We recently received a brand new preview version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3--the long-awaited third game in the fighting game series that pits Capcom all-stars against some of Marvel's finest. The new preview build doesn't include Marvel's Phoenix and Capcom's Mike Haggar, both of which were just announced today, but it does include several other previously announced characters that were not playable until now. Needless to say, we've spent quite a bit of time with the lineup, which includes a mix of brand new characters, as well as some old favorites.
An absolute fiend with projectiles, Arthur is a fierce contender who isn't afraid to mix it up in melee as well. With a half-dozen different ranged attacks, most of which come in successions of two or three, he can easily break through single-projectile characters, such as Ryu. His small stature also makes him tricky to rush down at times because some attacks will simply sail over his head. Arthur is not very nimble, however, and his lack of a dash and floaty double jump make escaping from a tight situation challenging if caught unprepared. In melee, the wide reach of his sword strikes and numerous low-hitting attacks can force your opponent back into projectile range. If you're in need of a boost, Arthur's golden armor super affords him roughly 20 seconds of enhanced projectile attacks and will even stay with him to boost his assist attacks if he switches out.
Crimson Viper's highly technical gameplay translates well into the fast and frenetic world of MvC3. Unlike the other Street Fighter contenders we've seen, she brings in the special systems at play in Street Fighter IV. Her focus attack can absorb a number of hits and crumples foes just like before, while EX versions of her special attacks can be excited at the cost of one bar of special meter. C. Viper is a deadly fast character and easy to combo with, even if you're just mashing buttons. When you pair that with her quick and deadly burning kick, she makes an excellent character for both newcomers and veterans alike--even with such low stamina.
If you were a fan of the Master of Magnetism's previous incarnations in the series, then you'll be happy to know that little has changed. His disruptor projectile is still great for keeping opponents at a distance. Likewise, his returning gravitation attack--which grabs enemies, stuns them, and brings them closer to Magneto--is great for setting up a ground combo that you can eventually continue in the air with his launcher. The same goes for Magneto's throw, which momentarily stuns opponents in a similar way, allowing you to capitalize as long as you dash over. Magneto's level one supers--magnetic tempest and shockwave--are the same as in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, while his level three super grabs opponents and crushes them in magnetically dramatic fashion. Overall, he's a bit slower than most of the other characters on the roster, but in the hands of the right player, his attacks are pretty devastating.
The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing is an oddball character who has an excellent keep-away game and ensures your opponent has the least amount of fun possible. At the heart of MODOK are his analyze cubes, which damage the opponent and give him a charge on contact. These charges can be used to power up his attacks, most interesting of which is the jamming bomb that seeks out your opponents and alters their controls. Light on combo potential, MODOK relies heavily on filling the battlefield with a veritable minefield of projectiles to keep opponents at bay. His shield will protect him from anything less than a super, and staying familiar with your location relative to it is vital when opponents are trying to get behind you. However, locking down foes between you and the shield (which they cannot pass though) can lead to some big damage or an easy throw.
The unfortunately redesigned bionic commando, Nathan "Rad" Spencer is a deadly grapple artist from any range. He is a bit slower than most, and he doesn't get as much air on a jump, but he makes up for this with his trusty bionic arm--which allows him to swing across the top of the screen or reel himself to the side or bottom. Spencer can also grab hold of opponents from virtually anywhere on the screen and follow up in one of four ways: performing a quick hit, lunging so as to send them bouncing off the wall (great combo potential), pulling them up to Spencer, or pulling Spencer up to them. If Spencer is being hammered in melee, his armor piercer (a powerful direct melee attack) comes out fast and can interrupt an overaggressive foe. His Achilles' heel, however, lies in the smaller characters whose tiny hit boxes make them tricky to grab.
