Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

REVIEWAfter over a decade of support for Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 from the beyond-loyal players, Capcom has finally answered the prayers of fans and brought back one of the staple hardcore 2D fighting game franchises of our time. What began with the likes of X-Men: Children of the Atom & Marvel Super Heroes is now a scientific, streamlined and immensely deep & fun fighting game engine. The series has certainly come a long way and has evolved dramatically over the years... so how does the latest installment fare?

The intense 3-on-3 tag team battles have returned along with classic gameplay mechanics like team hyper combos, hyper move cancels and snapbacks. To meet the hype and demand that has built up for over a decade, Capcom set out to break down the wall of complicated controls and present a strategic gameplay experience for players of all levels. Gameplay-wise, MVC3 is something like a hybrid of Tatsunoko VS Capcom and Marvel VS Capcom 2, taking the simpler, streamlined movelists & easier-to-connect combos from TVC and blending it together with MVC2's epic combo possibilities and frantic gameplay speed.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 character selection screen.

38 diverse fighters have been re-imagined in brilliant cell-shaded 3D visuals and feature brand new animations. Returning Marvel characters retain many of their classic moves and mannerisms from previous Marvel VS titles from over 15 years ago (such a huge fan service)! While I miss the charming 2D sprites (like many other traditionalists), there's simply no room to complain about the way this game looks. The graphics are badass from every angle... character models are sharp and full of life, special moves & hit effects are beyond flashy and backgrounds are interestingly designed & well animated. Although, I heard someone at Capcom say something about "1080p visuals" early on in the game's development... alas, I was a bit disappointed to see my 1080p television running the game in 720p. In any case, Marvel VS Capcom 3's visuals overall are sexy and there's plenty of eye candy to go around. I just wish they used better anti-aliasing because there are some visible jaggy edges when you look close.

If you've ever played any of the previous Marvel VS games, you'll immediately notice that returning characters' movesets have been streamlined yet again. There are now 3 basic attack buttons and launch attacks are universally performed with one button (known as the Special Attack button, which also has other functions depending on the character). The Special Attack button is also used to put together one of MVC3's most notable "new" gameplay features - the Team Aerial Combo. In the midst of an air combo, partners can be tagged in on the fly to extend the combo, making for some of the most epic air combos ever seen in a fighting game to date! Players on the receiving end of a Team Ariel Combo can also counter the combo by guessing the correct exchange move at the same time as their opponent.

Endless combo possibilities... if you want to master this game, you'll need to study.

Many characters have an alternate command attack or two, but the majority of veteran characters feel slightly "dumbed down" due to the lack of priority moves. All in all though, characters have a nice balance of special & super moves this time around, although some were built in with waaay more special moves than others... (yes, I'm looking at you Dante). An improvement over the prequels in the moveset department is that every character has a nice variety of super moves, and most of them have a spectacular Level 3 super which isn't very difficult to connect (some can even be connected after super moves)! The important thing is that character balance has definitely been improved upon since the days of MVC2, which is widely known for its infamous balance issues. Fans that have been waiting for a "balanced" MVC game for all these years have finally been served (so it would seem).

In addition to the 3 attack buttons and Special Attack button, the 2 assist buttons from the prequel have returned along with alpha, beta and gamma assist types. No doubt assist-based attacks will play a huge part on how successful your team is. Possibly the most fun part of the game is exploring and experimenting with different teams & assist types to find that perfect team (or teams) that suits your playing style! There are so many possibilities to discover, it's mind-boggling.... Hardcore players will no doubt find countless hours of replayability deep inside MVC3's solid gameplay engine. Also worth mentioning, there are some incredibly stylish looking combos in this game! All characters sort of have their own unique "combo style" as well. Simply put, MVC3's combo system is well thought-out and, most importantly, fun! 

Another new gameplay mechanic is the X-Factor mode. A player can temporarily boost the speed & power of their team and even activate a healing effect by using X-Factor. The cool thing about X-Factor is that it affects each character slightly differently. Some characters receive insane speed boosts and can dash around the screen with lightning-fast speed, while others are notable for their sudden ability to deal out ridiculous amounts of damage... (yes, I'm looking at you Sentinel). The degree of X-Factor's boost also depends on how many active fighters are on the team. The "catch" of using X-Factor is that characters will receive more damage when they are hit, which balances it out quite nicely. All in all, X-Factor is a great addition and opens the door to a dramatic comeback if the player chooses the right time to activate it and uses it effectively.

Metro City's mayor is more than a challenge for you, Hulk!

