can’t interact much with the environment around them, though each level keeps things interesting through active objects in the background. Admittedly, there are only a handful of multiplayer levels included on the disc and a few more would have been very welcome. The same can be said about the roster of characters, especially considering that DLC characters have already been announced.
There is a lot of character dialogue recorded and each of the voice actors fits their respective role near perfectly, which is impressive considering not all of the characters are voiced by the same actors as in their games of origin and others (more so on Marvel’s side) have not been given voice actors previously. An overarching story is tied into everything, and while mildly amusing at times, don’t expect anything too phenomenal from this aspect.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is classic arcade style beat-‘em-up at its finest. There is plenty of replay value to be found among the various modes of gameplay, and the character roster is a perfect balance of new and old. That said, the game does seem a tad overpriced at $59.99, especially considering the additional costs of the upcoming DLC packs. If you’re a big fan of fighting games, be sure to check this title out, and if you’re still on the fence about it you might want to consider waiting until the price drops a bit before forking out the cash.
My rating: 8 (out of 10)