Marvel vs Capcom 3: the ultimate

, | Game diaries

When I started writing this game diary, I was playing Marvel vs Capcom 3. But now, I’m playing Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. It’s better because it’s, well, ultimate-er. There’s a handful of new characters, a few tweaks to various characters’ moves lists, and even a fancy new game mode courtesy of the free Heroes and Heralds DLC. For these modest improvements, I got to pay Capcom an additional $40. These days, you hear a lot about game companies with consumer unfriendly practices, like online passes or launch day DLC. But I really don’t mind giving Capcom a little extra money for another disc. $40 for 12 new characters isn’t really that bad a rate, and for my trouble, I also get the assurance that there’s no userbase fragmentation: all Ultimate MvC3 players are going to have all the characters on the roster. No, it isn’t the money I mind.

After the jump: the unforgivable sin

What upsets me are my poor, poor achievements. My poor, poor online battle ranking. And the really unforgivable thing is that they reset the training challenges. Most of the MvC3 challenges are twitchy fiddly combos that I can’t do. I put a lot of time into getting my paltry collection of checked boxes, and I’m none too happy about giving them up and being faced with a big empty checklist. I can’t bring myself to even try those again.

Over the years, Capcom kind of made a target of itself with regards to milking multiple releases out of a single franchise. Super Street Fighter II Turbo was probably the most blatant of those excesses, but it never really bothered me. Balance patches existed in fighting games long before they were an issue for most other genres, and DLC patches didn’t exist until recently. And Capcom has actually been surprisingly good with the free balance updates, showing a willingness to make significant changes if necessary. And having a new box on store shelves can’t hurt to buoy player numbers as more games come out and people migrate to the new hotness. Playing this weekend, I encountered a fair number of first timers, people obviously still struggling with the controls, and with fewer than a dozen matches under their belts. I’m always happy to see new blood, not just because I can beat them (although I do savor the win ratio bump), but also because fighting games have been such a big part of my life. I want to share that with new people.

I try to play to their level. I try to keep the match interesting, and maybe counter a move or two without launching into a full combo. Give them a chance to learn from their mistakes, if I can. It’s an intimidating realm to be sure, and despite my tenure in fighting games, I’m not that far removed from a beginner myself. So I try to keep it classy, fight like a gentleman, and all that.

The controvesy over misogyny in the fighting game community and the Capcom “reality show” is a recent memory. There’s very little for me to add that hasn’t been said already. It goes without saying that that kind of behavior is unacceptable, and while I’ve met my share of offensive idiots online, I’d say the proportion isn’t that different from other games. However, it can feel more personal. A fighting game is an oddly intimate experience, even in random anonymous matches pulled from the internet. There’s no buffer between you and your opponent, no map to get lost in, no teammates to commiserate with. It’s just the two of you. It can be a little overwhelming at times. But it’s important to remember that if you do encounter somebody you can’t stand, your interaction won’t be any longer than 99 seconds.

But for every bad experience online, I’d like to think there’s a good one. I’ve received a few voice messages after matches, but there’s one that’s always been a particular favorite. After a fairly close match, a few seconds later the voice message notification popped up. My opponent congratulated me for winning, and then mentioned that he sucks, and needed more practice, because all his friends play more than he does. He then apologized for implying that I also suck, and insisted that “you good, man, you good”. Ever since then, that’s how I like to imagine my opponents. Polite, a little self deprecating, and just practicing up until the next chance they get to knock off a few games with some friends.

You good, man. You good.

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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.