Tag Archive: magneto

Join the Merry Marvel Marching Society

When LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was first announced, some of us less-open-minded comic-book aficionados had some questions about the idea of Warner Bros. (who owns rival DC) publishing a Marvel product of any kind. Luckily, it seems that developer TT Games has just as many mighty Marvelites on their staff as they do dedicated DCers (just don’t tell the bigwigs upstairs!).

Similar to the LEGO Batman games, TT started by making a LEGO-ized version of New York City, giving fans of the comic-book giant an open world comparable to DC’s Gotham. Sure, they’ve taken some liberties—the X-Mansion’s been moved to the North End and out of Westchester County, for example—but these changes were necessary to make everything fit logically into what’s a truly massive hub made of LEGO bricks. With well over 100 heroes and villains coming together in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, however, there needs to be a universal threat that ties this hub and these heroes together.

Fortunately, Marvel has exactly that in the form of the world-consuming Galactus. And he hungers for Earth. Again. Only a select few know of his approach, though, and some of Marvel’s most nefarious nemeses like Magneto, Loki, and Dr. Doom look to turn this global threat to their advantage. Marvel’s best and brightest heroes will now try to work together to thwart the master plan of these villains, as well as turn Galactus away.

If you’ve played any of the LEGO titles before—whether they were based directly on a movie or more loosely inspired by a property like this one—then you have an idea of what to expect. For this particular game, the action’s broken into 15 levels across many familiar Marvel Universe locales. As you make progress, you unlock gold bricks for performing certain actions, such as saving Stan Lee (who always finds himself in a perilous situation!) or collecting a certain amount of studs (the LEGO version of coins). As you unlock more bricks and play more of the game, you’ll add more heroes and villains to an ever-expanding cast of characters—who can then, in turn, be used to unlock more bricks. And the cycle continues until you 100-percent the game.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes features more activities than previous entries when it comes to acquiring bricks, giving the game solid variety and replayability. Some gold bricks require puzzle-solving and swapping of powers, but the game also includes plenty of fetch quests that are rather dull and populate much of the hub world. Escorting mini-figs slowly on foot from one side of the map to the other is not my definition of fun and could grate on completionists.

Speaking of swapping powers, your mini-figures can now wield more abilities than ever before. And not just the super-strength you’d expect from characters like the Hulk or the Thing—you can fire laser blasts with Cyclops, activate Magneto’s mastery of magnetism to move all things made of metal, or use Jean Grey’s telekinesis to move just about everything else in the world around. Mind you, wielding Magneto and Jean Grey’s power classes can take some getting used to, since they’re not as accurate as, say, a blast of flame from the hands of the Human Torch.

Since many characters can flylike Thor and Iron Mangetting around the hub world has also never been easier. The game even includes vehicles (some of which even having character themes, like the Green Goblin’s helicopterthough he really doesn’t need one, since he has his glider, right?) for characters that move around mostly on foot, such as Black Widow or Hawkeye.

So, some of the gameplay has changed to go along with the new IP, but one element remains mostly the same: the writing. TT Games usually does a tremendous job of finding ways to sprinkle in humor that freshens up the experience for older players, but they also inject plenty of slapstick and childish antics to ensure appeal to younger audiences. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is no exception, and its charm should warm the hearts of even the most jaded of comic-book fans.

Unfortunately, the technical problems that have plagued the LEGO series also return here. The camera remains a problem, especially in the hub world, and it’ll often lead to some unnecessary deaths. The rotating split-screen in co-op is also a distraction and detracts from the co-op experience, since two characters can’t just run off—they need to stay close to each other at all times. In future entries, TT Games either needs to make two static, horizontal split-screens or keep me and my buddy stuck within the same window. I started getting sick from the rotating line that appears when one player decides to run north and the other south.

While on the subject of co-op, the other big problem is that we still don’t have online 4-player co-op. The game includes many instances with four heroes in a group in the story, and I had to needlessly rotate through them all to try to progress. Even at my age, I can imagine having a good time with friends or my younger cousins on the other side of the country if we could do this online. And why limit the 4-player fun to the story? The hub world is easily massive enough to fit four mini-fig heroes in it.

