Marvel vs Capcom 3: brash, arrogant, rude

, | Game diaries

This is Dante’s super. If you want to simulate playing Marvel vs Capcom 3 online, look at this picture, then wait 5 seconds before clicking through to the rest of the article.

Ok, now wasn’t that fun?

After the jump: your online MvC3 primer

As much as I enjoy playing Marvel vs Capcom 3, I find it pretty hard to recommend to anybody who isn’t already completely convinced they’ll love it. A large part of the game is about denying your opponent the ability to act by extending your own combos as long as possible. The core gameplay would probably be considered griefing in some games.

From a design perspective, it’s easy to argue that Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a bad game. The penalties and rewards are poorly communicated, and they’re often completely disconnected from the actions that trigger them. The extensive character selection and moves lists offer a lot of apparent choice, but very few real meaningful decisions; the character tiers are pretty well defined, and each of those characters has an optimal damage combo for each situation. The reliance on using “assists” from tagged out partners can lead to a powerful positive feedback effect where defeat can be all but assured if you lose one of them early in the match. These aren’t “bad” design decisions, or even the wrong ones for this game. Each has a specific purpose and particularly for high level players, they can lead to some interesting situations. But for a new player, it can be insurmountably daunting.

Playing locally against friends of approximately the same level is one thing. Some friendly competition, a couple of beers, loser passes the controller to the next guy. There’s enough flashing light and color that everybody’s having a good time. Playing online against the population of the world is another issue entirely. To help you acclimate, I’ve put together a little walkthrough for how your first online session will go.

1) Enter the Heroes and Heralds DLC, and look for a match. You won’t find one, because nobody’s been playing Heroes and Heralds since the week it came out.

2) Go to arcade mode and start playing with match request on. For some reason, this finds matches faster than explicitly looking for lobbies. In peak periods, you’ll probably get a match almost immediately.

3) Your opponent will have an order of magnitude more matches than you do.

4) Your opponent will be using at least 2 of the following:

5) Dante will teleport above your head and combo into his super.

6) Repeat.

Okay, maybe it isn’t so bad as that. But it’s definitely an uphill battle to start any game with an entrenched hardcore population, and Marvel vs Capcom 3 is no different. The upside is that you’ll get a lot of experience seeing the baseline strategies for the most common characters. No matter how impenetrable it may seem, there are well known counters for almost all of them, and they often aren’t very difficult to execute. And you’ll get a lot of opportunities to practice.

Next time: I assure you, demon hunter, you have never faced my like before.
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Charles Wheeler is the satan of martial arts and can survive anything — even nukes. He has been making and writing about games for over ten years. His latest project, The Rules on the Field, is a blog about sports and game design. You can find it here.