Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thoughts On Marvel Vs. Capcom 3

It’s been 10 long years, but it’s finally happened:

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 has finally become a reality.

While the overly dramatic statement above may speak to the contrary, let it be known; the Azn Badger has never felt any sort of excitement regarding the release of MVC3.

You see, I used to be a hardcore fighting game fan.

While I still bear a great deal of love for the characters of fighting games past, as I find them to be some of the most versatile and long-lived icons in all of gaming; when it comes to my actual skills as a player of fighting games, I’ve never been anything more than average.

That didn’t stop me from playing fighting games like a mad man… Up until the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

You see, I have this friend; a Korean from Up The Street, (henceforth referred to as KUTS) who sort of ruined fighting games for me.

Like many Koreans tend to do, he became enamored with the mechanics of the game, to the point in which dedicated himself to becoming an utter beast at the game.

Seriously, the guy’s been competitive with Top 10 Evo players.

Fielding his Storm-Magneto-Sentinel team, KUTS would go on to repeatedly thrash me in MVC2, and virtually any other fighting game; in such emphatic fashion, as to utterly crush my desire to play fighting games with any degree of seriousness from that point forward.

That being said, KUTS has been consistently playing MVC2 for the past decade.

Or at least until today, when it’s long awaited (or in KUTS’ case, dreaded) sequel was finally released.

Friend that he is, KUTS was kind enough to invite me over to play a few rounds of MVC3 with him.

Introductory reminiscences aside, here are my thoughts, as well as some thoughts from my buddy KUTS, regarding our impression of MVC3 thus far:

Gameplay

MVC2 is regarded as one of the most hardcore of fighting games.

It’s gameplay is some of the fastest around, and the precision required in it’s button inputs are tuned to near perfection in the eyes of many gamers.

It’s this frenetic, yet exacting gameplay that makes MVC2 one of the least accessible, but most rewarding fighting games to date.

That being said, when you take the pinnacle of fighting game precision, and “dumb” it’s mechanics down in favor of creating a simpler, and more accessible game; the end result is a game that will appeal to fighting game novices, and likely infuriate experienced players weened on more nuanced games.

Needless to say, both KUTS and I were largely unhappy with the mechanics of MVC3.

While I’m certainly no expert player at any fighting game, I noted a great deal of frustration coming off of my buddy KUTS as we played; largely due to the slower gameplay and questionable control accuracy.

If I were to compare the experience of playing MVC3 to any other fighting game, it’d have to be the crap-fest known as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and the bore-fest that is Street Fighter IV.

Like both of the aforementioned games, MVC3’s control feel as if they “help” you a little too much.

What I mean to say is, in all 3 of these games; it often feels like the system gives you the benefit of the doubt for technically flawed or incomplete button inputs.

While Street Fighter IV requires a very precise sense of timing to execute effective combos, I can’t tell you how many times I found mysel pulling off special attacks, or complex chains in these games; seemingly by accident.

Make no mistake, even if I’m not an expert, I know how to play most fighting games; and few things frustrate me more than playing a fighting game seems to want to play itself.

Seriously, KUTS and I were joking that you could probably pull off a hadoken in these games simply by holding forward and mashing the punch button.

In addition to the stupid-ification of the gameplay mechanics, MVC3 also takes things a step farther by changing up the control scheme a little bit.

Assists are now assigned their own buttons, with the depressing of either of which for a second or so resulting in the tag command.

To my knowledge, there is only 1 kick button now, a button which I found myself rarely using for whatever reason.

Finally, launch attacks, formerly a command executed by pressing down-forward and fierce punch; have been given they’re own button as well.

While I found the launch and kick button situation to be odd, and difficult to wrap my head around, I’m guessing the changes were made to appeal to fighting game novices.

Of these changes, the one that I found to be somewhat intuitive was the merging of the tag and assist buttons.

Maybe it’s my tiny Japanese hands, but the simultaneous button presses required for the tag function in previous Vs. games was always something I had trouble with; making this simplification a welcome one in my opinion.

One last note:

The game seems slower, and super jumps are harder to direct in a Castlevania, momentum-based sort of way…

Roster

The roster of MVC3 is a decent mix of the classic and the eclectic.

