Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
I'm not really a huge gamer, and haven't played that many over the last couple years (with the exception of the digital crack known as Minecraft), so this is going to be much less formal than my movie reviews.
For those that aren't familiar with the franchise, Marvel vs. Capcom is a fighting game series with characters from both companies pitted against each other in a team style format. This latest incarnation includes characters from Street Fighter, Resident Evil, the X-Men, the Avengers, and so many more. It's a 2D fighting engine with 3D graphics, released earlier this week for the Playstation 3 and the XBOX 360.
I spent the better part of the last two days playing it with friends, and any game that you can play until 5am without noticing where the night went is pretty awesome in my book. There's a massive selection of characters to choose from, ranging from popular icons like Spider-Man and Ryu to more obscure names like MODOK or Tron Bonne. Not every character is created equal, and it's definitely not a balanced game by a long shot. That said, there are a variety of different play styles and winning strategies for the different fighters, more than enough for anyone looking for a team to suit your personal style. The action is fast and frantic, but generally pretty easy to pick up. Obviously some characters are going to be more difficult to learn than others, but the game is very beginner friendly. There's not really much beyond the fighting engine, although I doubt people would pick it up looking for much more anyway. There's single player arcade/story mode, local versus, online versus (ranked and non-ranked), and a training mode to practice moves.
The game's art design has a very distinctive style, somewhere between just real enough and just a bit too cartoony. Every character looks and feels genuine and distinct from the others in the roster, no surprises considering this game is all about fan service. The backgrounds are full of details just flying through the environments, actually becoming a bit distracting during battles. If you ever thought that your fighting games didn't have enough flash and spectacle, this is exactly your kind of title. There is so much going on in every match that it's easy to get lost in all the bells and whistles. The English voices are solid and believable with a couple of exceptions, and all the characters feel like they're written true to their roots, making this feel very much like the real deal for all of them. Characters even have specific showdown lines between each other for certain matches, like Iron Man hitting on female characters or Deadpool asking for autographs. There are buckets and buckets of references and in-jokes, some obvious, some incredibly obscure. It'll light up your geek side to catch them, and maybe even moreso to learn the ones you missed.
This game is all about the fans, and delivers on all accounts. The characters, the stories, the environments; everything just feels right, and the gameplay supports it all very well. The franchise really only about one thing: beating the piss out of your favorite characters with your more favorite characters. To that end, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 does its job fantastically, and is a must-buy for anyone interested in that sort of flavor.