New York Comic Con just went down this past weekend, and I took the opportunity to get some hands-on time with on Marvel vs Capcom 3. Throughout the two days I was at the Javits Center — due to the insanely long lines — I probably only played 15 matches. Even with such limited experience, it was clear that MvC3 is one awesome game, and it's still months away from being complete!
Before I get into what I thought of each character, let me try to describe the feel of the game system. Everyone wants to know if the game feels like Tatsunoko vs Capcom or Marvel vs Capcom 2. The answer is that it is neither; as a whole, it is a new and different game. It has aspects of each of those games, but none of the borrowed mechanics define this new game. MvC3 has a button layout that most resembles TvC's. Chain combos in MvC3 feel like TvC chain combos (which, in turn, felt like Rival Schools' chain combos). A lot of the moment-to-moment jockeying for position feels like MvC2. The super-jumping, dashing, and triangle jumping feels like pure Marvel. OTG hits (hitting a character off-the-ground) are reminiscent of MvC2's, but much easier to perform in most cases. Despite these similarities, there are gameplay elements that differentiate the game from these past games.
MvC3 has some unique features that allow for some free-form combo creation and incredible comeback potential. I may be wrong, but air combos seem to cause a lot more hit-stun than I'm used to, allowing you plenty of time (comparatively-speaking) to string together your air combos. This makes the game more accessible for people who haven't been able to pull of air combos before, but also makes lots of stylish air combos possible for Marvel veterans. The Variable Air Combo system is a great way to safely tag a character in and to add more damage to a combo. The drawback is that an opponent has a (1-in-3) chance to guess which direction you perform the air tag, which ends your combo and starts a combo for the opponent. The real star of this new game is the X-Factor system, which is barely understood at this point.
X-Factor is not baroque from TvC. Unlike baroque, you only get one X-Factor per match; however, it does so much more for you. Activating X-Factor cancels whatever move you were in and puts you back to a neutral state immediately. Think Guilty Gear Roman Canceling or SF4 FADC, but without the need to dash. It currently cannot be performed in mid-air. This facet of X-Factor is why you see combos where Dante does a level 1 super, glows red, then does another level 1 super. X-Factor also temporarily increases your character's speed and damage output. A decent combo from an X-Factored character can do 90% damage. When you realize that X-Factor lasts much longer when you're down to your last character, you see the incredible comeback potential it provides. During the prolonged X-Factor period, it would not be impossible for a character to take down all three of his opponents' characters. Also, the speed boost is quite significant. I got to witness a really crazy moment involving X-Factored Wolverine, but I'll save that for another post.
For now, just rest assured that Marvel vs Capcom 3 is an amazing game. People were worried if it would live up to the legacy of MvC2, with all of its infinites, imbalanced characters, guard cancels, and curly mustaches. I think that it will be even better than MvC2, with a whole new era of brutal tactics and another ten years of competitive play.