Capcom really did long-time fans a service when they remixed many of the classic BGM themes from previous VS Series games, once again dating all the way back to X-men: Children of the Atom. MVC3's soundtrack is indeed an eclectic and robust mix of music, containing at least 100 tracks! In Marvel VS Capcom 2, one of my main "cosmetic" complaints was the lack of character-specific themes. MVC3 "brings the beat back" with awesome-sounding individual character themes! It never ceases to add to the awe value when a fighter is called into battle and their theme kicks in. Some of the BGMs are pure ear candy, but others kinda left me a bit on the disappointed side (Ryu's & Chun Li's could've been much better). In any case, I really can't complain when there are so many tracks packed into this one game (and most of them rock!).

Speaking of presentation,
Marvel VS Capcom 3 was said to feature a "storyline" early on in it's development. Unfortunately, there's no sign of any kind of Story Mode within the game itself. Arcade mode is pretty much what you'd expect, but it is presented in a cool "comic book style". Also worth mentioning are the practically nonexistent load times in Arcade Mode... they definitely keep the shit moving, which is nice! Each character has their own unique ending which usually presents a cool cross-over cameo or two, but unfortunately endings are surprisingly short and feature modest, still artworks (old school!!! Shut up Yipes. ) I'm sure some of the more artistically inspired fans would've appreciated a deeper effort with the actual story value of the game, but while it's disappointing, let's remember that this is a fighting game. And why do we play fighting games? To fight... and fight with style.

With that said, Capcom's "presentation" clearly lies within MVC3's gameplay itself. Pre-fight banter between Capcom & Marvel characters is done brilliantly and there's a ton of clever dialogue to enjoy both before and after the fight. The high profile voice-actors really add a strong personality to the game, enabling characters to appear more fleshed-out than ever before. However, certain dialogue during gameplay seems a bit unnecessary and/or forced. Also, the original voice actors from earlier VS Series titles better suited the classic Marvel characters in my opinion, but that's just nitpicking from an old school Marvel fan. Capcom really went all out with their character-specific interactions and even included some quotes that only long-time video game/comic fans will catch. For example, Deadpool mockingly quotes Magneto's infamous "Welcome to die!" from the 1992 X-men arcade game... how beyond-epic is that?!?!

The pre-fight character interactions are the BEST of any fighting game to date.

MVC3's opening movie is nothing short of breathtaking and there are actually several epic cinematics in the game which revolve around various Marvel & Capcom character interactions. The amazing CG movies are enough to satisfy me (who happens to be a huge Capcom & Marvel fan) in the production-value department, and while I would've appreciated a deeper in-game story in addition, I ask myself... would I really want to put hours upon hours into a lengthy story mode? Other 2D fighting games in recent times have featured strong story modes - for example, Blazblue with it's countless hours of anime nonsense. While it seems like a perfect idea for Marvel VS Capcom to feature a story, honestly... I'd rather just play the game like most hardcore gamers. That said, what MVC3 lacks on some presentation-oriented elements, it makes up for with an amazingly fleshed-out gameplay experience. Get some friends, practice up and play this game online... there's a lot to learn and epic matches to be had.

The mode selection is definitely "bare bones," but Practice Mode & Mission Mode are done right and are your best friends if you want to become a tournament-worthy player. Mission Mode is a challenge even for seasoned veterans and proudly shows off the complexity of MVC3's engine. For the more casual gamers there are some cool unlockables like viewable character models, movies, artwork, endings, character voices, BGMs, icons and titles. While there isn't a plethora of "extras" packed in, the voice selection option for Capcom characters was unexpected and much appreciated, as you can set Capcom characters to speak either English or Japanese (like SSF4)... Awesome! 

The online mode is simple and to the point, but is lacking features and stability when compared to other online fighting games. First and foremost, I'm disappointed with the lack of any sort of replay save option. One of the cooler features are the "player profile cards" which record a vast amount of statistics such as: hours played offline, hours played online, battles fought, longest win streak, most used characters/teams and even a graph of each player's personal fighting style habits. You can even reserve your top 3 favorite teams on your profile card and "quick select" them at the character select screen so you don't have to pick each character individually. MVC3's online mode also introduces a unique punishment for those pesky rage quitters, dubbed "rage quitter hell". Dishonorable players who pull the plug to escape losses on a regular basis will eventually be pitted against other people who pull the plug frequently! I think it's a brilliant idea that all future fighting game online modes should incorporate. Overall, once again, I'm disappointed with online mode and ended up not playing online very much due to the instability.





