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The fighting game scene has seen a massive reassurgance in the last two years and a large (if not all) contributor to this would be Capcom and their ability to distill what made the 2-D fighting game so great into a current generation title. Super Street Fighter 4 saw not only critical acclaim but the sales to back the title up as one of the best console games of the year for 2010. With this momentum, the house that Megaman built went in for the sales equivalent of a killing blow by reviving the much beloved mash-up franchise Marvel vs Capcom with it's third iteration. Capcom has projected the game to sell over two million units and has widely been loved by critics. All is well, correct?

"Well… Deadpool thinks so."

Well… Not really.

While the everyman has swayed and swooned over MvC3's flashing lights, pretty colors and massive damage combos, the fighting game community has had a minor civil war over what the game means to their tournament scene and if the title is as good as they WANT to believe it is. Underneath the crunchy candy coating, MvC is an unbalanced, slightly shallow mess that misses the mark on so many things that were done so very well with it's older brother in Super Street Fighter Four.

Do I hate MvC? Far from it. I have had fun with the game and accepted the fighter for what it truly is. The best comparison I could ask you to keep in mind is comparing the crossover title to a summer blockbuster film: very hyped, easily accessible by design, and a lot of fun in groups and while it lasts. Much like the summer blockbuster, MvC won't change your life, open your eyes, or reinvent the wheel. It merely gives the people what they want: an easily accessible fighter that does exactly what the Call of Duty franchise managed to do with Modern Warefare—open up the genre and community to the masses like an Ellis Island of the videogame realm.

My issues with MvC do not stem from the popularity. Any qualms I have with the game come from game play and mechanics that make the game feel wildly unbalanced. Some would say that the fun in the series is that the game does come off as unbalanced, which I would agree is some of the charm behind Marvel vs Capcom 2, but in the case of that game's sequel I feel Capcom took the concept too far.

"Can't figure out what is going on? Join the crowd."

Some of the fighting scene's serious contenders first complained about the game's lack of focus on large string combos in order to deal damage. Fact of the matter is that every character has a short string combo that not only does massive damage but can often be strung together by the same combo (Zero is a good example of this). Another fault on my mind is the complete lack of defensive options. Sure, advancing guard is in place, but like a game of NFL Blitz, the player might as well throw any ideas of trying to play defensively out the window.

My biggest fault with the game is split into two parts: a technical fault and a design choice fault. Technically, this game leaves me craving the strategy and thought processes that Super Street Fighter 4 does so very well. With it's symphony of normal attacks, precise combo strings, and back and forth mind games, Street Fighter manages to be what is in my mind the most balanced and strategic fighter in existence.

Design wise, I feel like Capcom dropped the ball with not only character selection but gameplay modes. Most will say that with online mode a lack of offline modes doesn't particularly matter. I would disagree wholeheartedly, as modes like time trial, survival, and a real story mode add game longevity. The biggest kick in the pants was the shortcomings of the story mode, with the only fun, goofy cannon coming in the form of a few still frame pictures after you whomp Galactus on the head. For shame, Capcom. For shame.


I would like to say again that I don't fault MvC for any complaints I have about the game. The fact of the matter is that I wanted the game to be Street Fighter 4, and it simply isn't. I sincerely hope that the upcoming Street Fighter x Tekken provides that technical game play combined with a tag-team element.

Maybe like a comic book fan hoping for the best out of his favorite character being turned into a summer film extravaganza I came out of the theater pissing and moaning about the minutia of the film and missing the point that it was still my favorite character on the screen. I'll certainly watch the film again and talk about it with others, but, it simply wasn't the thought provoking, life changing Oscar award winning film that Super Street Fighter 4 will always be.

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