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Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3» Forums » Reviews

Subject: You can't love or hate this rss

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Fabian Trunz
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Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, oh you game, you. I got Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the Xbox 360 the moment it came out. I'd loved MvC2 on the Dreamcast. Of course, this being the first fighting game I played online, I was bitterly disappointed. I was just getting beaten into the ground by the cheapest stuff people could possibly think of. What were people thinking? I soon stopped playing the game. It made me angry and it was stupid and it was unfair and I hated it.

Now, fast forward a few months, the Nintendo 3DS released. There weren't many games for it I wanted, but I'd always been curious about Street Fighter, so I got Super Street Fighter IV on it. At first it seemed boring as well, but then the unthinkable happened: I played it enough to start understanding what was actually going on! You didn't just randomly hit buttons or use your special attacks like I thought you should. Just because you can do a quarter circle forward motion or a dragon punch motion doesn't mean you have to do it all the time. You can actually throw people, make them guess when they're getting up from the ground, option select, hit confirm into combos, use links to get more damage, use focus attacks, use faster attacks, use attacks with weird hit boxes, focus attack dash cancel...

- You can see, there was terminology going around and it all beautifully came together in a very strategic game with lots of thinking involved, rather than just reflexes like I'd originally assumed. In fact, reflexes didn't come into it all that much after a certain point. You start understanding what characters can do and anticipate. Most of the things you think you can react to you really can't, you just have to think ahead. I played SSFIV until I broke the R button on my 3DS.

Fast forward, the PS Vita released. As a launch title, it got Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I immediately jumped on it. I would give MvC3 another chance! I knew fighting games now!

Boy was I wrong. The game was still stupid and I still hated it. But I remembered that feeling and decided I'd try and push through that wall. 20 hours of training mode and mission mode later, and I was kicking ass online, at least the ass of the other mediocre players. I was getting to understand the systems, it felt good again. I knew I was gonna be playing this for a long time.

I could go into details. I could explain the super gauge, hyper combos, OTGs, assists, x-factor, overheads, mixups, blockstrings, hyper armor, etc. etc. It wouldn't do you much good. Understanding these things on a theoretical level is no substitute for getting a feel for them. You'll have to do that kind of work yourself.

But it's fun work. The game is beautiful, with some of the best art I've ever seen in videogames, it does not get boring, you can always get better at executing your combos or even create new ones. (First fighting game where I didn't just look them up online. The system is so fluid you can pretty much do whatever you want. Sometimes I get an idea for a combo while not playing the game, I turn it on, try it out and find out it works. That is very satisfying)

However, when I lose, I still hate the game. It's not because I have a weak personality - I play other competitive games like Starcraft 2 and I'm fine with losing. The problem is that UMvC forces you to be cheap. Essentially, it's a race to whoever can play in the cheapest way possible. You want to kill your opponent in a single hit, and you want to get that hit in in a way that will make your opponent puzzled as to how you even did it.

When you lose in this game, you won't know why you lost. You'll lose to people who seem worse than you who abuse cheap and easy systems while you spent all your time learning complicated combos. It will seem unfair and you'll get into situations that seem like it's impossible to get out of them - most likely because it really is impossible to get out. This is not a fair game. It is not easy to learn, and even if you get good you can still lose to someone who's new (as long as they at least somewhat know what they're doing. Random button mashing doesn't get them anywhere)

UMvC3 is frustrating, beautiful, and so full of content to discover you'll never understand even half of what is on offer here. There is a gargantuan amount of unique characters, all of which have tools that can be abused to be as cheap as possible in their own right. It's just that some are more well-endowed than others. That said, the game isn't an unbalanced mess, but some characters are easier to play than others and some characters are better than they probably should be at a high level of play. - Again, this is not a fair game. You have to play to win to have fun with this. Playing "for fun" will just get you killed in 10 seconds.

To summarize: UMvC3 is not for everybody. You need to invest time, and it can be very frustrating to get past that barrier of "this is so cheap" and get into its intricacies. But the intricacies are there if you look for them. There is a deep strategy going on here, and if you're willing to invest the time and effort, you will love this game.

Another thing to add: This is not a game to play for single player mode. What is there is short, boring, and doesn't emulate a human opponent in any way. The AI reacts startlingly quick - it cheats and reads your inputs, but it doesn't do combos that kill you in one hit. You can't play mindgames with it and you'll just come away unsatisfied. This is a game that needs a human opponent if there ever was one.

If I had to rate this game, I'd give it +-10 out of +-10. Depending on how determined you are in approaching it, it will either be one of the best games you ever played, or the worst. Just don't come back and say I didn't warn you, quitter!

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Kiku Ichimonji
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Milton Keynes
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A nice review, thank you!

I must admit that I too got MvC3 (for the Xbox) when it came out, and I enjoyed it for what I was getting out of it: a fun fireworks show that ran just a little too fast for me to feel in control of it. Say whatever else you like about the game, but when two diehard button-mashers sit down to play, the screen rapidly goes nuts!

The thing that DID leave a nasty taste in the mouth, however, was how, having dropped full-price for the first game, the "Ultimate" version seemed to come out VERY soon after, and I guess I felt a little cheated. I make no comment on whether I have any right to feel like that, but to me it felt like the rug had been yanked out from under me. I totally understand that when you put down money, you accept what you're paying for as what you're getting (and I really should have known better than to trust Capcom, of all people, not to kick out a special edition, a Hyper-Fighting edition, a Super edition... etc etc)... but still, meh. It makes me wish I hadn't bought it at all, which is a terrible emotion to elicit from a customer.

It just pushes me further into that camp of people who don't buy anything on release, because they know that at some point in the future there will be an updated version, a game of the year version, a "complete" edition, where I'll get the game and all the extras for half the price of the day-one purchasing fans. Despite knowing that, if everyone did that, every game would be a failure on release...

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Fabian Trunz
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What you're describing is a very fundamental problem of game design when it comes to fighting games. They're unimaginably complex and so balance changes can only be made after very extensive testing by extremely skilled people. This is not something one company can manage with internal tests and open betas. It's a problem of the genre.

Even worse: As your standard button masher, you won't notice the subtle changes. You won't notice how hyper bars fill more slowly, how there are less infinites, how Phoenix has become more risky, how many characters got a new move or two that makes them much more viable. For fighting game enthusiasts, however, this turns the "small upgrade" into an entirely different game with different rules. Most people never get to see that, which is also why UMvC3 sold very much less than expected and turned into a commercial failure.
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Jason Birzer
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Burke
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Course, a lot of this explains why I can't get into fighting games like this. There seems to be no casually playing this game, that to be any good you have to spend hours and hours getting good at it.
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Fabian Trunz
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Indeed. You can play UMvC3 casually better than other fighters, but as soon as you go online you won't have any fun whatsoever. Basically you'll need a friend to play the game with you who has the same mindset you have. And if one of you starts training while the other doesn't what balance was there will be gone.

I used to play fighting games like Tekken at a friend's house. There were three of us and the friend who owned the game was obviously better, but he was a good sport about it, which I'm sure doesn't come easy. He probably got that from actual martial arts that he was doing at the time. And I had matches against my other friend where both of us were equally inept. If you can get into a situation where you have people with the same skill level, you'll have fun, but then, such situations are sadly very rare.
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