I’ve had Marvel vs Capcom 3 for almost week now and while I haven’t played it too much, I have been able to dig enough into the game to realize that while it may have simplified controls, it is far from simple.
Read on for more…
I have a thing about fighting games that I don’t really understand. I am, to put it mildly, bad at games. I am terrible at shooters, can’t play sports games to save my life and wouldn’t know what to do in a Starcraft match even if you laid a step by step map to victory in front of me. I’m also bad at fighting games, but they have a certain draw to them that get me interested despite knowing full well that I’m terrible at them. I think it’s because the genre demands not only split second reflexes but the ability to master the particulars of that game’s specific system. The fact that the systems usually are so deep is a huge draw too as I find the terminology and methodology fascinating. Hell, maybe it’s remembering the arcades of my youth where I’d bust out of money quickly trying to play these games while the one seasoned veteran stood his ground, defeating all opponents, his hands working a symphony on a machine I could barely control.
Knowing this, when I saw that Marvel vs Capcom 3 had simplified controls and superheroes I grew up with, I was pretty much cooked. Oh, I tried to stay away. I told myself that it was still a fighting game and I’d still be bad at it, so why bother. Because, I responded, you can play as Captain America. True, I said, but you’re 39 years old, the time for you to learn the moves and hone your reflexes to where they’d need to be to be competitive is long past. Simplified controls, I whispered back, simplified controls and like that, the deed was done.
Does the game have simplified controls? Yes it does. Does it make it easier to be competitive? That all depends on your definition of competitive. If everyone playing with you normally doesn’t play fighting games then the controls certainly make the games more interesting and more entertaining. They also give the folks that are slower to catch on to the fighting system a level playing field with those that just naturally pick up these kinds of things. If you go online though, the lie becomes all too well realized. What the box doesn’t tell you is that while for you, the controls are simplified, for your opponent, they are second nature. You are the toddler, sitting in your saucer, propped up and “walking” with all manner of plastic rattles and spinning mirrors to hold your attention. They are Usain Bolt, streaking past, shattering records that neither God nor man ever dreamed of seeing broken.
Still though, I will persist, undertaking missions, playing arcade mode, going online in the hopes that I outgrow the simple controls and approach something resembling competence. Secretly, I’m hoping to pull a Malone and have the razor edge of my stupidity pierce my opponent’s defenses, making me victorious. I don’t expect it will ever happen, and if it does, it surely won’t be repeated, but I tell myself that if there is a genre to do it in, this would be it. Surely the simplified controls and unabashed ignorance will knock my opponent on their heels and allow me to win. Certainly no other genre would allow such a thing. You’re not going to stumble your way up the Starcraft tech tree, fumbling your way to victory like a blind monkey. No, you will simply be destroyed, completely and, if you’re lucky, quickly, so that you can go on with your day.
I expect the same thing to happen in this case too, despite what I may be hoping for. There’s just too much information there for my aged brain to remember and too much stimuli for my poor reflexes to handle. I’ll keep playing though because somewhere within me is the thirteen year old that wants to be good at fighting games, sharing space with a 39 year old that thinks it’s just plain cool to be Captain America.