Seriously, count me in as one of the people that thought we’d never see the likes of Dormannu in a videogame.

Oh yeah, and SUPER MAD PROPS to whoever got Capcom to put Taskmaster in the game.

There are around 20 fewer combatants this time around, with more variation between each entrants play styles serving to balance things out in some capacity.

While I can’t speak to the effectiveness of any of the characters as of yet, it’s worth noting that many of the character’s attributes seem a little unbalanced.

For instance, Phoenix is easily one of, if not the fastest character in the game; however she also happens to be fragile as tissue paper.

Seriously, one time I managed to take her down to half health with only 6 weak punches, using Viewtiful Joe no less.

Not only that, Magneto has been nerfed in every way imaginable, and Thor seems overpowered, despite his godly-status.

All that aside, I’m decently satisfied with the roster at this point.

Capcom did a good job of varying the play styles of the characters, and many are represented well via their movesets and animations.

I will say this though, Chris Redfield’s voice clips are hysterical.

Seriously, with phrases like “Eat it!”, “Taste it!”, and “Suck it!”; the man is a poster boy for the UFC generation.

Move over Brock, there’s a new meathead in town…

KUTS’ Team Thus Far:

Storm, Sentinel, and MODOK or Storm, Sentinel and She-Hulk.

Closing Thoughts

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a game for fighting game/Marvel fans, not the hardcore.

While it has yet to be seen what strategies or nuances can be uncovered in the gameplay for MVC3, if you ask me; or my buddy KUTS, whatever’s there isn’t going to measure up to MVC2.

That’s not to say MVC3 isn’t a worthy effort, as it is; it’s just not the same Marvel.

I will give it this though, MVC3 does have it’s predecessor beat in the presentation department.

10 years makes a world of difference in the world of videogames, and while I was fully prepared to hate the aesthetic of MVC3 based on it’s preview footage, I found I warmed up to it after awhile.

The character models aren’t as detailed as most contemporary fighting games, but the menus are designed well, the voicework is largely acceptable, and the damage effects and splashiness of the special attacks are actually quite stunning at times.

Consider that the one compliment I pay to MVC3.

Anyway, these were just my thoughts, feel free to disagree, ’cause they’re my thoughts and frankly I don’t give a shit what you think.

Thanks for reading!

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Best Boss Music #3: Resident Evil 5

*SPOILER ALERT!* Anyone who doesn’t want to know shit about Resident Evil 5 should turn back now!

*Sigh* This might take awhile, so buckle down….

As one who’s been a fan of the Resident Evil franchise since its inception back in 1996, I’d just like to take a moment to say this:

Despite Capcom’s success in completely overhauling the gameplay of the series since Resident Evil 4, now that 5 has come and gone, I’m left wanting to go back to the way things were.

Resident Evil 4 was an amazing game, one that certainly deserves a place in the top 15 of best ever games, but at it’s core, it never really felt like a Resident Evil game to me.

Call me weird, but I actually missed the fixed camera angles.

I missed the stilted controls.

"Don't come any closer yah' zombie muddah' fuckah'! Imma' shank you man, I swear, Imma' shank yo' ass..."

Moreover, I missed having to occasionally run past my enemies due to lack of ammo.

"And on your right is a shaved monkey."

Resident Evil 2 was, and probably will always remain my favorite game in the series.

It was one of those games that just happened to “get” me at just the right time in my life.

I was young enough to actually care about the endlessly pantomiming and retarded sounding characters.

I was young enough to still be scared by the haunting atmosphere and crazy-ass monsters.

Not only that, I was dumb enough to think I was “cool” ’cause I beat the game so many fucking times.

Seriously, I beat that game more times than I’d care to admit.  Yes, I have beaten Resident Evil 2 more than once in one sitting.

Although this guy probably has me beat.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make, is that, though I respect Capcom’s accomplishments with the 4th and 5th entries in the series, I would hate to see them fully discard the gameplay style of the older games in favor of the new.

Resident Evil 4 and 5 cast you as an action hero, an invincible, nigh infallible character that can’t leave a building without it exploding behind him.

Stallone: Man, Hero, WALKING EXPLOSION.

