Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Hands-On - New Character Explosion

We get our hands on a new version of Capcom's anticipated fighter and try Joe, Amaterasu, Dormammu, and Thor, as well as an all-new play mode.

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Capcom is showing off a beefy new version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in its Tokyo Game Show booth this year. The new version of the game includes playable versions of Viewtiful Joe, Amaterasu, Dormmamu, and Thor. It also includes a new stage set in Asgard, alternate colors for the fighters, a new closing screen between matches, and an intriguing new "simple" mode designed to make the game accessible to fighting game novices. We dove into this latest version of the game, which, as usual, made a great impression and left us aching for more.

The roster of fighters in the TGS version of the game included all the characters that have been playable to date and added in the four fighters announced at Comic-Con and Gamescom. The first character we tried was Amaterasu, the sun goddess in wolf form who starred in Capcom’s Okami. The four-legged fighter is a brawling badass, thanks to a balanced array of moves that give her a pretty solid arsenal of ranged and close-up attacks. Fans of Okami will be pleased to see a host of little touches drawn from her adventures. You’ll use a vine to perform double jumps that can be done in different directions, which is an ode to the Power of Vine technique from the game. The power slash move, performed with a quarter-circle motion away from her opponent and an attack button, yields an inky slash that does damage by slicing a card in half. The head charge, performed with a quarter-circle motion toward her opponent and an attack button, sends Amaterasu barreling at her opponent. The solar flare, performed with a dragon punch motion toward her opponent and an attack button, creates a quick temporary shield that, if properly timed, can reflect projectiles. However one of the most intriguing moves in her arsenal is the weapon change, performed by tapping down twice and pressing an attack button.

While the move doesn’t inflict direct damage on her opponent, it sets Amaterasu up to deal out some pain. The move basically allows you to change the weapon she uses for her regular attacks; you’ll be able to cycle among three of them, each of which has unique properties. The reflector, a large shieldlike dish, is the default weapon that you’ve seen on Amaterasu in the artwork for the game and deals solid damage for close-range attacks. The glaive, a massive sword, is a powerful weapon that is good for close and midrange attacks. Finally the rosary, a whiplike collection of beads, is perfect for mid- and long-range attacks that make it difficult for opponents to get in close. Amaterasu’s moves were rounded out by powerful supers that look like great combo finishers. The omani shuffle, performed by two quarter-circle motions away from her opponent and two attack buttons, slams her foe with elemental attacks that hit the whole screen, which make it very hard to block. The vale of mist, performed by two quarter-circle motions away from her opponent and two attack buttons, summons gusts of wind to bat around her opponent. Finally, while we didn’t get the name, we were able to look at what appears to be Amaterasu’s level-three super, a massive screen-filling solar flare that doles out massive damage. Overall, we have to say it was pretty fantastic to play as Amaterasu. She’s fast, has a great array of moves that combo well together, and seems to be very well balanced.

The next character we tried was Viewtiful Joe, the iconic star of Capcom’s stylish GameCube games. Anyone who’s played Tatsunoko vs. Capcom on the Wii should have an idea of what to expect from Joe in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as many of his moves are similar. The voomerang, performed by a quarter-circle motion towards your opponent with an attack button, fires off one of Joe’s patented V-shaped boomerangs at an opponent. You can hold off throwing it after performing the motion to charge it up for some extra damage. Shocking pink, performed by a quarter-circle back motion and an attack button, tosses out a timed bomb you or your opponent can kick around before detonation. The red hot kick, performed by a quarter-circle motion away from your opponent and an attack button while in the air, is a flying kick at an opponent. The groovy uppercut, performed by a dragon punch toward your opponent and an attack button, is an uppercut that you can chain together at least twice. As with most of his special moves, Joe’s supers borrow a bit from his Tatsunoko move set. Desperado, performed by two quarter-circle motions toward your opponent and two attack buttons, busts out a massive gun Joe uses to blast his opponents in the face.

