|Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Comic Cover|
After Capcom pulled the same release crap to console owners that it used to do to arcade owners, in the 90s, I decided to wait the entire thing out. I skipped over MVC3 vanilla completely and didn't end up getting UMVC3 until a few weeks ago when it dropped to the price of 25 dollars — making its DLC hurt less.
The arcade mode probably has the best AI of any Marvel vs games. It's still nowhere near Virtua Fighter 4's ghost players, but it's so much better than MVC 1, 2, and even Street Fighter vs X-men. On the hardest difficulty, the computer will zone, do larger combos, OTG combos, use assists, advancing guard, and put up a solid defensive effort. It's just enough to give an intermediate player a challenge now and then.
Heroes and Heralds mode is pretty lame. I went through both the good guy and evil modes just to unlock some titles and practice against powered up opponents. But as far as I can tell, nobody is playing this mode online. At least, I couldn't fine one player. But it's somewhat fun to go through when you first get the game.
Missions are similar to trials in Street Fighter 4 and up. In this mode, you will be told to perform various attacks and combos with the difficulty progressing as you advance. A lot of these are easy, dumb, or insanely frustrating. But by completing them, you'll learn a little bit more about the character and unlock some titles. And I tend to forget their combos right after I pass them. Instead, I troll YouTube to find more consistent ones that don't burn your x-factor or require a level three hyper bar.
And lastly there is your standard training mode with lots of options. Most of the time this is where you'll be practicing your combos and team strategies. But it can also be used to help beginners in other ways. E.g., if you're a beginner who struggles with zoning or straight spamming, select the characters used against you and copy the player's spam tactics against the computer using your team, set at a higher difficulty level of course. Then just watch and see how it deals with you. And you can do this for any basic tactic that gets you easily.
Now online play is a different game. Good arcade players tend to react to the actual animation itself. We use a combination of muscle memory and reflex. It makes it so you can play more on the fly and adjust to anything. You can't really do that in online play. Even a five bar connection will throw your real time game way off. You have to basically guess what attack is coming and just hope your input latency isn't wonky or too off to punish them and finish your combos. It's also really easy to pull off mix-ups that would never fly offline. And I'll show an example of what can happen when an online / bedroom player takes his lag based abilities to the big show.
When it comes to ranking, you won't find a ton of people in the earlier levels. And out of the handful of beginners, rookies, and amateurs I've fought, about half were really good players who were just playing online because we're currently in a free XBL Gold weekend. But if you're a beginner or just new to the MVC series, stay offline until you can handle the computer in Very Hard. And even then, the online lag has it's own learning curve that will result in you losing a lot of matches. Personally, I'm never going to fully adjust to it. I'm OK with dropping combos and losing matches. Playing like I can't read the animation or move exactly the way I want to is a bad habit not worth picking up for an online ranking that nobody will ever care about. And with that said, let's talk about that.
|This is my UMVC3 License Card. There are many like it, but this one is mine.|
You're going to fight some of these guys in low ranked matches now and then; they will pop up when you want to fight only similarly skilled people; they will join lobbies labeled for beginners and beast on them. And most of all, they will make the typical newcomer feel like they're completely retarded because it looks like having a synergistic team and being able to pull off these giant, complex combos is normal for someone just starting out. So don't feel bad. You do suck, but so do I. And the game has been out for over a year, and that doesn't include MVC3 "Vanilla."
Take your time, but don't worry about having too much of a life to master all of its bullshit. Being a great online player means absolutely nothing to anyone but said player. And if you find yourself getting obsessed, just watch the South Park episode: Make Love, Not Warcraft for a reality check.
|Typical Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Player with an Inaccurate / Fake Ranking, Making the Entire System Worthless.|
|Exhibit B: That Same Player at My Same Rank has Over 376 Hours into the Game!|
And finally, searching for ranked matches can be a pain. You can either hit quick match and get whoever, wherever, or customize it to limit the type of player you'll be matched with. And trying to get a local fight with a similarly ranked player can take upwards of an hour or more, depending on where you live. I know I've spent more time looking for people to fight, in that mode, then actually playing the game. But the ultimate reason your ranking doesn't matter much is because this isn't where the real action is.
|Exciting Screen Shot of Typical Ranked Mode Game Play!|
And because the lobby controls aren't in the actual instruction book, I'm going to post them here: L1 is "Great Fight." L2 is "Leaving Lobby." L3 is "Okay." R1 is "Bring it On." R2 is "Good Game." And R3 is "No Way." You can push any of these in between matches instead of trying to use your mic to say the same, damn thing. In fact, unplug your headset or disable the Kinect's chat function before playing. The game has enough lag as it is; it needs all the possible bandwidth available, and most of us will mute you automatically if you even make a sound.
The second best place to find a fight is within player matches. You'll find far more beginners here who either don't feel good enough or couldn't find anyone near their skill level in ranked mode. But if you're lucky, someone better than you might rematch you a few times to give you some needed experience. I've done this for other players and had it done for me. The best part of this mode is the rematch feature; it really cuts out the bullshit for players who really only have one team and makes it worth entering now and then.
The last thing I want to touch on related to online play is taunting. Teabagging can be pretty infuriating — especially when it happens in a match with a ton of lag. And while I want to say that it belongs no where near fighting games, I've played my fair share of ghetto ass players in many respectable tournaments. In the FGC, it's unavoidable.
But what I absolutely can't stand is toying with someone during a lobby match. If you dominate another player, just finish them quickly so the next match can get started up. I find it more offensive as a waist of my and everyone else's time. I will disconnect from a match or a lobby if I see it. I'd rather use that minute of my life on anything else other than watching some anonymous douche with a stupid, forgettable user name stroke their ego, in a match that nobody, including said douche, will remember.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a great fighting game. Most of my friends seem to hate it because they changed it from 2. The biggest comparison people throw out is with Tatsunoko vs Capcom, which I've played a bit of, but I'd say it feels much closer to BlazBlue or Guilty Gear X. And this can be really confusing for a Street Fighter player picking Ryu, as you don't have access to all your basic three punches and kicks. Instead, you only have a basic light, medium, heavy, and special / launcher. And you can't think of them like punches or kicks; they can be either or neither depending on the directional input before they're pressed and or if your character uses a weapon.
In conclusion, its current popularity is still pretty high, and a lot of people, from all over the world, are playing this game. Also, you'll never find a fighting game with a newbie friendly online environment. At least, past a few months of the game's initial release. Because just like in the arcades, the average person ends up quitting really fast after getting the snot kicked out of them. But that's never where the real fun is anyways; it's all about rising to the virtual challenge and making some new friends.