Tag Archive: resident evil

As the new generation of consoles continues to try to gain its footing since last year’s launch, and delays plagued the year almost as much as 2020, some surprising titles emerged to contend for game of the year in 2021. While I felt there were fewer amazing titles this year overall, a handful were still able to claw, ride, or fly their way to the top of my list with ease as I felt they were clearly head and shoulders above the pack. Here are my top five games of 2021.

05Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

I feel like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy personified its main characters in a lot of ways. A bit of an underdog when it was first announced, it arrived on the scene with a “kick as much ass as possible and look fantastic while doing it” attitude that defined this game to its very core. The story took a little inspiration from the films and mixed in a lot of deep cuts from the actual comics to deliver one of the most heartfelt tales of the year, resulting in an experience that stands up as one of the stronger Marvel video games. The combat system that has you play as Star-Lord and command the other four Guardians took a little while to get used to, but once you do it only further accentuated this perfect vehicle for Marvel’s most imperfect heroes.

04Tales of Arise

I am very particular when it comes to JRPGs, but the Tales series has always resonated with me. Never before, though, had one compelled me to 100-percent finish it. Tales of Arise found a perfect balance that the series sometimes struggles with between engaging combat and compelling characters. Here, the total package comes together in a world that I always had difficulty leaving at the end of the day, with characters I always enjoyed hearing banter, and special combo moves in combat that kept every encounter with a new monster or one of the colorful main villains exciting. And with a plethora of sidequests, including some that pay direct homage to games of the past and that only unlock after the main story is finished, Tales of Arise has plenty to offer newcomers and series veterans alike.

03Forza Horizon 5

Towards the end of the year we had just started to see what new-gen consoles could really do, and one of the prime examples of this was Forza Horizon 5. Not only does it maintain the franchise’s high quality of gameplay in terms of driving the best cars in the world, and continue to dominate an entire genre with its blend of arcade and simulation racing options, but this year’s entry—set in a love-letter version of Mexico—is the most beautiful game yet in a series of ever-gorgeous games. Its shifting weather patterns across four diverse seasons (each lasting a real-life week) constantly offer something new in the series’ most diverse map yet, and will leave gamers speechless as they handle hairpin turns along sandy beaches and jump off ramps carved out of Aztec temples. There is no better racing series than Forza at this point, and there’s no better game in that series than Forza Horizon 5.

02Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil 7 was my 2017 game of the year, and after I first played Resident Evil Village, I thought the franchise might’ve gotten my GOTY with back-to-back new entries (the remakes don’t count!). Although it just missed the top spot, Village continued the reluctant hero’s story with RE7 protagonist Ethan Winters, and his forced compliance in order to save his daughter leads us down a celebration of the series and horror in general. Vampires, werewolves, creatures in lagoons, and possessed dolls all served as different motifs throughout and kept the gameplay fresh and fun with ever-evolving challenges. Meanwhile, after dominating the Internet, Lady Dimitrescu harkened back to Nemesis and Tyrant, while flooded ruins spoke to B.O.W.-filled sewers from once upon a time. And finally, Ethan’s eventual uncovering of the truth shined a new light on series lore that made Village feel as monumental as its predecessor.

01Psychonauts 2

I almost feel bad picking this as my game of the year. I know dozens of fellow gamers who had been pining for a sequel to 2005’s Psychonauts for 16 long years.

I had to wait four months.

I missed the original release and never visited the cult classic over the years. And then it hit Game Pass and I decided to rectify that. While I don’t think you need to have played the first game to enjoy Psychonauts 2, going into it with the crazy cast of characters fresh in my mind did enhance the experience. Every major character has an endearing flaw that makes them relatable, whether you’re meeting them for the first time or finally reuniting with them after a decade and a half. Throw in some spectacular platforming, massive and colorful mental worlds to explore, and some of the best writing of the year, and this was a can’t miss experience—no matter how long you had to wait

SPThe “The Colors, Duke! The Colors!” Award presented by Popsicle (not really)
The Artful Escape

While not much in terms of gameplay, The Artful Escape uses a kaleidoscope of bombastic colors and sound to tell a heartwarming coming of age tale that spans the cosmos. Its visually arresting style pulls you in as much as its never-ending guitar riffs as you galavant across unknown galaxies with a motley crew and rock out with aliens. By the end, as your eyeballs have been melted by psychedelic rainbows, you’ll also appreciate the story of a kid trying to overcome the weight of expectations and family legacy through the power of rock ‘n’ roll.