I’m sorry Capcom, but no matter how many times you tell me Secret Agent emo-swoosh haired Leon S. Kennedy is supposed to be badass, I simply won’t ever believe you.

No. Just, no.

Don’t get me started on Chris Redfield though.  Honestly, whoever designed his character model for Resident Evil 5 should get a big, fat, Blackanese slap to the face, ’cause what they did to him was just obscene.

Okay, so apparently Chris Redfield plays for the fuckin' New Orleans Saints in his spare time.

Remember when Leon got shot in Resident Evil 2?

He was injured so badly that he passed out.

Not only that, he wore bandages for the whole rest of the game as a reminder to the player that their homie done got shot.

"Ada, heads up! OoooooAAAAAAHHH!!!!"

How about that time when Rebecca had to make anti-venom serum for Chris in Resident Evil on account of him being to dumb to make his own?

Oh, I'm sorry. This picture has nothing to do with anything.

Moments of vulnerability in the player characters such as this were what made the survival-horror experience so much fun.

Thanks to savage-ass enemies like the Hunters, and in some cases the giant Ivy plants, players could find ways to drop dead around pretty much every corner.

"You! Human! I demand Clearasil...."

You were in mortal danger throughout the game, and there was little you could do about it except hoard ammo for your strongest weapon and pray you didn’t run out.

Resident Evil 4 and 5 give you money to buy bigger guns.

Good God I hope he's just selling watches.

Resident Evil 4 was great.

It was new, it was different, and everything it set out to do, it accomplished with flying colors.

On the whole, my heart holds no animosity towards Resident Evil 4…..  Although I am still upset with what they did with Leon’s character.

He was loud, naive and dumb in 2, how the fuck did he turn into James-Fucking-Kung-Fu/Knife-Fighting-Master-Bond by the time 4 rolled along?

Artist Rendering: James-Fucking-Kung-Fu/Knife-Fighting-Master-Bond

Anyway, my point is, 4 was good.

Resident Evil 5 however, bothered me.

I played the shit out of it, and enjoyed the experience quite a bit, but I was alarmed by how much content was recycled from the previous game.

Aside from the basic controls of the gameplay, little things like reused animations for the villager enemies were just a little bit strange to see given the platform transition to a whole new console generation.

In general, the game just felt exactly the same.

Even the level design was similar with the temple and military segments occurring at relatively the same point in the story.

That’s not a good thing when one game takes place in Spain and the other in a fictional region of Africa.

Pictured: Africa Butt-Raping Spain.

One HUGE objection I had to the storyline of Resident Evil 5, was it’s over-reliance on “Ouroboros” AKA those goddamn leeches from the decidedly below average Resident Evil 0.

Leeches.  Motherfucking giant leeches.

Remember how fun it was to fight the goddamn Mimickry Marcus in 0?

Wrong Marcus, but at least you're trying.

Well, guess what?  In 5, you get to fight a bigger version of him for virtually every boss fight!

Casting FACELESS giant leech monsters as a number of the bosses throughout the game robbed me of a lot of “wow” moments.

Yeah, not much to look at.

Part of the fun in previous Resident Evil games, was in always wondering what the fuck kinda’ crazy shit was gonna’ pop around the corner to tear off your face and use it as toilet paper.

The few times that Resident Evil 5 surprises you with it’s monster designs, you’re left not feeling blown away, but simply confused, as the unique creatures hardly fit into the game at all.

I'm lookin' at you random fuckin' crab boss...

While the gameplay mechanics one was required to utilize in combating these bosses was actually kind of fun, the lack of unique creature designs in Resident Evil 5 lead to me feeling that the game was a little dull from a visual standpoint.

Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are definitely next-gen, but the art on the other hand feels somewhat limited.

Well produced, just lacking in heart.

Man Lucas, I'm sorry to bring this one up again, but you had it coming.

Resident Evil 5 made a bold attempt at reaching out to its’ fans by inserting classic series villain Albert Wesker as the chief antagonist.

This worked out well for the games’ story by effectively tying together the “Las Plagas” storyline of 4, with the “Umbrella Corp” storyline of the older games, as well as the (crappy) “James Marcus” storyline of 0.

What it didn’t work out for me however, was the gameplay aspect of Wesker’s appearances in the game.

