It’s difficult to focus while playing a Marvel Vs. Capcom game. In the merging of two geek universes, cooperative combos between two or more team members became the focus of battles; mastery of lightning-fast tag-teaming begot many victories. 2000’s Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 expanded teams to include three fighters, which induced a whole new set of moves to keep track of. And during the game itself, there are “hyper combos,” where the screen goes black and moves/lasers are unleashed at a frantic pace. Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds feeds the series’ frenzy. The result is chaos. But in the hands of mischief-maker Capcom, chaos is a compelling proposition.
In an effort to seduce fresh gamers, the title does away with a four-button light-punch/heavy-punch, light-kick/heavy-kick control scheme. Instead, three buttons are used for light, medium, and heavy attacks respectively, adapted to the character you’ve chosen. Complicated, multi-touch, expertly timed combos are as simple as pounding the controller, mostly when including the fourth button, now deemed “special.” Or you can do away with combos altogether and choose “simple” mode, where everything from proton cannons to hadoukens are one touch away. At various moments, all six characters are onscreen, getting whaled on with smack talk at the ready. Few games make giddy confusion so easily accessible.
Battles are flurries of beams and gunfire—especially now that two new Resident Evil characters are playable, plus Deadpool. These and other first-timers (among them, X-23 and Super Skrull) join staples like Wolverine, bringing the total to 36 with hidden options. So the roster is large enough for some characters to be all but forgotten, at least until you face them. Capcom’s selection demonstrates that the company has embraced firepower: Mega Man has been replaced by Zero, who sports a larger gun and a lightsaber. All the characters have their own endings, though that just amounts to a few lines of dialogue, apropos of nothing. “Mission” mode exists to teach moves, but with simple mode at the ready, you don’t need it.
Nope, this is a game about a bunch of recognizable figures (and Viewtiful Joe) pounding each other with cartoonishly large fists. There are a lot of regular-sized fists in videogames, but MVC3, amid the chaos, gleefully goes over-the-top.