SPThe “Best Game with a Disastrous Launch” Award

People Can Fly delivers the action every time they develop something, and Outriders was no different. Eventually.

Playing with friends was an absolute blast, as you could create a three-person powerhouse team with a cross-section of abilities that allowed you to mutilate your enemies in fantastic ways, and would have you cheering well into the night. If you could connect to the servers, or if your gear didn’t mysteriously disappear when you got disconnected.

It took weeks before Outriders ironed out most of its issues, but by then the damage had been done. And while it did in the end deliver a compelling story in a fascinating world, not many stuck around to see it through because of the well-documented disaster that was those first few weeks.

SPThe “What’s Old is New Again” Award
ActRaiser: Renaissance

When the original ActRaiser released over 30 years ago, the idea of “god games” were still incredibly new and had not been done on consoles before. By combining that style of game with action-platforming sections straight out of the arcade, however, ActRaiserdelivered one of the most ambitious blendings of genres seen at the time, and the experiment worked in spades, as it still holds a special place in the hearts of many. And that’s why ActRaiser: Renaissance is so special. It’s not just a massive graphical and auditory overhaul for a modern era, but it looked at what made the original great and streamlined systems, fleshed out storylines, and enhanced the “god game” and tower-defense aspects that made the original such a mind-blowing classic to begin with. 

Even though it is looked at as the father of the “survival horror” genre, the only thing scary about Resident Evil in recent years is how much it had unabashedly transformed into just another action series—as if it had been infected with the video game equivalent of one of Umbrella’s viruses. Resident Evil 5 and 6 in particular are guilty of this. They may have had many of our favorite characters, but the sense of suspense and tension was completely gone. Recognizing this, the minds now in charge of the series made a conscious effort to get back to what made Resident Evil the gaming icon it is, and I can attest that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is easily the best game the series has seen in years—if not ever.

Resident Evil 7 begins with a new hero to the series—a man by the name of Ethan Winters—getting a mysterious message from his wife, Mia, who has been missing for three years. Instructed to come find her in the fictional city of Dulvey, Louisiana, Ethan makes a beeline for the address he’s given, where he comes upon a derelict plantation home belonging to the Baker family. As Ethan begins to explore the property, though, he’ll find a lot more is going on down in Dulvey than anyone realizes.

Isolation. Darkness. Disbelief. Insurmountable odds. I was bombarded with all of these elements almost right from the get-go in Resident Evil 7 as it set a tone that would carry the entire way throughout this adventure. A large part of this has to do with the fact that the game features a first-person camera view for the first time. Much in the way that Resident Evil 4 was lauded for giving us a more traditional over-the-shoulder third-person camera as compared to early games in the series, this decision again changes the entire dynamic of how you experience a Resident Evil game. It left me feeling incredibly tense with each step I took through the Baker residence, as the creepiness of the setting—with mutilated dolls, rotting meat, and bugs everywhere—was always right in my face.

Some of these feelings come directly from the aesthetics of the game. The muted earth tones of the massive Baker plantation just scream of rot and decay, while each building on the property—of which there are several and they are large—still have a clear theme around them. Barns, greenhouses, and guest homes all have secrets, and will require careful exploration if you are to find them all. That is, if you’re brave enough to go looking, considering you never know what lurks behind each and every locked door.


The only thing crisper than the visuals is the audio design. While the dialogue definitely isn’t the best, occasionally reeking of B-movie level inspiration, the voice actors do a great job with it—especially with the southern drawls of the Baker family. The sounds of a storm battering the buildings, unseen enemies crawling within the walls, the heavy breathing of Ethan after a fight, and even the crunch of his shoes as he slowly tries to move around undetected only add a level of detail that cranks the immersion up even further.

Another element that helps drive home the horror atmosphere was the fact that the story isn’t afraid to work at a slow boil in the beginning. I didn’t meet my first NPC until around 30 minutes into the game, didn’t get my first weapon/meet my first enemy until almost an hour in, and didn’t finally face off against my first true BOW until almost two hours in. This established a mood that had me jumping at my own shadow, and shouting at the TV when the jump scares the original games were known for finally came into full effect with the horrifying Baker family. This is where Resident Evil 7 may shine brightest: it walks a fine line between Eastern horror elements (mood, atmosphere, tension) with more Western ones (gore, grossness, jump-scares) to give an experience reminiscent of those early games in the series, and that sent chills down my spine.