Besides the legacy technical shortcomings, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is immensely enjoyable. It has enough side content, including bonus missions and challenges, that should keep gamers of all ages entertained for hours. But even if you’re just in it for the story, you should walk away happy. If you love LEGO, Marvel comics, or both, this game won’t disappoint.

Developer: TT Games • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment • ESRB: E10+ • Release Date: 10.22.2013
Some technical shortcomings aside, this is a tremendously fun experience that will appeal to LEGO and comic book fans young and old alike.
The Good Same humor and charm we’ve come to expect from all the LEGO games.
The Bad Same camera and technical glitches we’ve come to expect from all the LEGO games.
The Ugly Same wonton destruction of property we’ve come to expect from all the LEGO games.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, 3DS, DS, PS Vita, and will be a launch title for PS4 and Xbox One. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.

Clash of the Classics

When I was just a boy, my friends and I would argue for hours on end on the playground about what superheroes would win in an imaginary fight when pitted against each other in all different kinds of wacky combinations. We didn’t just mix up teams from a particular universe, but came up with all kinds of scenarios that put our favorites against all manner of pop culture heroes and heroines. So, when games like Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs Capcom breathed even more life into these conversations, you can easily imagine why we were hooked.

Flash-forward nearly two decades, and these games have led to the production of one of the most successful and beloved fighting game franchises there is. Because of this, Capcom wanted to make sure that not only us older games didn’t forget our roots, but also show a new generation the foundations of what set us on our hypercombo-ing path.

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is no ordinary old-school compilation, though. Included with these two original games—which have also had some HD graphic upgrades—are 8-player online lobbies with spectator modes, replay saving, dynamic challenges that unlock levels, and points you can spend on unlockables like characters that were hidden in the originals, end movies, or concept art.

The best part of the dynamic challenges and unlocks, though, may be that they give both games an unprecedented amount of replayability. Plus, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you will absolutely geek out over the sketches and stills of your favorites heroes and villains, as well as the chance to easily unlock the hidden characters that we originally had to input an impossibly long code for—Dr. Doom and Thanos in Marvel Super Heroes and Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom, Orange Hulk, and Shadow Lady in MvC.

Another nice aspect of the game is that everything that made these fighters unique in the first place is still there so you can relive the experience as if it were 1995 again and you were feeding quarters into an arcade cabinet under pink neon lights. The gem system of Marvel Super Heroes (inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet story from Marvel comics) still allows you to enhance your players temporarily with the powers of Space, Power, Time, Soul, Reality, or Mind, and MvC still gives you dozens of assist characters and the Duo Team Attack where you and your partner can combine your hyper combos into one truly devastating maneuver.

Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, the games are a little too demanding at times, as players who are used to modern fighters will quickly see the age on these classics. Sometimes a little clunky and even a bit frustrating, both these games—but especially Marvel Super Heroes—can feel stiff, and the smooth combo chains you may be used to from Marvel vs Capcom 3 are much harder to string together and pull off in these titles. It’s not that you won’t be able to get the hang of these characters eventually and have fun in the process, but if you play modern fighters like MvC 3 religiously and then expect to be able to jump right into these games, you might be caught a bit off-guard by the stark differences.

When all is said and done, Marvel vs Capcom Origins hits enough of the right nostalgic notes to make it a more than worthwhile purchase for long time fans. I mean, the game even offers zoomed out, angled camera camera views designed to replicate the experience of playing on an old wooden cabinet. Younger fans might be a little frustrated with the less than silky smooth controls, but they should still play in order to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with fighting games. They’ll even likely start creating fun memories of their own once they adjust to the outdate feel. All in all, Origins is a fine compilation that’s more than worthy of a download.

SUMMARY: Marvel vs Capcom Origins does a fine job of staying true to the originals, while the addition of dynamic challenges provide a new layer of addictiveness that helps to overshadow how much these games have aged in the past two decades.

  • THE GOOD: New leveling up and variety of unlocks compliment classic game play well.
  • THE BAD: Games show their age at times.
  • THE UGLY: Far and away, it’s Shuma-Gorath.

SCORE: 9.0

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is available on XBLA (Xbox 360) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.

A new child of the atom

I think it’s every geek’s dream to develop superpowers in some way. And so like moths to flame we are drawn to games where we can not only play as our favorite heroes but can craft our own personal character in the universes we have come to enjoy through various forms of media. So as a diehard X-Men fan, I was particularly stoked about the release of ­­X-Men Destiny.

