Comparative Review: MvC3 vs MKvDCU vs XM:ND

So, I recently picked up a PS3, and one of the games I bought with the system to give me something to play was Marvel vs Capcom 3. I also grabbed Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe because that was one of the games that I really regretted not being able to play. And I’ve played them both a bit.

Now, when it comes to reviewing fighting games, I shouldn’t be the one to review them. This is for two reasons:

1) I’m not all that great at fighting games, and so always play them on easy, meaning that you aren’t going to get any comment on how good the AI is.

2)I like stories, and so the reason I buy and play them is to get through their stories, which may not be what most fighting game fans are looking for.

That being said, I can do what I’m calling “Comparative Review”, where I pick out categories and rate the games relative to each other on the things that I subjectively think are important and how they feel to me. I’m not going to pretend to be objective here, although there’s some objectivity involved. And I’m not going to claim that, at the end of this comparative review, fighting game fans will know what game they should buy or play. But hopefully it’ll be interesting.

For this one, I’d like to compare superhero-oriented fighting games, and so, the three games are:

Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, and an old PS2 game, X-Men: The Next Dimension.

So, let’s get started…

Graphics:

MvC3: The graphics are flat panel drawings, like pretty much all Street Fight or Capcom fighting games. And they aren’t impressive. In any way. They’re dull and boring. The artwork for the characters isn’t all that great either; I found myself wishing, for example, for all the different costumes and images of Wolverine that you’d find in other games, since here he looked a bit off. That being said, it is in high definition and so looks nicely sharp; it’s just that there’s not much for it to look sharp about.

MKvDCU: As befits Mortal Kombat, it’s done in a fairly realistic, 3-D style. The characters look good, and the environments impressive at times. The backgrounds are interesting and detailed. Yeah, it’s pretty.

XM:ND: This was also done in a 3-D style. And it’s done pretty well. The characters look interesting, but the 3-D work can look odd at the end of fight mocking. The backgrounds, though, are done well.

Ranking:
1) MKvDCU
2) XM:ND
3) MvC3

Cutscenes:

MvC3: The end-of-fight cutscenes are the typical still picture with a comment underneath it. Ho-hum, nothing to see here.

MKvDCU: There aren’t really any cutscenes in the arcade mode, other than moving up the “ladder”. I’ll leave the story mode cutscenes to the story section. Not much to see here.

XM:ND: There’s not much here either … except that in arcade mode you stay in one location for a while, and they have a cutscene when you change locations officially, which is really nice.

Rank:
1) XM:ND
2) MvC3
3) MKvDCU

Sound/Voicework:

MvC3: Characters get their own lead-ins and victory comments voiced, as well as their special moves. A nice touch is that there are special voiceovers when certain characters meet — like, say, Wolverine and Phoenix — but this is minimized by the mechanic of having three fighters aside that tag in and out — see, because it’s the THIRD game — and only if they happen to align with each other at the beginning does the line kick off. The voice acting does a decent job.

MKvDCU: Few moves are voiced; it’s overall fairly silent. Arcade mode doesn’t seem to have intro and exit voiceovers. The story mode, however, has tons of voiceovers, which are reasonably good and done reasonably well, although Batman’s voice is a bit of a disappointment (although it does grow on you a bit).

XM:ND: It’s about the same in arcade mode as MvC3, although it doesn’t seem to have special voiceovers for critical meetings. The story mode obviously has more voiceovers and acting.

Ranking:
1) MKvDCU
2) XM:ND
3) MvC3

Moves:

MvC3: It has a fair number of moves, and the moves are reasonably easy to pull off, most of the time, for at least a lot of the characters.

MKvDCU: There are a decent number of moves, but they’re harder to pull off than those in MvC3.

XM:ND: A decent number of moves, including different ones for each level of charge. Varies on how easy they are to pull off.

Ranking :
1)MvC3
2)XM:ND
3)MKvDCU
(but they’re all really, really close).

Story:

MvC3: There’s kinda a story here in the arcade mode. It’s terrible. And you can’t even make your own story from the arcade combinations because the combinations of combatants make no sense. Yeah.

MkvDCU: The story mode proceeds from both sides — like MvC3 SHOULD have done — and is interesting. The cutscenes after each section really spell it out so that you don’t really have to think about it in the combats. Quite well done.

XM:ND: The story is good, and the fights adapt to the part of the story you’re in. There are cutscenes that work reasonably well. Overall, done well.

Ranking :
1)MKvDCU
2)XM:ND
1553) (okay, okay, 3) MvC3.

So, the scores will reflect the totals of their RANKINGS, and so the lower it is, the better it ranked throughout the review.

Totals:

MvC: 3 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 3 = 2.40 (average)

MKvDCU: 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 1.80(average)

XM:ND: 2 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 1.80 (average)

So, based on this comparative review, you get XM:ND = MKvDCU > MvC3, mostly because XM: ND wasn’t the worst in any category (it would have been the worst in graphics if MvC3 hadn’t been so poor in its art) and took the cutscenes category while MKvDCU didn’t bother to show up.

So, if you’re looking for a decent fighting game, you could do worse than loading up the old PS2 and playing XM: ND again. Specifically, you could try to play MvC3. MKvDCU, however, is certainly worth playing if you like superheroes and fighting games.

For Capcom’s sake, I hope the latest Street Fighter game did a better job. MvC3 strikes me as an afterthought, and I hope that it was an afterthought to that game.

The specific breakdown, then, is that MvC3 finished last — and thus, behind a PS2 game — in three categories ( Graphics, Story and Sound/Voicework) while taking the very close Moves category and finishing second to XM: ND in the Cutscenes category that, as already stated, MKvDCU didn’t even bother to complete in. MKvDCU finished last in two categories (Cutscenes and the really close, too close to call, Moves category) while taking three categories (Sound/Voicework, Graphics and Story). XM: ND was better than at least one of the next gen games in all categories, and took the Cutscenes category.

Sometimes, new isn’t always better.

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