This sort of pacing also made it so I couldn’t stop playing. Once the questions started piling up around the Baker family—even if some of the answers were a tad predictable as they relate to previous games in the series—I couldn’t put my controller down, and this is another mark of a great horror game. As much as I wanted to crap my pants not knowing what was lurking just down the hall, I needed to solve the mystery, no matter the cost. Sometimes answers would come from an intense boss fight in cramped quarters, while other times it would be a brilliantly concocted puzzle offering a reprieve to the tension I often felt while exploring. The only downside to all this is that the game’s replayability takes a serious knock once you know how it will all end, even with the hard “Madhouse” difficulty unlocking after your first completion of the game.

The slow build of the narrative also had the added bonus of giving tremendous weight to the biggest moments when they did happen. Seeing this game’s first BOW was a truly terrifying revelation, and instead of Capcom sending a shooting gallery worth of enemies at me after that, or giving me a machine gun right from the onset, they made it a punishing encounter that would also set the tone for the game’s combat.


Ethan is not the trained hero that Leon, Chris, or other early Resident Evil protagonists have become for the series, and many times when encountering an enemy of any sort, keeping your wits about you and managing your ammunition becomes paramount. Scrounging for scattered bullets, taking careful aim, relying on melee weapons, or even running away are all viable strategies when the ammo runs out and your foes keeps coming. Ethan can’t just spin kick a foe to the ground and curb stomp them into submission; in fact, without upgrades, he won’t survive more than a couple hits against most enemies, turning every confrontation into a truly stressful moment as you fight to survive.

Speaking of upgrades, now is a good time to mention my one real complaint about Resident Evil 7, and that comes with the game’s inventory system. Managing inventory has been a chore in Resident Evil for as long as I can remember, but this game might take the cake. Ethan can’t carry a lot, which makes sense as we’ve established. You can find bigger backpacks hidden over the course of the game that adds four new slots to your inventory page, but my real issue is that collectible coins, photographs showing treasure locations, and critical items like keys and keycards all take up the exact same amount of space as ammunition and your guns. There are a lot of different keys to the Baker residence, and while you can go and store things in linked ammo crates, never knowing just which key you’ll need means you might end up struggling to juggle everything like I did. This was originally an issue that was fixed in Resident Evil 4 where the series finally had items taking up a logical amount of room in your inventory based on size/shape. I don’t know why Resident Evil 7 is going backwards in progress with something already fixed three games ago, but I spent way too much time in my inventory as it became quite the chore to manage it all.

One last interesting wrinkle for Resident Evil 7 is that if you’re playing on PlayStation 4, you’ll have a chance to play the game in VR if you own a PlayStation VR headset. Simply turn the VR support on in the menu screen’s options, and suddenly you’ll be dropped right into Ethan’s shoes. While I didn’t give the entire game a virtual reality playthrough, I do admit in the couple hours I did play with the headset on, it’s probably one of the best representations of VR we’ve gotten thus far.

Exploring the Baker plantation in VR is even more frightening than doing it normally. And, with the story playing out entirely the same in and out of VR, even knowing what was coming I still got chills just being immersed in that atmosphere. My only hope is that, in the future, we get the option to aim our guns with the right stick instead of having to move our heads, and that we get a full body representation of Ethan instead of floating hands. Otherwise, this is a nice added bonus for PS VR owners, but definitely not necessary in order to enjoy this game.


Resident Evil 7 might be the first must-own game of 2017. If you’re a fan of survival horror, then you’ll recognize the tremendous return to form this was for Capcom’s legendary series, and be equally thrilled and terrified by the atmosphere and level of immersion this experience provides. The narrative is driven by a pair of underdogs in Ethan and Mia Winters that you can’t help but root for, and the mystery of the Baker plantation will keep you pushing on well after your voice has gone hoarse from screaming so much at your TV. Resident Evil is back—and I don’t think it gets better than this.

Publisher: Capcom • Developer: Capcom • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 01.24.17
This is easily the best Resident Evil game in years. It masterfully blends Eastern and Western horror sensibilities into a truly terrifying package that also harkens back to the series’ roots.
The Good A brilliantly crafted rabbit hole that constantly pulls you deeper no matter how scared you get.
The Bad Oh that pesky inventory management.
The Ugly The constant stream of swears that came out of my mouth after every jump-scare.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for PS4. A review copy was provided by Capcom for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.