Based in the X-Men universe, this is an original story line inspired by, but having no direct tie-in to, the ongoing monthly comics from Marvel. You play as one of three new mutants attending a peace rally in San Francisco as the relationship between human and mutant grows more strained by the day. After an apparent attack on the crowd by Magneto causes panic to spread amongst the crowd, your powers manifest as you attempt to defend yourself. As you learn about your newfound abilities, you’ll uncover a conspiracy that will shake the mutant world to its very core, all the while you make and break alliances with both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

The anticipation I had for this game’s release was soon replaced by disappointment. The best way I could describe how X-Men Destiny was that it felt incomplete. The game is riddled with glitches, has an inconsistent checkpoint save system that sometimes places saves right on top of one another or places them at opposite ends of levels and makes you replay the whole thing over if you die, and the plot, quite simply, is just too damn short for a proper X-Men game, no matter how well written it may be. I beat the entire thing, on the hardest difficulty, in less than eight hours.

I was also displeased with the three character stories and power choices we were forced into. Instead of letting the player truly craft a character they could relate to, you are forced into one of three outlandish protagonists and follow their story as it unfolds. Since many action/adventure games actually do this, it’s not the concept that bothers me, its the fact that the game tries to sell itself as an RPG that gives you a lot of choice and this is simply not the case. And to make matters worse, the few choices you are given are so spread out throughout the game that you never reach your full potential until the very final level of the game. And again, this goes back to the length of the game. Just when you seem to start hitting your stride with whatever powers you were pigeonholed into, it ends.

Mind you, there are some positives to X-Men Destiny. The plot, written by X-Men: Legacy writer Mike Carey, is worthy of the X-Men universe and features cameos or the chance to fight alongside many of your favorite characters while taking on classic X-Men threats. Whether you choose to be good and trade quips with Iceman against the Purifiers or be bad and burn stuff to the ground with Pyro in a U-Men bunker, when the game has you working with your favorite characters on the missions, you actually feel, albeit briefly most of the time, like an X-Man.

The audio was also very good as the music helped set a mood worthy of an action game and the voice acting was superb. Nolan North, better known as Deadpool in most other X-Media, came on to do Cyclops and surprised me as the stoic and steadfast leader of the X-Men. Include other voice over royalty like Phil LaMarr as Gambit and Forge, Yuri Lowenthal as Nightcrawler, Jason Marsden as Iceman, Fred Tatasciore as Juggernaut, and Steve Blum returning to reprise Wolverine and the voice over work in this game is as good as any other cast of X-characters represented in animation or other games.

Still, as good as it felt to fight alongside some of my favorite comic book heroes in this game, there are just too many shortcomings to make X-Men Destiny as special as many of the characters it features. My recommendation is that the game is worth a rental, but is only worthy of purchase by the most diehard of X-Men fans who will play through it several times, despite the glitches, and try to collect the several dozen collectibles featured in the game.

SUMMARY: Short, glitch-riddled, and lacking the choices of a true RPG, X-Men Destiny falls short of the high expectations of most X-Men fans and should only be checked out by the most forgiving of souls.

  • THE GOOD: Fighting alongside many of your favorite heroes from the comics
  • THE BAD: A surprising lack of choice given to the player for an RPG
  • THE UGLY: A lack of polish shows up often considering how short the game is

SCORE: 6.0

X-Men Legacy #249 Review

Originally Published: May 25, 2011, on Comicvine.com

The X-Men continue to recuperate after the events of Age of X as Rogue and Magneto realize just how much they’ve been through together both in reality and fantasy. Meanwhile Legion continues to try to bring his thousands of personalities under control and Frenzy attempts to figure out how to let go of a dream that felt more natural than the reality she finds herself trying to sleepwalk through.

The Good

No matter how many times now we may revisit Magneto’s past in a concentration camp, it gives me chills each and every time. And when he shares those experiences with Rogue in order to teach her a lesson of how he was tainted by that universal evil, you appreciate the strength of the character more and more with every passing issue.

It was also very interesting to see how Frenzy is developing as a character and was a surprisingly compelling sub-plot to this issue. All the while Legion has an unexpected setback that can set up a plethora of future problems for the X-Men that has me holding my breath in anticipation.

