Yes, my eyes were melting inside my face while playing the latest fighting game, Marvel vs. Capcom 3. And this is not because the game is graphically a marvel (no pun intended, really), but because seeing three characters do three separate moves with lots of pretty colours made my stomach turn. This game is one seizure away from being a Pokemon episode.
I've never been big on fighting games and for good reason. I can't pull off the obnoxiously complicated combos like others can, and even with years of practice I'd still resort to button-mashing. And, graciously, for people like me, MvC3 has a fighting option that simplifies things. Then again, there are two specific groups that play the fighting genre: those who can, and those who can't.
What has been a good ten years now, and what many herald as one of the best fighting mash-ups out there, who knows why it took Capcom so long to complete the trifecta. But I'm glad they did - I've been aching to play a good fighting game lately.
This game goes after the prime factor in the viability of a fighting game for many people - accessibility. It's as streamlined as streamlined can get, and to Capcom I applaud them. Since every fighting game will draw comparisons to Street Fighter IV, the newly-crowned best fighter of this generation, MvC3 is all about simplicity (in fighting game terms). While the button-mashing method works here (if you could call it a "method"), the three-man teams allow you to call for assistance and execute some of the wackiest combos. There is a mechanic called a crossover combination where your entire team does their special ability on screen at one time, and the team of Amateratsu, Wesker and Storm (the first one I did) is insane. Don't worry fighting fans, Capcom hasn't given up on you either. There's a gradual learning curve here, and the game does great to prepare those unfamiliar to the more difficult combos. But what is a fighting game without that one ridiculous combo that takes you out in two seconds? MvC3 has that element as well, and does a great job in prepping newcomers to face those. It's still irritating to get your ass kicked, don't get me wrong.
A trend among the fighting genre is no shred of a story and it's the same here. The Arcade Mode, consisting of six levels and a final battle for Earth, is the only thing remotely representing a story. Mission Mode is great for anyone unfamiliar with a character, and it acts like a training mode. MvC3 feels lacking in this department, because first you have many fighting games adding extras to extend the shelf life, and it seems Capcom doesn't think the game will last long. On the current console generation I can't be surprised, but still the lack of anything extra or story-related outside the core battle experience is disappointing. Though, in the Arcade Mode it is nice to see the return of character-specific endings, and with Marvel allowing Capcom full use of its library of characters, expect some unexpected cameos.
The biggest change from games past is the colourful array of characters. With a complete roster of 36 and two incoming as downloadable content, the roster seems lackluster compared to its predecessor. Even split between both factions, MvC2 had 56 characters and although some had similar fighting styles, all had their own unique individuality. From the characters I've tried MvC3 retains some of this uniqueness, but doesn't go far enough in displaying that uniqueness.
However I am nitpicking. It may be unfair to compare the two games since a decade has past and the video game industry has changed, but it is still a sequel. On its own, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a spectacle for the eyes. With a robust fighting system, stable online play and the addition of ranked leaderboards and a comprehensive stat page (known as the License), the game is a complete package. Now I must go to my optometrist and see what I can do about my eyes.