Don’t forget to bring an Umbrella

Serving as a refresher course on the bulk of the Resident Evil series before Resident Evil 6 hits this October, Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection pairs the previously released Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles for the Wii, gives them an HD facelift, and delivers them on a silver platter for less than $30 on the PS3. And, considering the amount of content here, if you haven’t played these on-rails renditions of the original classic Resident Evil game—or the originals, period—you should definitely jump on this bargain.

But if you’ve played these titles previously and remember all the way back to 1996 (when the first Resident Evil released), there really isn’t much here that you haven’t already seen. Not to mention that if you lack a Move controller, you’re out of luck altogether. Sure, seeing the original Resident Evil titles from a first-person, on-rails arcade-shooter perspective might be interesting, as they offer slightly different takes on the in-game events. Aside from reliving the major beats of this iconic survival-horror franchise from a different viewpoint, though, there’s just nothing new to suck you in.

Umbrella Chronicles follows Resident Evil Zero, the original Resident Evil, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. What’s interesting here, though, is that the between-level narration comes via the viewpoint of the franchise’s longtime antagonist, Albert Wesker. The final level is original to Umbrella Chronicles (though not the collection) and offers you the chance to play as Wesker as he attempts to remove Umbrella’s most important files from a Russian stronghold while Chris and Jill try to take it down.

Darkside Chronicles follows Resident Evil 2 and Code: Veronica and also sees its own original chapter (again, not original to the collection) that centers around the personal loss of many of the series’ more popular protagonists.

I will say that if you’ve never played these games before, there’s a chance you could easily get addicted if you’re a lightgun fiend. The action plays out like a classic arcade game, with plenty of collectibles in each level that help flesh out the Resident Evil backstory. And, much like the Wiimote did during these games’ first run, the Move controller works perfectly for on-rails action like this, especially if you’ve got the Sharp Shooter attachment.

Again, the major drawback here is that if you’ve played these games before, there’s really no point in picking them up again aside from the promise of crisper graphics—and this isn’t a title that, by itself, is going to sell you on a Move controller. But if you haven’t played these games and have a Move controller, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking to kill a few hours with some classic arcade lightgun action based on a story millions of gamers already know and love.

SUMMARY: Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is a solid pairing considering the price tag, but with nothing new besides the HD facelift, there’s little here to entice veteran players.  

  • THE GOOD: Plenty of content for the low price point.
  • THE BAD: Nothing new aside from the improved graphics.
  • THE UGLY: Nemesis is even uglier in HD.

SCORE: 7.0

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is a PS3 exclusive.

Back to the Beginning

If there is one thing the Resident Evil series is good at, it’s embracing its past and squeezing every possible scenario out of it to continue fleshing out the back-story for this beloved series. With that idea in mind, Capcom gives us Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Taking place at the same time as Resident Evil 2, you play as one of six members of Umbrella’s elite hit squad called the U.S.S. (Umbrella Security Service) whose sole task is to ensure that any illegal incidents that could shine a bad light onto Umbrella never come to surface. And Raccoon City is as bad as it gets. So you’ve been covertly inserted into the city to make sure the B.O.W.s do their job and no survivors or information get out before things in Raccoon are cleaned up.

For as much good as RE: ORC does at times, it does just as much bad unfortunately. There are seven campaign missions that you can play with up to three friends online, but the fact there is no option for a local split-screen campaign or versus modes is a big fault in my book. The story mode lacks a lot of the character development and overall depth that we’re used to seeing, but it still feels really fun to progress through this special mission as this badass unit and take down all these zombies and creatures that we’ve seen in previous titles, like Lickers or Hunters, with controls that are more suited to the action game this is clearly trying to be. Of course, some hardcore fans may not enjoy the fact this game distances the series from its survival-horror roots, but I had a lot of fun with it and so was able to forgive them for going off the reservation this time around.

The game also has six very different main characters or classes, which gives you a nice bit of variety if you want to try them all out. Unfortunately, the game only supports four players at a time in campaign and four-on-four matches in versus though. And having more people allowed to play would definitely be the way to go because if you see how often the friendly A.I. suicides itself in the campaign, you’ll want as many of your friends around as possible.