The Bad

Although I think the two sub-plots of this issue were very well done, I think they took away from the power and impact of Magneto’s story. With the way this comic started out, I much would have preferred if the entire issue was dedicated to Rogue and Magneto and their relationship and could have waited on seeing Legion and Frenzy again until the next issue.

The Verdict

This looks to be the right time to start getting into X-Men Legacy if you haven’t been already as the aftermath of Age of X is starting to come to a close and you’ll have a good jumping off point to see just where Magneto, Rogue, Frenzy, and Legion are when the next big arc starts up.

Couple this with an always powerful Auschwitz story from Magento and great character development all around and I would highly recommend picking up this issue as we look forward to the future of the characters featured in these pages.

4.5/5 Stars

Uncanny X-Men #535 Review

Originally Published: April 13, 2011, on Comicvine.com

All seems well at the moment on Utopia until Cyclops gets a message from Abigail Brand, agent of SWORD, that a Breakworld armada flagship has appeared on the edges of the solar system. Considering their previous dealings with the people of Breakworld and that Colossus is technically their Powerlord still, she figured they would be best suited to see exactly what that ship is up to.

The Good

I could read Kieron Gillen written X-Men comics all day. The subtle humor inserted into each scene was a joy to read. Whether it was Namor and Colossus, Doctor Nemesis and Magneto, or Cyclops and Wolverine, the banter back and forth was a thing of beauty.

And since this is the first issue of a new arc, Gillen made sure to make it action heavy in the front in order to use the rest of the comic to build up the plot of why exactly there is a Breakworld ship heading for Earth. Not to mention it is nice to see the Abigail Brand and the Breakworlders come back after a decent length hiatus as this is shaping up to be a pretty interesting story centering on Colossus.

The Bad

Kitty Pryde is still intangible. We get it. Her and Colossus can’t hold each other. Fine. Either fix her already or put her back on the damn giant bullet. I’m tired of every issue of X-Men comics I read that isn’t taking place in an alternate universe having to devote 2-4 pages to “How do we fix Kitty?”

Also, I get that it is his catch phrase, but can we put a hold on the “Imperius Rex” stuff with Namor. It just comes off as cheesy for the king of the seas to have a catch phrase that doesn’t have any meaning. You want him to come off as regal and elite? Get rid of the catch phrase. The Thing and Wolverine have catch phrases. Namor doesn’t need one especially when it wastes several panels per comic usually where we get a close up of his smug face exclaiming it.

The Verdict

This is looking like the launching point for a great story arc revolving around Colossus and it is good to see the Breakworlders returning to the comics. The dialogue is very well written and helps keep the comic light and enjoyable even though here go the X-Men saving the Earth from an unimaginable threat once again.

I wish they would wrap up the entire Kitty Pryde intangibility problem though because it is just becoming redundant at this point. Aside from this, Uncanny X-Men #535 is a great read with a perfect balance of action and plot development. Add in this is the start of a new arc and it is a good time to get back into things if you’ve fallen off the X-wagon recently.

Wolverine #7 Review

Originally Published: March 30, 2011, on Comicvine.com

After knocking the Devil himself off his throne in hell, Wolverine must now exorcise the demons in possession of his earthly body. But can he eliminate the threat in his own mind before his friends eliminate him altogether?

The Good

The middle part of this 3-part arc did exactly what it is supposed to do in ramping up the action successfully on both fronts. Wolverine lets loose some of his worst memories in order to help him fight the demons and we see some awesome montages of Wolverines past and present including the ones from his Weapon X and Department H days.

On the physical front, we see the demons pray on the weaknesses of the X-Men Cyclops has brought with him, like making the water boil when fighting Namor or bombarding Magneto with flashbacks of concentration camps, and turn Cyke’s plan completely on its head until some unexpected help arrives from the living ladies in Wolverine’s life.

The Bad

If you haven’t been picking up this series, this is not the issue to jump into things with. And even though this is billed as the second part of a three-issue arc, you really need to have read the opening five-issue arc to really understand what is going on.

On top of this, there are plot holes abound with the regular X-Men continuity. For example, when Wolverine’s lady friends show up to help provide mental support, Jubilee is in tow with them. Last I checked, she was a vampire and couldn’t walk out in the middle of the day as her blood transfusions from Wolverine only provide resistance against limited UV light and this is never addressed. Include showing Nightcrawler and the Phoenix Force symbol at various points inside Wolverine’s mind and this arc looks to be coming to a very predictable end.