Third person shooters with clunky movement controls rarely benefit from having their final bosses be fast-moving, man-sized targets.

Just ask Syphon Filter.

Now THOSE are fuckin' next-gen graphics.

The problem with casting Wesker as the final boss, was the fact that it took the one real impressive graphical feat that the previous bosses had, namely their incredible size, and shit all over it.

Yeah, whatever. You'd still buy it.

The bosses in Resident Evil 5 are essentially glorified puzzles.

Though shooting them is at times an option, generally the way you are supposed to dispose of them is by finding what the game wants you to do to them, and do it over and over again.

In the case of the Bat Monster, the game wants you to make it walk onto some mines.

In the case of the Leech Monsters, ALL OF THEM, the game wants you to burn them when possible, and then shoot THE GIANT FUCKING GLOWING SPOT.

I ask you, when has it NOT been a good idea to shoot the BIG GLOWING FUCK-ME spots on an enemy?

And, in the case of Wesker, the game wants you to shoot him from out of sight, with a fucking rocket launcher, shoot the rocket (which he catches in his bare hands), and then punch him in the face until your partner can give him an injection.

Hah! You totally thought I was joking when I said he catches rockets, didn't you!?

While it was pretty to watch it all happen before me, the actual doing of fighting Wesker just plain felt dumb.

Requiring you to shoot Wesker from out of sight was Capcom’s lazy way of disallowing the player from simply standing in front of Wesker, taking aim, and shooting him in his noggin.

The way I see, if I can get a guy in my sights, and put a bullet in him, that should be a viable way of fighting, if not slowing him down.

But no, if you do this to Wesker, he simply enters an “evasive maneuver” animation cycle, thusly preventing you from landing any shots on him, even if they’re directed at his immobile legs.

Step-by-steo "shoot the hostage"

Maybe it’s just me being slightly spoiled by the prospect of next-gen consoles and their supposedly limitless potential, but when I see a viable solution to something as simple as shooting a bad guy in a game, I’d like to see the game at least try and give me a little leeway.

Of course, that isn’t REALLY the final battle, but the final battle in Resident Evil 5 sucked so bad that I’d rather not go into it right now.

The one thing in Resident Evil that I thought was TRULY FUCKING STUPID.

The final battles in the old Resident Evil games weren’t puzzles.

True, you had to use special weapons sometimes, or occasionally manipulate the environment a little to get the job done, but for the most part the whole experience came down to the player being forced to stand their ground and put rounds in some crazy, pissed-off mutant.

Pictured: A Crazy, Pissed-Off Mutant

It was simple and satisfying on a visceral level.

In short, it was more dramatic and horrifying, than it was bombastic and exciting.

Resident Evil 4 and 5 represent what happens when you let someone like Michael Bay mess with your franchise.

Actually, THIS is what you get in pretty much every Michael Bay movie. Fuckin' douche.

Wait a minute, this post was supposed to be about music, wasn’t it?

Well, going back to the Wesker battle, despite my general dissatisfaction with the whole experience, especially given the high-profile nature of the characters involved, one thing I will say is that it had some of the most epic and awesomely-good background music I’ve ever heard in a game:

Yeah, wow.

Resident Evil 5 was kind of enough to give us fully orchestrated tracks for most of it’s boss battles, with this one being easily the most impressive composition of the bunch.

Despite this, the majority of the soundtrack, outside of the orchestral work, is hardly memorable.

It was almost as if the music staff somehow exhausted themselves so much doing the awesome boss tracks, that they simply ran out of inspiration for the rest of the soundtrack.

Just listen here:

Personally, I thought this track was good and solid, just nothing to write home about.

In fact, “good and solid” seems to sum-up Resident Evil 5 in my eyes pretty well.

It’s by no means bad, in fact it’s pretty damn good, but the initial “wow” factor of Resident Evil 4 and it’s innumerable imitators, caused Resident Evil 5’s gameplay to become stale years before it’s release.

My gripes aside, hopefully you enjoyed the music, ’cause all this post was really supposed to be about before I went ahead and mucked things up.

Yeah, I do that sometimes.

With that, I leave you with Barry:

The REAL reason the old games are better...

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