The controls are also hit or miss. While the gunplay is very good, with dozens of weapon and power unlockables and upgrades, the cover system is flawed due to it not being button prompted, but is just initiated whenever you press up against a flat surface. The melee combat is also solid as you perform character specific combos, and if you have enough energy, a character specific execution move that can instantly take out your opponents. There is also a running tackle though that makes no sense because it really does no damage and if you miss your target, it takes so long for your character to get back up that you’re nothing but a sitting duck.

The clear saving grace for this game though is the multiplayer. Four different modes that pit you not only against another team, but also random B.O.W.s and zombies in each level. Think of them as the ultimate level hazards. The four modes include your standard team deathmatch, a ‘Heroes’ mode where you pick a classic character from the series up to this point and you can keep respawning until all four heroes have been killed once, a ‘Biohazard’ mode which is your basic capture the flag, and a ‘Survival’ mode where you have to beat back the enemy team and various creatures as you wait for a helicopter to extract you. What’s most fun about ‘Survival’ is there is only one helicopter and only four seats available so half the players will lose and often there will be a mix and match of teams that make it out as once that helicopter lands, it is every man for himself.

When all is said and done, I think a lot of third-person shooter fans and Resident Evil fans will enjoy what Operation Raccoon City is trying to do with a really fun multiplayer and a decent campaign that is worth a couple of quick playthroughs. The game looks and sounds great, although I still can’t believe Capcom didn’t come up with more than a handful of zombie skins, and most importantly is fun more often than not. Some more polish on the controls, ally A.I., and a local multiplayer option would have definitely kicked this game up a notch, but as is, it is worth a look to fans of shooter multiplayer modes and Resident Evil.

SUMMARY: Another unique look at the events of the original Resident Evil outbreak combined with a fun and inventive multiplayer should help Resident Evil fans look past the sometimes clunky controls and poor ally A.I.

  • THE GOOD: Fun multiplayer modes and a unique take on the classic Resident Evil story
  • THE BAD: Poor ally A.I., no local multiplayer options, and clunky controls
  • THE UGLY: That Capcom is still using the same five zombie skins since the series launched 16 years ago

SCORE: 7.0

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was on the Xbox 360.

Originally Published: June 28, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM

More mindless than the zombies you’ll be shooting

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: 3DS

Release: 06.28.11

Players: Singe Player, 2-player Co-op

ESRB Rating: M – Mature

The Good: Beautiful graphics
The Bad: We’ve seen this all before in Resident Evil 4 and 5
The Ugly: Time is your greatest threat, not your enemies

Every fan of the Resident Evil franchise has been waiting with baited breath to see if it could make a successful transition to portable gaming with a pair of titles coming to the 3DS. The first of those titles, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D may have the diehards worrying a little.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is the attempted expansion and combination of the Mercenaries mini-games found in Resident Evil 4 and 5. Although the graphics for the game are crisp, the character models look nearly as good as they did on a console, and the use of the bottom screen for your inventory and map are nice touches, there is little beyond these features to make the game worthwhile.

The point of Mercenaries is to play as one of eight different characters from the series that are randomly inserted into various familiar locations from the Resident Evil 4 and 5 games. Whether in Europe taking on cultists or in Africa taking on the Majini, the object of the game revolves around an arcade style time-trial where you try to get the highest score possible in the time allotted while also building up combos by quickly dispatching several foes in a row.

Unfortunately, even with 30 possible missions, RPG-like powering up of your favorite Resident Evil characters, and some stellar graphics, the game gets repetitive and boring quickly. There is an overall lack of enemy variety with nothing you haven’t already seen in previous Resident Evil games and because of limited enemy A.I. and the powering up feature, where any character can equip up to three upgrades once they’re unlocked, your greatest threat against getting a high score does not come from the infected but from the clock on the top of the screen.

A nice feature to try to add some replayability to the game is that Mercenaries does feature a co-op mode for a friend with a 3DS, but then you’ll have two people getting bored after a handful of missions instead of just yourself. Add in poor controls that will take a lot of time to get used to as the most often used actions for this game, shooting and reloading, require not one, but two buttons to be pressed or held at a time and overall, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D just lacks the substance necessary to make it a worthwhile purchase.

Score: 4.0/10

By: Ray Carsillo

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.

Originally Published: December 16, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii.