Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Updated Impressions

We flick through the comic book pages and unleash two of the latest brawlers added to the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 roster.

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Fans have been clamouring for it, and Capcom is almost ready to stop teasing and hand over the keys to the hugely anticipated team brawler Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Well over a decade has passed since MVC3's predecessor crawled out of dingy arcades and swapped skin and spandex on the original Xbox, Dreamcast, and PlayStation 2 home consoles. Halfway through 2009, Capcom threw fans a bone and rereleased downloadable versions of MVC2 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, complete with competitive online multiplayer support. But while updating an old friend brought rapturous applause from the crowd, it only temporarily sated the strong desire for a true next-generation sequel to the franchise.

Recently Capcom unveiled two more of the names featured in MVC3's 30-odd-character lineup, revealing that hulking Metro City mayor Mike Haggar will be strapping on his suspenders and kicking his way into the fray. The meaty fists of America's greatest political figure were paired with a more feminine touch in Marvel's svelte hero, Phoenix. Like their differing physiques, the two bring with them completely polar approaches to combat. While Haggar relies on the lumbering beatdown that comes with heavy melee thwacking, Phoenix needs to call on the protective forces of ranged attacks, teleportation, and fiery barriers to defend her incredibly fragile frame.

We got our hands on an updated build of the game ahead of its impending February launch to take these two newest pugilists for a spin and see how each performs as part of a team. For anyone unfamiliar with the series, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 takes characters from both of its namesake universes and lets you create your own super-squad, pairing up known chums and less friendly combatant combinations and then pitting them against three other characters in a (kind of) one-on-one battle. Before you dismiss it as simply being Street Fighter with more faces to choose from, it's worth pointing out that while the action is much more frenetic than a single mano-a-mano battle--since you can call for assistance from your shelved characters whenever they're available--there's a healthy degree of micromanagement vying for your attention.

Character health is split into two types with each damaging blow dealt to you reducing your bar but leaving a red high-water mark. Swapping your warrior to the bench lets your warrior regenerate up to this marker over time if rested. While it's old hat for series veterans, it's worth explaining because of one of Phoenix's unique abilities. A backwards quarter circle accompanied by two attack button presses performs a super move that engages a healing aura and restores her own health bar to the recoverable portion instantly. While she can still take damage while in the healing mode, it gives you two bites at the proverbial health cherry. From our time with the game, the aura didn't appear to restore her bar to full health, but it did continue to recharge it at a faster rate even when she was tagged out of the scrimmage. Phoenix is quite weak comparatively, meaning that taking even a small number of hits can spell her demise. You'll definitely want to play keep-away against opponents who can string together multipart combos or against characters like Hulk and Haggar who deal large amounts of damage.

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

She's not a one-trick pony though, and in the hands of a skilled player--or by unleashing her Dark Phoenix variant by performing a level-five hyper combo--she becomes significantly stronger and able to pummel her foes with furious fiery vengeance. Dark Phoenix comes at a cost, however, and once transformed, she loses health at a slow but steady rate even when not being hit. Healing aura is still available to prolong the inevitable, and she didn't appear to lose health while stabled, but consider the move a last-ditch effort rather than an opening attack. Her bread-and-butter attacks include a quarter circle fireball able to seek out enemies, a burning Phoenix logo ground fire trap, hovering flame walls that deal damage, and both air and ground dashes. Ditching offence for defence, she uncorks a screen-filling burning bird super attack that deals 10 hits and provides breathing space by pushing your opponent to the opposite side of the environment. Light jabs in Dark Phoenix mode come with juggle-able single energy shots, while three- and five-way shots are available with medium and heavy attacks and help protect you from those who like to jump in on you.

Haggar plays a very different game and doesn't just aim for the jugular; he tears it out with his teeth if he can get close enough. Unlike Phoenix, he doesn't feature any ranged attacks, so you will need to be able to close the gap and get within striking distance to pulp some faces. Once there, he features two launchers: the dedicated launcher button and a second that scoops the body of your opponent into the ether enough to begin an air combo. His trademark Final Fight sidekick is in play here in all its brutality and stops just short of knocking the flesh off your opponent's face. A heavy attack adds a steel pipe to the mix and rains down a mighty noggin floggin' for anyone unfortunate enough to be standing in the way.

Haggar isn't a bad guy; he just really wants an embrace.

Haggar loves a hug, and while his moveset is reminiscent of Zangief's in Street Fighter games, grabs are simple backwards quarter circle moves rather than full arcade stick loops. His penchant for pile-driving is represented in spades, and one of his super moves sees him roughly grabbing the opponent and snapping him into a painful-looking back-breaker before throwing his limp body into the air, zooming upwards, latching on, and then feeding him a mouthful of crotch as he comes crashing to the ground. Multiple camera angles of the impact prolong the pain.

With less than a month left to go before the game hits shelves, we're eager to see if still more names join the already bulging roster. Regardless, we had a blast forming teams and putting their strengths and weaknesses to the test to see who made the cut. Keep an eye out for our full review soon.

Discussion

43 comments
rigzzsy
rigzzsy

some people.. i'm not too sure about this one, 2 was a bit of a let-down compared to MvC, will have to wait and see

KingChainz31684
KingChainz31684

For all the people worried about spammers I think they are going to be at a massive disadvantage this time around. It looks like they did a lot to make it so people who are skilled wipe the floor with people who sit back launching blasts over and over again with more teles more homing moves and more ways to close distances in an instance also gaining levels. Watching people in the tournie it is showing that the people who are more skilled are going to win.

