Previews

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: A fighter for the masses?

Hands-on: With great power, comes a great Shoryuken...

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Ok, so maybe all that is still a bit confusing, but for those who don't have the luxury of experience or time Capcom has kindly implemented a 'simple' control scheme which condenses all of the inputs required to execute these manoeuvres down to just a few button taps.

With the simple control scheme combo strings, super attacks and assists can all be executed by tapping a single button for each. Special moves are executed by pressing a direction along with its designated button.

Unlike in previous games the launcher has now been standardised across all characters and also assigned its own button, thus making the flashy air combos possible for even the newest of players to pull off.

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The rabbit hole goes a lot deeper, explaining mechanics such as tagging, advance guarding and X-Factor only serves to make the game seem more complicated than it actually is.

Our playtime has taught us that words are an inadequate substitute for playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It's the kind of game where you'll see someone do something crazy like an advanced guard or X-Factor cancel and then immediately pause the game, dumbfounded by the on-screen madness and demand an explanation.

Like most other fighting games MvC3 is a game where you learn by doing. The difference this time is that executing the doing part isn't as daunting a task thanks to the simple control scheme.

FANORAMA
With Marvel transcending beyond just a comic book publisher to a multimedia entertainment juggernaut since the last MvC game, we expected that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would have high quality presentation, but we weren't prepared for just how well MvC3 manages to pull it off.

In previous games the fact that Marvel characters and Capcom characters were in the same game felt almost incidental. However, in MvC3 both companies seem to have gone to great lengths to marry the two worlds together more cohesively and comprehensively.

Everything from user interface elements such as the character select screen - which places your chosen characters on the cover of a comic book - to the win quotes indicate that this is a game that will almost certainly get a squee of excitement from comic and fighting game fans at every new screen.

We certainly let one out when She-Hulk ended a battle by saying, "Somebody once called me Phoenix Wright with muscles... and then I called an ambulance".

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The attention to detail so far is impressive, which is relieving considering how apt to getting upset both fanbases are. Characters are not just detailed in terms of their models but also in their personalities and interactions. Deadpool stands out as our favourite, the self-aware Merc with a mouth lambasts the player for sitting back and tapping buttons while he does all the hard work, and even requests that Capcom put him on the cover of the next Street Fighter for his efforts.

Battles take place in familiar places such as an Umbrella lab that houses Lickers and a Tyrant, outside the Daily Bugle during a parade celebrating Spider-Man, the Graveyard from Ghouls n Ghosts and the soundtrack includes remixed versions of themes from Marvel vs. Street Fighter.

Even something as insignificant as alternative costume colours are given care and attention, with alternates being based on costumes from the characters sported throughout the different comic book eras.

The faithfulness to source material even extends to interactions during battle, with characters being aware of who their teammates and opponents are and making references to any significant relationships.

Pick Iron Man, Captain America and Thor and Iron Man will start the battle by ordering The Avengers to assemble. Play as the Hulk and tag in She-Hulk and Bruce will call her Jennifer, making reference to their family connection. Put Ryu up against Spider-Man and he'll kick off the fight by saying "I hate spiders," while Spidey retorts with "You must have a black belt in stupidity if you think you're going to beat me". It's these small details that suggests that the game will appeal to an audience much broader than its predecessors.

So far Capcom has revealed 32 characters for the game and even after the numerous hours we've sunk into it we've only just scratched the surface. There are still hundreds more combos to learn, strategies to develop and moves to practice.

With more character reveals and stages to be confirmed in the next few months MvC3 is shaping up to be something really special in the beat-em-up genre and we can't wait to see what's in store.

Until then we're going to continue kicking ass with C.Viper, Viewtiful Joe and Super-Skrull. Excelsior!

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