And that’s that it’s not Marvel vs Capcom 2. Ever since its days in the arcades, Capcom’s legendary fighter has always been larger than life thanks to its jazzy soundtrack, overenthusiastic announcer, brilliant sprite work, and enormous cast of familiar faces from both sides of the spectrum. Marvel vs Capcom 2 is one of the true multiplayer gems of the gaming world because fans, both hardcore pros and casual players alike, don’t care or realize that it is the most broken, unbalanced shlock in existence.
The core of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has always been solely about flash, fun, and a ridiculous number of points through broken, juggling combos. Strategy takes a back seat in this all out brawler. I bet one reason you can’t buy it anymore, aside from licensing issues, is because modern, soft-skinned gamers couldn’t play it for five minutes without begging for a balance patch.
But, we’re really talking about Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 today, the improbable sequel that Capcom recently published on the PlayStation 4 and will put on the PC and Xbox One next March. This is my first time playing the game since I never got around to it back on the PlayStation 3, but from what I can tell from this new port, it’s a solid successor. Nothing that could ever replace the heights of Marvel vs Capcom 2, but the reasons that this is also a fan-favorite are all the more obvious now that I’ve battled my way through a few rounds.
Let’s start with what the game is missing, just to get the bad out of the day. The jazzy soundtrack of Marvel vs Capcom 2 is here, but it’s subdued. That over-enthusiastic announcer also turns up, but he just doesn’t have the same fire under his butt this time around. The outrageous late 90s pixel art was huge for defining Marvel vs Capcom 2’s personality, and these heavily shadowed 3D character models are a huge step back.
Simply put, the whole game is darker, gloomier, and has a real “next-gen” feel about it, but not in a good way. Maybe in a “look at us be dark and brooding” Gears of War or God of War kind of way. If Marvel vs Capcom 3 was made to appeal to fans who entered gaming when gritty cynicism took over our entertainment industry, then mission accomplished! That was the whole purpose of the Marvel’s Ultimate comic line anyway, but it’s off-putting to see happy faces like Tron Bonne, Amaterasu, and Viewtiful Joe exist in such dark, muddy settings.
That flash and flare which makes its predecessor immortal? It’s no longer here.
But that is where my complaints end. I’m comparing this game to the splashes of explosive colors in my face from the late-90s early 2000s, back when our culture had a positive outlook on life and video games reflected this attitude. However, this game was not a product of that time and should not be judged by those standards. On its own, judging by what you get in this package, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a really good fighting game that should be in any enthusiast’s collection
Why? Well, for one, Capcom didn’t have to re-release it! Trust me, the company would rather see Street Fighter V be a larger hit and have you sink your money into that game, but the attraction in releasing Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 on PlayStation 4 is that it is one the loyal fans want to play. Happy Capcom fans buy Capcom products, and Capcom’s main source of income is nostalgia these days.
This release is for you, the Capcom fans who gripe about how Capcom doesn’t deliver for its longtime fans anymore. Take this as a sign that Capcom is listening and things are getting better.
$24.99 lands you 38 individual characters and a few simple fighting modes. Don’t expect a flurry of options with the game, because you won’t be getting that. Instead, you’ll have one of the largest rosters of fighters ever assembled for a video game, and the variety of this game comes from a mix-and-match system that teams up any three characters of your choice.
Spider-man, Ryu, Wolverine? Viewtiful Joe, Hulk, Frank West? The choice of who you take into battle is all up to you. From there, the heart of the experience comes from finding your own style. Synchronization attacks, experimenting with combining hyper combos, tweaking your ideal squads: this is half the fun of Marvel vs Capcom 3.
The other half is, of course, the actual fighting. No gimmicks, no need for patching or special modes. This is a straightforward fighting game that’s just a lot of fun. It also comes with the refreshing knowledge that this is a complete game. Chances are Capcom is not going to be patching this game to kingdom come and back, so the game you buy is the game you’ll be stuck with.
No need to worry your favorite character being nerfed.
Again, that’s part of what makes this series classic. Gamers are forced to evolve because of the game rather than the other way around. Now it’s time for another generation to do so. I can only hope that it’s successor, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, can do these two games justice.