KingChainz31684
KingChainz31684

its been a while since i have played streets of rage kinda funny to watch hagger use all the same moves I remember from Streets of Rage 2 now that was a great game.

eliebaz
eliebaz

okay i think im going to break up with my girlfriend so i save my money on her gift so i can get this game :P

NerdHerdman009
NerdHerdman009

Mark your calenders folks. here I am thinking it was out in March but February 15 holy crap, I need to pre-order or something.

sooty1987
sooty1987

i grew out of fighting games a long time ago

YamiDawn
YamiDawn

Hsien-ko and Sentinel were just revealed as the "last" two on the roster. Hsien-ko is alright, but being a Darkstalkers fan, I wish they threw John Talbain into the mix instead. And he's arguably the most wanted character, at least in America. Figures I couldn't get everything I wanted, since my main will most likely be Ammy. Guess Okami was a big enough success to be pitched into Capcom's roster (Thank God. Maybe it will attract some more attention into the upcoming Okami-den). Sentinel on the other hand, was a bit of a strange decision to me. He was known as one of the cheapest, if not THE cheapest spammable character in MvC2. Always hated arriving in the arcade to be beaten by Sentinel user, and it seems I'm going to have to step up my game this time around online. Wonder if Storm will keep her high-tiered godlyness once again, haha.

Tregster
Tregster

I'm predicting a 6.5 to 7.0 Gamespot review.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@king9999 Thats a shame for me. I guess I'll give it a miss as a purchase, and maybe rent it instead. No sense in buying a game that only lasts a week.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@henninger Lol thats a good point. I forgot its capcom we are talking about here. I think of smash bros brawl and all its unlockables and extras and i realise that mvc3 has the potential for that level of depth. But thats the difference between ninty and cappers. Ninty are givers, cappers are takers. Curse them.

Henninger
Henninger

@kavadias1981 LOL unlockables!?!?!?!?! R u serious!?!?!?!? The word unlockables has no meaning in gaming anymore. That word has turned in2 3 letters, DLC.

deezoTHEgreat
deezoTHEgreat

I hope they have a lot of alt. costumes and if they add characters through DLC I hope they do them in packs, not one character at a time for some stupid price.

shansss123
shansss123

want a pc version too street fighter 4 was awesome on pc

chicknfeet
chicknfeet moderator moderator

I guess most people here missed the words "Updated Impressions" in the title...not "Roster Updates" :|

jokerman_28
jokerman_28

i really want to play this right now

King9999
King9999

@kavadias1981: The main play mode is usually going to be versus, so I wouldn't expect much in the way of single-player modes. However, the game does have a Mission mode, where you have to perform specific tasks for each character. Based on the screenshots I've seen, it isn't anything like SF4 where you're given specific combos to perform. The missions are more flexible in that you can perform them anyway you want just as long as you meet the requirements.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@salvucci91 At this point he is either DLC or not in at all.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

saw this news a while ago but all good :D:D

soulless4now
soulless4now

@sora_heart: That would be silly since I don't like the first party titles it has. :P

Da4biddenOne
Da4biddenOne

I know how to turn The Phoenix into Dark Phoenix.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

lol why do people still use the term next gen, its been 5 years. Anyway Jean sort of reminds me Dhalsim, or at in the very least she uses some of his tactics like the aerial teleport into a downward strike, projectile with a teleport behind the opponent; which is harder to stop because it follows you. And I wonder if she takes chip damage with that recovery field up.

thompson20
thompson20

@earlmccormick88 The one in TvC was Mega Man Volnutt, also there's going to be a Mega Man soon.

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

@Sam-os_IMP I know huh. My little neice like Yaaaaaaaayyyy... I'm like how could I be doing all this with a mouse?

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

Please show us Megaman for Christ Sakes! Im so hoping its the same one from Tatsonoku vs Capcom

Sam-os_IMP
Sam-os_IMP

Sounds like an arcade in here. with this video playing.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

We've heard a lot about the characters and fighting but I would like to know if there is any single player depth to the game. My friends aren't interested in playing this game and if I go online the purists will destroy me. So basically, it'll just be me vs the cpu. Is there some sort of character development system? Storylines for each character? Tons of unlockables? I sure hope so because I'm very concerned that it'll just sit and gather dust like my copies of SSF4 and Tat.vs Cap did after a week of playing them.

thecrow999
thecrow999

hagger likes to huge that's funny

nooblet69
nooblet69

Can't wait me and my friends are gonna play this game to death !

Yuelua
Yuelua

It seems to be very appealing when concerns combos. I saw a video with an air combo done three times in a row with no chance of reaction. Not to mention the Ultra specials that can be connected. Even so, I am looking forward to play this game.

Da4biddenOne
Da4biddenOne

Come on with the Marvel vs Capcom 3 launch center already.

sora_heart
sora_heart

@soulless4now: that or you could give into gettng a 360 ^_^

Pete5506
Pete5506

Can't wait to get my hands on this game

Taasi23
Taasi23

Awesome impressions. Very svelte. Man alive, I can't wait for this game!

RockMan-NEO
RockMan-NEO

oh sweet the moves will be easier to do for haggar :)

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Not much of a one for fighting games these days but tempted to give this a go :D