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Marvel vs. Capcom 3

I guess I've been kinda MIA lately, but there hasn't been a lot to talk about. I suppose I've been biding my time until the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tonight. I remember seeing the first teaser trailer for it sometime last year, after I had moved out of my old place but before I'd found a new home. Things were busy for a while so I wasn't keeping up with it at first, but soon got sucked in and just HAD to know EVERYTHING about the game every second of the day. Kind of a productivity killer...

But now, it's finally out! After braving all the teases, official news, leaks, fake leaks, and message board drama, it's all finally over. I haven't anticipated a game this eagerly for a long time. Probably the last one was Super Smash Bros. Brawl, another crossover game...

So I went to a midnight launch, probably the only reason I opted to get it from a local retailer. Somehow getting it those few hours earlier seems less significant after all the people who've gotten early copies over the past couple of weeks... But it was still fun.

There weren't many people at the one I attended, but it was really refreshing playing the game with a bunch of strangers who barely knew a thing about the game. It was just a nice contrast to the information overload I was exposed to, I suppose... People not knowing who some characters were, or the backgrounds of other characters, or seeing new moves they'd never heard of... Even though none of it was new to me, it was still just plain fun being a part of that group and partaking in the wonderment around me. It truly reminded me of the old days when I would just meet up and play games with friends, not knowing everything, and just discovering new things each day...

However, no videos or articles I've seen online could adequately prepare me for the real thing. Feeling the game, rather than just watching it, is an amazing experience that washes away any doubt you ever had about it. Every character was interesting and unique. It was just sheer plain fun. Also, finally seeing the game live and in person delivered an amazing fluidity of motion that's lost in almost every online video, with their subpar frame rates.

And on top of that, it was yet another experience actually taking the game home and playing it there. At the midnight launch, there was just a dinky TV that we all strained to read the text on. It didn't make it any less fun, but it did detract from the full experience I found myself immersed in at home. With a bigger, clearer screen, and fuller sound, it added yet another dimension to the game. Everything about the game just screamed of a truly professional, lovingly-crafted quality. The richness of the music really came alive, and even the subtle sound effects added a surprising level of impact. That tiny fanfare in Tron Bonne's win pose, or the buzz of Zero's sword... Every little thing was a burst of obvious affection someone had poured into this game.

Though I did try getting more familiar with the characters before the release, I still am not that well acquainted with everyone. The Mega Man games I've played the most have been in the Battle Network series, so most of my familiarity with Tron is from Marvel vs. Capcom 2. And although I picked up a copy of Devil May Cry 4 on sale, I still have yet to actually play a game in the series, and so I mostly know Dante from a sampler DVD of the anime series. And yet there was still enough recognizability in the bits of personality displayed, from Tron pitying Ryu's poverty to Dante worrying about who'd pick up the bill for damages.

And the final boss, as much as has already been spoiled, even on the easiest difficulty, still doesn't fail to deliver an incredible sense of spine-tingling awe.

I've only taken a quick pass through Arcade mode and a single online match. While I had trouble connecting to another player, the match went smoothly once I finally had it. It's still early, and I've barely scratched the surface of the game, but already it is meeting all my expectations and more. The only complaint one could muster is that it leaves you forever wanting MORE. You want to play more matches, learn more techniques. You want to see more interactions and funny quotes. You want more stages, more music, more playable characters, more everything. This truly feels like a case of a series actually evolving, rather than incrementing, and it makes you feel hopeful that there will forever be more waiting somewhere down the line.

This is truly the sequel MvC2 fans have waited over a decade for, more than we could have ever realized. Good game, Capcom.

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