The Verdict

This comic gives fans of Wolverine everything they’ve come to expect. They show his depth as a character, his perseverance as a hero, and just why he is the best there is at what he does. It also shows how much of an effect he has had on the people around him over the years.

Despite all this, there are plot holes that will be noticeable to people reading the X-books right now. For a book that did a great job of holding your attention and kept you guessing through its first six issues, Wolverine #7 makes some very predictable turns. If you have been reading Wolverine up to this point then this issue forwards the plot enough to make it worthwhile, but newcomers to the series should look to hold off until the beginning of the next arc.

Originally Published: March 3, 2011, on Comicvine.com

It looks like the members of Uncanny X-Force have been shaken to their core after completing their first mission. Many are questioning their role and the moral implications in the killing of a child who was to grow up into one of their greatest villains, Apocalypse. So what does a team of some of the most badass mutants in the world do when the going gets tough? ROAD TRIP!

With this being pushed as The Year of the X-Men, Uncanny X-Force looks to be really thrown into the limelight, as they will be sent on a mission that will take them to Earth- 295. That’s right, X-Force may be done with their universe’s Apocalypse, but they may be seeing him, or at least some of his cronies, a little sooner than they thought in the Age of Apocalypse universe. But just why is X-Force leaving Earth-616? I doubt this is some kind of therapy session to validate the killing (for now) of their universe’s Apocalypse so they can get their heads back in the game.

For those of you who need a quick history lesson, back in 1995 Marvel introduced us to an alternate universe where Charles Xavier’s illegitimate son Legion traveled back in time to kill Magneto, which he thought would allow his dad’s dream of human/mutant equality come to light. Instead, he accidentally kills his dad and creates a branching universe where Magneto, in honor of his good friend, takes up his creed and becomes the fighting de facto leader of mutantkind. Seeing all this take place, Apocalypse, who doesn’t attack for another 10 years in the 616, feels that this is the perfect time to strike and basically conquers North America and lays waste to much of the rest of the world.

In Age of Apocalypse, we saw some radically different takes on classic X-Men characters. Some heroes were villains, like Dark Beast who found his way to the 616 and continues to haunt this universe’s X-Men. Some villains were heroes, like Sabretooth who was a member of the Age of Apocalypse’s X-Men. And some characters were just turned on their heads and we saw mirror images of them, like Nightcrawler who is much more violent and prone to offense than his 616 version and also hates churches, which is in direct contrast to the 616’s Nightcrawler who was very religious.

The first major milestone of this event is that even though mutants from Age of Apocalypse have traveled to the 616 (again, see Dark Beast), this marks the first time that mutants from the 616 will be heading to the Age of Apocalypse. This continues to beg the question though: why? Something to take note of is that in this teaser image, we see Archangel is not present.

“Archangel is not there for a reason, and it’s a reason you don’t expect,” said X-Force writer Rick Remender at the press conference Marvel had to talk about the future of the X-Men family of books. An obvious answer would be that the rest of X-Force fears Archangel not being able to handle possibly seeing Apocalypse again, in any iteration, or he himself fears it and doesn’t want to put any further strain on his special relationship with Psylocke. But if it’s something we don’t expect and since X-Force are the ones doing the time hopping, maybe they’re searching for something, or someone? Maybe to get some answers from some folks more accustomed to dealing with Apocalypse on a daily basis to get some help for their psychologically troubled metal winged friend?

Aside from this little rift in the team lineup, there will be two things that draw a lot of people’s attention from this arc. The first will be how this affects the current members of X-Force who are actually going and mutantkind possibly as a whole. We know nothing phases Fantomex and that he will do whatever necessary to get the job done, which if anything, makes him a character to keep an even closer eye on to see if his cool exterior finally cracks. But the characters we know that should have a reaction is the remainder of the team and it should be interesting to see how it plays out.

How will Wolverine react to seeing these different versions of Jean Grey, the love he could never obtain, Nightcrawler, one of his best friends, and be forced to maybe work alongside his greatest nemesis, Sabretooth, again (AoA Sabretooth is officially missing after his work with the Exiles, but this could bring him back)?