The Hulk's female counterpart is quite a bit different from most other characters on the roster because she not only lacks distinct projectile attacks but her move set is also largely based on wrestling--think R. Mika from the Street Fighter Alpha series or El Fuerte from Street Fighter IV. As such, she's been equipped with a dash move that you can either execute by itself (which puts her into a track run position) or by holding right (or left, depending on orientation) on the controller after performing one of her special attacks. This lets her stay within close proximity to use her somersault kick, clothesline, or an assortment of combos. She-Hulk also has a heavy strike move where she lunges and cracks an opponent's head on her knee, instantly dizzying him or her. If it connects, this opens up a number of other options for her.
Spidey hasn't changed that much since Marvel vs. Capcom 2. He's still one of the quickest characters in the game and has a nice mix of projectiles to deal with an assortment of attacks in the form of the webthrow. His web-ball still momentarily encases foes in a mound of webbing, creating time to launch a combo on a defenseless opponent. His webswing is also useful for closing the gap on foes, more so after a super jump than off the ground. His maximum spider super is great for catching opponents off guard in some situations, and his ground-based crawler assault super can be easily chained into other combos.
Storm is a tricky character who relies heavily on prediction and timing to keep her enemies in check. Both of her main ranged attacks--the whirlwind and typhoon--can take up to a full second or two, depending on strength, to fire off. To use them effectively, you'll have to be able to predict your foe's next move and, in many cases, use your assists to provide cover as you charge. Flight and an eight-way dash attack (somewhat similar to Hulk's gamma charge) give her the mobility you'll need to get into position for your next assault. And because most of Storm's normal attacks produce some miniature force of nature, she is able to effectively control a lot of space.
Another returning character, Tron Bonne might seem a bit unorthodox at first, but she has a number of useful attacks at her disposal. Of course, she also makes extensive use of her servbot companions, both in her supers, as well as her beacon bomb attack. If this attack connects, two servbots will temporarily hold an opponent in place. Her little helpers also come into play in her servbot launcher attack, which can be used as an antiair skill, but it won't do much as a primary projectile. Tron's best projectile attack is her rock throw where she can pick up boulders from the ground and throw them in rapid succession, but she can also hold before releasing. She also has a pretty useful dashing punch attack and a command throw that picks enemies up and then drags them across the ground in a circle.
Fighting a good Wesker player can be an absolutely soul-crushing experience. With good stamina, strong normals, and a heavy focus on mind games and counterattacks, Wesker excels at crushing unsuspecting players. His forward plus heavy attack draws his quick-hitting sidearm, which he can then follow up with a teleport hit and combo. His various counterattack moves, including a counter super, allow him to punish any type of assault, such as projectiles. And his other super, phantom dance, can connect quickly from anywhere on the screen and makes for a great follow-up to a chain of supers. Quick and fierce, Wesker is an unrelenting beast who can easily turn the tide on any assault in the right hands.
Because she brandishes the same adamantium claws, you might think X-23 is a Wolverine clone, but she kind of isn't. In fact, we might go so far as to say that her move set (aside from her supers) has created a more deliberate, less-spastic version of Wolverine. She has quite a few dashing attacks that can hit low or high, as well as one aerial dash move. Additionally, X-23 has a skill that lets her jump immediately behind an opponent, creating opportunities for some cross-up combos. She also has a really nice command throw that she can execute from a distance, which has her leaping backward before launching toward her opponent's shoulders to perform the throw.
The hero from the Mega Man universe is incredibly fun to use. His standard plasma sword attack is easy to combo, particularly when it's topped off with his dragon-punch-like special move. Zero also has two useful projectile attacks. One involves his sword and can come out at three different speeds, depending on the button used, but he also has a buster shot that he can charge and hold while using other attacks. His aerial dash attack is quite fast and can easily catch opponents off guard as well. Because Zero's standard attacks can be so powerful, it's not surprising that one of his supers (sougenmu) casts a shadow version of the character, allowing for twice the number of hits.
That does it for our look at the recently added playable characters. Be sure to stay tuned to GameSpot as we'll have a much more on Marvel vs. Capcom 3, including an upcoming tournament.