Joe’s second super is a unique new addition to Joe’s arsenal that’s the perfect finisher for a combo and--let's just say--some very awkward moments. The Viewtiful god hand, performed by two quarter-circle motions away from your opponent and two attack buttons, doles out damage via the laying on of hands and Joe’s channeling of power through them. While this all sounds well and good, the way it plays out is a little unseemly due to Joe’s height. Unfortunately, because Joe is a pretty short dude, the super winds up looking like the pint-sized hero is grabbing everyone’s junk, which, taken out of context, looks a bit unseemly. That said, Joe is a solid enough character on the roster with decent speed, special moves, and supers. Our only issue with him, as with his appearance in Tatsunoko, is that he’s best suited for close-quarters and midrange combat; anything further out is problematic at best.

Next up is Thor, Marvel’s Asgardian god of thunder and the only man who could pull off the ensemble of a big red cape, long blond hair, and steel cap with wings on it without looking like a total nut job. Given Thor’s godly lineage, it’s not too surprising to see that he doles out an incredible amount of damage. The mighty spark, performed by a quarter-circle motion toward your opponent and hitting an attack button, fires a blast of lightning from Thor’s enchanted hammer. The timing of the blast can be staggered based on the button you use to initiate it. The mighty smash, performed with a dragon punch toward your opponent and an attack button, slams your opponent with Thor’s trusty hammer. The mighty strike, performed with a dragon punch away from your opponent and an attack button, uses the hammer to come at your opponent from a different direction. The mighty hurricane, performed by a half-circle back motion and an attack button, uses the hammer to summon wind that Thor will use to knock his foe around. Thor’s supers offer superpowered variations on his core special moves that are designed to dole out massive pain to opponents. The mighty tornado, performed by two quarter-circle motions toward your opponent and two attack buttons, generates a massive, screen-filling tornado that’s charged with electricity. The mighty thunder, performed by two dragon punch motions toward your opponent and hitting two attack buttons, knocks around your enemy with brute force and electricity.

Thor’s powerful array of moves, which allow him to engage foes at close, mid- and long-range, and raw power certainly set him up to be one of the powerhouses in the game. We’re curious to see what the team ends up doing with him in terms of balance. Right now, he’s incredibly powerful with his basic attacks doling out high amounts of damage. That said, he’s very fun to play as and pretty easy for players of any skill level to pick up.

Last but not least in the roster of playable characters is Dormammu, nemesis to Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and one of the more eccentric additions to the roster. The powerful mystic offers a quirky array of moves that, at the moment, put him in the same odd space as Blackheart in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to spend as much time with him as we would have liked yet, so we can only toss out our initial impressions that his quirky move set of teleportation, portal summoning, and standard spellcasting mixed in with the obvious standard attacks make him one of the more challenging characters to play effectively right now. We see his potential, but we haven’t had the time to learn him well enough to feel confident that’s he's going to be a power player on the roster.

Outside the inclusion of the new playable characters to the roster, we got the chance to pick what is ostensibly meant to be alternate colors for the fighters. However, once we started picking alternate colors for fighters, we noticed Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is doing a bit more than change up color palettes. Just based on what we saw when playing, the alternate colors offer unique options, such as legacy Iron Man armor, an X-Force costume for Wolverine, a new outfit for Deadpool, and--from the sound of it--more. We also got a look at the Asgard stage, which is overflowing with rainbows and Nordic ships. Finally, we were able to get a look at a new screen that appears at the end of a match that sums up your win and showcases your teammates in comic panel style.

The last bit we checked out was the new simple mode option in the game. As with previous Capcom fighters, the mode is designed for novice players to mix it up like pros. Attacks have been simplified and assigned to one button that will cycle through attack strength as you keep hitting the button. Along the same lines, your special moves are assigned to one button and can be performed by hitting a direction on the D pad and pushing up or down to trigger them. The same holds true for super attacks, as you’ll be able to get them off with the touch of a button. While all of this sounds easy, there are some trade-offs tied to the simplification of the game’s control, such as the inability to perform level-three supers that limit their effectiveness for longtime players.

It shouldn’t come as a huge shock that we’re still very excited for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The game continues to show well and feature some interesting additions to its roster, aside from the four playable characters in the TGS version. The announcement of Tron Bonne and X-23’s inclusion to the roster ensures that the game is balancing fan demands with fresh content. The more we see of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the more it appears that the game is on track to hit the almost impossibly high fan expectations. Look for more on Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in the days to come as we’ll be meeting with Niitsuma-san at TGS.

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