How will Psylocke react to possibly seeing herself? Although not part of the original Age of Apocalypse, she made her presence felt in the 2005 limited series and we learned she was similar to her 616 counterpart, but more ninja-like. I sense an awesome catfight waiting to happen there.

And finally, how will Deadpool react to his AoA counterpart, Dead Man Wade, a special assassin for Apocalypse in the AoA, actually being killed by AoA Nightcrawler? If the other characters meet their counterparts, it would be out of Deadpool’s character to not openly make a fuss in finding out what happened to his other self. Of course, seeing Deadpool as the most shaken of the group after killing the child Apocalypse and the revelation that he never cashed any of Archangel’s checks could be the base to start seeing a bit more mature Deadpool and a little less of the joking maniac we have become accustomed to so we may not see this touched upon as deeply as we would like.

The other big aspect is that Remender also talked about naturally expanding the X- Force roster and about Dark Beast being a major character again in this arc. Could he be the catalyst that propels our heroes to Earth-295? Could Dark Beast be the reason why Archangel is not present with the rest of X-Force or that the team will land in the AoA universe 10 years after the events of the 2005 limited series? Dark Beast could also be a perfect fit for the darker, seedier missions that X-Force usually has to take on so could he actually find himself as a new member of the team?

There are also a lot of characters that weren’t even mentioned. What characters from the AoA would you like to see be prominently featured in the new AoA arc and maybe even possibly join the X-Force roster? Comment below and weigh in on all these questions and let us know what you think! We’ll start to get our answers to what is shaping up to be a huge shake-up with Uncanny X-Force #11 in June.

Chew on this Galactus!

Originally Published: February 27, 2011, on my StrongProtector account on GiantBomb.com

In high school and even later in college, my friends and I back in Jersey would head over to the mall arcade maybe once a week and feed a ton of quarters into our favorite machines. A couple guys would settle into the chair of a racer like Initial-D, but I would always head over to the Marvel vs Capcom 2 cabinet. This went on until I graduated college and the arcade, like many others in Jersey, closed down.

Fortunately for me, shortly after that, Capcom would give us Marvel vs Capcom junkies a downloadable version for current generation consoles. Instead of placating us though, all this ended up doing was feed the fires for myself and others like me who wanted another sequel to this beloved brawler. And now, after a decade of waiting, its finally here. But with so much hype and anticipation surrounding it, could Marvel vs Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds live up to the lofty expectations of addicts like me?

The basic plot of the game is that Doctor Doom has tampered with his dark magic a bit too much and has discovered a parallel Earth populated by the characters of our favorite Capcom games (and a future Earth with Zero). Tempted with the thought of conquering multiple worlds, Doom teams up with not only the greatest threats of his Earth like Dormammu and M.O.D.O.K., but also with the greatest of the Capcom universe, Albert Wesker. Unfortunately, this wormhole into other dimensions has also stoked the hunger of the greatest nemesis anyone, hero or villain, has ever faced, the cosmic being Galactus. With a smorgasbord of planets to possibly quell his insatiable hunger, Galactus has begun his approach and now heroes and villains will have to unite to save all universes threatened by his cosmic power.

Right off the bat, this is probably the best plot of the series as it has more of traditional Marvel comics feel and you can credit veteran comic writer Frank Tieri for that. On top of the plot being heavily influenced by comics, the entire art direction of the game seems to be ripped from comics as well. Bright, stylized, cel-shaded graphics with beautifully drawn paneled cut scenes, much like a comic book page, has the game seem more like a fan service for loyal Marvelites out there. All you need is Stan Lee to yell “Excelsior!” before every match. Even the character select screen sees the chosen characters placed onto a graphic novel style tablet as you choose their assists before a battle.

