Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds • Page 2

Triple threat.

Niitsuma's comment of "purposely unbalanced" seems like an odd choice of words - doesn't every fighting game strive to be as balanced as possible? But on reflection, it seems he's alluding to the sheer variety of playstyles which Marvel 3 offers. Indeed, with the roster split almost equally between new and returning characters, settling on a definitive squad isn't going to be easy.

Our personal favourite is Okami's Amaterasu. This deity in wolf's clothing can switch between her Reflector, Glaive and Rosary stances, and when you factor in her multiple counters, easy to combo normals, icy projectiles and time slowing Hyper Combo, you have a highly versatile character who is effective whether playing defensively or offensively.

Not something which can be said of the feisty X-23. This female Wolverine clone shares the same rushdown focus as her biological progenitor. One of her key features is her variable leap attack that can hit either low, mid or throw the opponent skywards for a guaranteed Hyper Combo. In addition to her dragon punch, air dive and stealthy dash specials, she also has the Dirt Nap. This Level 3 turns her temporarily invisible while unlocking her vicious command grab.

But out of all the new faces, it's Dante who represents the most intriguing proposition. It's no joke that the Devil May Cry star has somewhere in the region of 40 specials with highlights including a dashing combo with the Agni and Rudra scimitars, Dante's own take on Chun-Li's Lighting Legs and a full-screen "Get over here!" grab courtesy of a rocket launcher mounted bayonet.

A repertoire this comprehensive makes Dante a combo exhibitionist's dream, but there have been concerns that maybe he's is a little too good. "In terms of Dante being overpowered, I don't think that's possible," Niitsuma says.

"No matter how many moves he has, he can only use one at a time. So it's just a matter of balancing to make sure he doesn't have a move for every situation."

Niitsuma is also keen to provide some insight into his unfulfilled wish-list. "From Capcom's side, I wanted to include more characters from Darkstalkers, as I'm personally a big fan of the series," he explains.

"For Marvel, there were several characters we wanted to bring back from Marvel 2, but Marvel preferred other newer characters. So that had to be the way." But while Marvel 3 has fewer characters than its predecessor, it arguably offers more diversity.

Every character feels different, and whether it's Super-Skrull's half-screen command grab, M.O.D.O.K.'s Analyze Cube zoning game or Crimson Viper's EX-specials and focus attack, everyone has a unique set of tricks.

"We categorise characters as either speed, technical, power or standard," Niitsuma says. "My team is Wolverine, Amaterasu and Dante. These are all speed characters. It's easier to do chain combos with faster characters, more things happen on the screen and they generally make me look a better player."

Unfortunately for Niitsuma, my near identical team of Amaterasu, X-23 and Dante pretty much negated any speed advantage he was expecting. When we finally played a match at the end of the interview, I found myself apologising to a tired and possibly jet lagged producer for showing no mercy. Niitsuma's translator even described it as a "total annihilation".

But despite my apparent lack of interview etiquette he was still willing to impart one last snippet about what he wants to do after Marvel 3.

"I'm thinking of taking the whole thing to the next level. So rather than just Capcom doing a crossover with one more franchise, we'd like to look into doing three at once. Now, obviously the whole co-ordination issue is huge, but it would be very interesting if we could do that."

With Yoshinori Ono musing over Nintendo vs. Capcom and Ryota Niitsuma suggesting some kind of "Marvel vs. Capcom vs. SNK" (or possibly even "Namco x Tatsunoko x Capcom"), it seems the longevity of the Vs. series is all but assured. But before we get ahead of ourselves and start contemplating what could happen next, there's the matter of what's going to happen now.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 boasts an extreme fighting system that pays homage to its forbearer while being accessibly deep. If the modes and features can complement the solidarity of the gameplay mechanics, then Capcom may have a fighter to match the undeniable success of Street Fighter IV. Better late than never.

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