It’s All in the Execution

Marvel vs Capcom 3 successfully captures the look a fighting game about Ryu fighting Captain America targeted towards American audiences wants to have. It’s a grittier style when compared to the one used in Tatsunoko vs Capcom, which makes perfect sense. MvC3‘s aesthetic step in the right direction however reminded me of a similar attempt not so long ago, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe was an aesthetic failure. Just like MvC3, the game looked to bring together two sets of characters by uniting them under a more realistic visual style, but the end product was just a series of awkwardly stiff 3-d models and jerky animations.

What is going on with that torso?

Worse yet were the Fatalities, that classic trademark of the Mortal Kombat franchise, the violent killing blows which defined the series in the eyes of so many gamers. In MKvsDC, the Fatalities were not only toned down in brutality but also terribly uncreative regardless of the level of violence, especially when compared to the stylish Instant Kills of games like Blazblue.

My goal isn’t to just trash MKvsDC though, and of course I can’t really compare the gameplay to a game that isn’t actually out yet. I just wanted to point out that it’s amazing just how much two different projects came aim for the same basic goal and produce such different results. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is exactly what Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe wanted to be.

For comparison:

2 thoughts on “It’s All in the Execution

  1. Aesthetics aside, gameplay and system mechanics should come first in a fighting game. Melty Blood Actress Again has only 2d pixelated sprites but its one of the best fighting games I’ve played.


  2. The pit that MKvs.DC falls into is the exact same pit that has been trapping a lot of western games – that less colour – more muddy browns and greys – somehow make a game look more gritty, darker, and edgier. It’s the “realism” trap – reality doesn’t visually pop at you in the way games like Blazblue and Marvel vs. Capcom does. Reality looks… well real. And bland, usually. It suffers from trying to go in too many different directions.

    The biggest irony is that Marvel vs. Capcom achieves a gritty, darker, and edgier look not by fading colours, but rather increasing their intensity – turning up contrast and saturation to maximum levels. Blazblue does the same – both games have a very high use of colour.

    I’m interested to see how MvC3 will turn out gameplay-wise myself – the series has always existed in something of an inbetween niche between the tight zoning and footwork of the Street Fighter and King of Fighters series, and the fast paced aerial battles of the Guilty Gear/Blazblue/Melty Blood “abare” type fighters.

    Considering the recent emphasis on making fighting games easier in mechanical execution, but with more emphasis on tactical decision making, I’m curious to see what Capcom will introduce in this title. Blazblue and Street Fighter IV, by way of example, are considered far simpler to pick up and begin playing than their predecessors in terms of special move execution, and both claim to attempt to retain an emphasis on strategic depth (whether or not this is actually the case is a popular subject of debate though).


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