The audio is also very strong as instead of each level having a set theme, now each character has their own theme and you’ll hear the theme of whomever you may be facing. From a more patriotic ballad for Captain America to the classic Bionic Commando and Street Fighter themes for when Spencer or Ryu jump on screen, the music is tremendous. It’s not the only part of the audio that shines though as the voice acting is also well done. With each character having specific taunts both in battle and after every victory depending on whom they’re facing, like Captain America yelling at Iron Man “That was for the Civil War!”, the audio is simply top notch all around for Marvel vs Capcom 3.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 isn’t perfect though. The standards of the series return such as three member tag-teams and huge hyper combos that can be done singly or with your team if you have enough power bars. But other diehards of the series might be a little put-off by the fact that the combat system has been simplified in many ways. Instead of having the standard six attack buttons like the old arcade cabinets (high punch, med punch, low punch, high kick, med kick, low kick), now there are only four comprised of a low, medium, high, and special attack that can be used to launch foes into the air. This offered me a lot of confusion when I first started playing the game and was trying to perform a low kick with Iron Man.

To help remedy this, there is a new missions mode reminiscent of some of the later Mortal Kombat games which serves as a chance for you to learn some basic combos and special moves to get the feel of the game if you wish. Each character has 10 missions and so this lets you either become well-rounded with many characters, or really specialize in two or three.

One positive to the new button layout is that it is much easier to switch characters in and out, call for assists, or perform your hyper combos as now each one of those maneuvers has been assigned their own button on the controllers. This does allow for more rookie fighters to jump right into it and level the playing field with more veterans, but there are plenty of new maneuvers that have been added to help separate the rookies from the veterans as well like the brand new team air combos and new reversal systems.

Another new aspect added is the “X-Factor” where by smashing the four attack buttons at the same time, you can increase the attack power and heal your active character. This new feature does give an interesting strategic twist, but again diehards of previous titles in the series probably won’t even remember to use it as it just feels so gimmicky and foreign to this series.

The biggest disappointment probably for the game is the lack of characters though, both old and new. There are only 36 characters total at launch, with more coming in DLC to sap you of more money. Sure new characters like Deadpool, Super-Skrull, Viewtiful Joe, and Amaterasu are great original additions to the series, but others are just rip-offs of characters who were removed or are still in the game. Haggar is just a Zangief rip-off with a steel pipe, X-23 replaces the “bone claw” version of Wolverine, and Zero is Mega Man with a sword.

I understand that Capcom wanted to streamline the 56 characters that were in Marvel vs Capcom 2, but to cut out 20 characters including a lot of fan favorites? Just to re-package them as DLC later? Of course fans will still buy it, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say how disappointing that is. Cutting out half the roster when making a fighting game sequel is not usually the way to go because by pure definition that is not bigger nor better.

Despite all this, Marvel vs Capcom 3 is still a very good fighting game. Technically it is very sound and it is easy to pick up but hard to master with a great storyline that will make any and every Marvel fan squeal in delight. If you are a fan of the franchise, Marvel, Capcom, or just fighters in general, then this is a game you should add to your collection even if you’ll walk away feeling it is a bit more generic than you’d initially expect.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 10.0: The visuals for MvC3 are absolutely tremendous done in a stylized cel-shading that really stresses the comic book feel that is persistent throughout the game as you are bombarded by bright and vibrant colors all day long.

Audio: 10.0: Redone classic video game themes for all the Capcom characters and fitting original themes for the Marvel characters is one of the great highlights of this game. Coupled with great voice acting from all those involved and the audio is as perfect as can be.

Plot/Plot Development: 4.0: Most fighting games truly lack a compelling plot, and MvC3 may have the most piss poor of them all. Never even properly explained, all you have to go on is a stylized opening sequence and a solid boss battle with Galactus to put together that Wesker and Doom have partnered together. Solid comic book plot, but it needed to be explained a lot better than it was.

Gameplay: 7.0: Many diehards will be irritated with the button changes and new features added, but at the end of the day, they work and will appeal to a mass audience. Too bad for this review, I’m representing the diehards.

Replay Value: 6.5: Like any good fighting game nowadays, the replay value really comes in the online play, especially since you can blow through the single player offline mode in a weekend if need be. Unfortunately, it may take you 20 minutes to find an opponent to play online and therefore make the online play moot because who wants to play three matches in an hour? So if you don’t have some friends to form a lobby with, then you might think twice about the worth of MvC3.

Overall (not an average): 8.0: MvC3 is a very solid fighter on a technical level, but fans of the series will be put off by the gimmicks added and the arcade style of play that is the true staple of this series. More bells and whistles are all well and good, but it felt like Capcom sold the soul of this game. So even with it being technically perfect, this game falls just short of being put into elite status in my mind.