Marvel vs Capcom 3 Hands-On Preview

Arthur in MvC3

It’s no secret that I am a Marvel vs Capcom 3 fanatic. I’m always on message boards and game sites hunting for the latest information, whether it’s an interview, a news piece, or even a major announcement. Rarely do I get to actually be in the midst of Capcom and the fans when something big goes down, but this year’s New York Comic Con would be a perfect opportunity to get my grubby mitts on the game again, and that’s exactly what I did.

I went into the weekend thinking I’d have a tactical advantage, seeing as how I played the game back at E3 and wrote a preview on it (read it!). Boy, was I wrong. A lot has changed, all of it for the better, but a lot of it required adjusting to the control scheme before I could hit my stride.

Let me preface this: I’m terrible with a fight stick. I just recently obtained the first one I’ve ever owned, and it’s taking some getting used to. That said, Capcom’s stick configuration for this build was confusing as hell. If you’re used to the Super Street Fighter IV idea of having three attack on top and three on bottom, get that out of your head right now.


Here’s the setup: top row, from left, was light attack, medium attack, and heavy attack. No problems there. Bottom row, from left, was launcher, partner 1, and partner 2. The new launcher button I’m perfectly fine with; you have no idea how many times I’ve tried to launch in Tatsunoko vs Capcom only to sweep or do a special move. The partner buttons, though, were the biggest hurdle to climb. Pressing the partner button brings them in to assist, I got that, but in order to switch, you have to hold down the same button. Press for quick assist, hold for switch; that got confusing in a hurry. I kept trying to switch only to have my guy jump out and attack.

The controls as a whole were a bit awkward (and if they were the same at E3, I don’t remember it), but I attribute it to being too used to the SSFIV method of things. Once I got a handle on things, I started doing much better. I felt a lot more comfortable performing combos on the top row than I expected, and the designated launcher button is a godsend. Having said that, I hope Capcom allows for customization, because I think I would make the rightmost buttons my partners and place the four attacks in a plus-sign like the basic controller would have them (weak left, medium up, heavy right, launcher down).

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(Can you hear that? Amazing!)

Graphically, the game is as bright and beautiful as ever. Big flashy moves stirred many oohs and aahs from the masses gathered around the Capcom booth. Level 3 ultra moves drew the biggest reactions, specifically Doctor Doom’s glass cage and Deadpool’s health bar tomfoolery. There’s nothing like watching Ryu prepare a Shinkuu Hadoken (super fireball, for those unaware), then see Iron Man and Dormammu jump in and join him for a massive combo.

The biggest disappointment of the demo for me was the character selection. This was the Tokyo Game Show build, featuring a healthy assortment of 18 characters but missing the four that were announced in Japan (Tron Bonne, X-23, Spider-Man, Wesker). Also, Capcom announced four more characters at the show (Spencer, Arthur, Magneto, M.O.D.O.K) that were also absent (though understandably so). As cool as the 18 selectable were, my heart ached to play Wesker and Tron.

I played a few matches throughout the weekend in New York, amassing a record of 3-1. Of course, the one loss was the most important match I fought, as it was at the game’s panel on Friday night. Simply put, I got lit up. Bad. See for yourself at the 5:20 mark (I’m on the left).

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(A special thanks to the boys at Shoryuken for recording my misery.)

That was awful, right? So much so, that for the rest of the convention, when Ryota Niitsuma (executive producer of MvC3) saw me, he pointed and laughed. You’d think that’d be embarrassing, but I was honored to have put a smile on Niitsuma-san’s face. TQ Jefferson, the head of Marvel’s game division and the one who chose me to represent Marvel in that match, just kind of shook his head. It was a sick experience, and I’d go to the next East Coast panel in a heartbeat, just to be amongest the fighting game crowd during a reveal.

Of course, there were other matches, like the Battle of the Nodes:

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Though the controls were confusing, don’t get me wrong: the game was amazing. For a fighting game fan like myself, I couldn’t be happier with the way the game is progressing. I can only imagine how amped I’ll be by the time the game comes out.

Spring 2011 CANNOT come soon enough.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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