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Page Updated: March 1st, 2024
Developer(s): Capcom, Eighting
Publisher(s): Capcom
Artwork by: Shinkiro                      Main Poster Illustrations
Tamio                           Character Art
Alvin Lee                     Steelbook Cover
Miho Mori                  Poster
Kinu Nishimura        Poster
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date(s): Feb. 15th, 2011   
Feb. 17th, 2011   

Feb. 18th, 2011  
Characters Ryu, Chun Li, Morrigan, Dante, Trish, Amaterasu, Felicia, Viewtiful Joe, Chris Redfield, WeskerJill Valentine, Tron Bonne, Zero, Arthur, Nathan Spencer, C. Viper, Haggar, Akuma, Hsien-Ko, Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America, Deadpool, Hulk, She-Hulk, Dr. Doom, Super-Skrull, Dormammu, Shuma-Gorath, Thor, X-23, Spider-Man, Magneto, Storm, M.O.D.O.K., Phoenix, Taskmaster, Sentinel, Galactus

Featured Video:

Related Games: Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men VS Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter, Marvel VS Capcom, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars, Super Street Fighter IV, Blazblue: Continuum Shift

Gameplay Engine  8.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.0 / 10
Animation  9.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.5 / 10
Innovation  8.0 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  7.5 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  9.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.5 / 10
Characters  8.5 / 10


 8.7 / 10

 Review based on PS3 version   


Final Words: After the unprecedented success of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 keeping dedicated players engaged for well over a decade... Capcom sure had their work cut out for them in MVC3. When bringing back such a high-profile title, they had to walk the fine line of pleasing both the hardcore players of the series and new / casual fans. Overall, I think they hit the mark they were going for.

As a veteran MVC2 player (since launch), I'm overall pleased with the final product, but I do have a few issues with the game. Connecting super moves to specials & combos is definitely simplified this time around... a lot of stuff connects with ease (and probably a bit too often). On the flipside, certain high level combos require insanely precise timing. There's less leeway in the deeper aspects of the combo engine. I miss the days where you didn't have to have absolutely perfect timing to connect Magneto's hyper grab with magnetic tempest in an air combo. (The online latency on the PS3 version adds to my frustration.) I'm certainly not complaining about the complexity of the game (it's a good thing), but this crucial aspect of the overall gameplay experience may turn some players off.

Like many others, I was skeptical about MVC3's roster from the very beginning, but I knew Capcom would balance things out and present an "entertaining" roster at the very least. While many iconic Capcom & Marvel characters are painfully missing... it's hard to complain when there are 38 characters (especially when the original Versus games had somewhere between 15-18 playable characters). However, standards have gone up over the years and, in my opinion, MVC3's roster just doesn't come close to the "magic" of MVC2's.

I'm a pretty big fan of X-Men... so I can only speak for myself here, but in MVC3, I really miss using characters like Gambit, Juggernaut, Sabretooth, Rogue, Cable, and Cyclops to name a few. And on the Capcom side... (do I really need to say it?)... where are my old pals Strider Hiryu, Captain Commando, Jin Saotome and freakin' Mega Man? After the last two MVC games, to me it just doesn't feel like Marvel VS Capcom without the characters I just mentioned.

MVC3's combo system is pretty fun and open-ended, and Capcom seems to have done a decent job with character balance (especially after the patches). However, from a design standpoint, I feel the roster isn't as compelling or well-rounded as it could be. For example, there's no "Guile-type" / charge character. Although Guile was underrated in MVC2, he was actually one of my mains in the prequel. There's no replacement for Guile in MVC3, but maybe that'll change with the sequel.

Presentation-wise, I love all the little details Capcom brought to the table in MVC3. Hearing characters shouting their partner's names when being tagged in, and during air combos, is a joy to hear and never gets old. The close-up camera angles on super moves and the incredible background detail also add to the "epic" gameplay experience. Indeed, MVC3 does present a visually satisfying experience for those playing and watching. On the subject of backgrounds, a few extra DLC backgrounds certainly wouldn't have hurt, as there are only 9 in the game (with no variations, either).

I was hoping they'd release more DLC for MVC3, but expectedly, Capcom went their usual route and made a proper sequel... which is fine by me. Ultimate MVC3 features 10 new characters, new backgrounds, and many gameplay changes. The DLC all together probably would've cost the same amount that they're charging for the new disc-based title, and personally, I'd rather have a new physical game box in my collection over DLC anyway.
Be sure to check out my full review of Ultimate MVC3!

~TFG Webmaster | @FIGHTERS_GEN

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