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Marvel vs Capcom 3's art style: Disappointing?

I'm a massive fan of Marvel vs Capcom. Heck, my GCSE 10-hour art exam piece featured Sega Saturn Magazine lying open at the Marvel vs Capcom review page. I've got the sequel on Dreamcast and XBLA, and have two fighting sticks ready to go for when the threequel comes out. But while my excitement for the title went into overdrive on seeing gameplay footage (and Amaterasu), I'm starting to think the art style is slightly... well, wrong.

The characters seem too hardened. There's no softness to Amaterasu, who has always been a powerful yet gentle character. The vacant look in the eyes, the snarling mouth... it's just too cold.


Above: If Kratos were a dog, he'd look like this. Ammy, where are you?

Likewise with characters like Felicia. We know her as the cute, playful little minx from the Darkstalkers series. Now she's got realistic thigh proportions, she just looks... well, like a cosplay girl who realises she's bared just a bit too much flesh but is trying not to let on:


Above: Felicia now looks cold, naked and not at all like the bundle of fun we're used to seeing in her 2D games

Then there's the muscular style of all the characters. Flat blocks of colour seem to make up pectoral muscles, brows seem unnecessarily furrowed... it's almost like it's 2004 again and everyone's been given an angsty new persona. There's so much darkness and shadow. Granted, the detail level is absolutely phenomenal, but the overall effect while things are moving is of dark and anger, not the bold, colourful explosion Marvel vs Capcom 2 always was. Look at this for colour:


Above: That's more like it - Marvel vs Capcom 2 in all its glory

And compare it to the duller style of the new game:


Above: Despite the fireworks (literally), MvC3 looks stark compared to the gorgeous colour blends of MvC2

The bottom line is that, impressive though it is, it's not as gloriously ebullient as MvC2. And when MvC2 still looks flippin' spectacular 10 years on, it seems a bit odd that so little of its DNA has been retained.


Above: Clearly the new Chun Li looks incredible - that's not in dispute. But she's nothing like her old self

All of this is purely cosmetic, of course. And if you're studying the graphics while you play, you're playing it wrong. If the game captures the chaotic feel of its predecessor but maintain's SFIV's glorious current-gen gloss, it will be one of the greatest games ever made. But that nagging feeling remains that, after all this time waiting for a third entry in the MvC series, Capcom's art team could have been a little more faithful to it.

Do you agree? Or do you think the game actually has a better style now? Let us know in the comments.

30 Jul, 2010

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64 comments

  • Twizinator - August 14, 2010 3:22 a.m.

    I don't suppose a Hunter from the Monster Hunter series has a shot at being a character, huh? that would be awesome!
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - August 2, 2010 1:25 a.m.

    I think there should be a colo(u)r variation bar in the menus, so you can have as little or as much vibrancy as you like. Or at least an "MvC2" setting. Screw seriousness and gritty colo(u)rs, this is about comic book heroes, sun goddesses who use brushes as weapons, and guys who throw fire! Bring back the LIFE and SOUL!
  • Clovin64 - August 1, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    I think it looks cool. A little dark, yes. But still colourful. I noticed Amaterasu's face expression a little earlier. She looks a lot angrier than usual. The Ammy I know and love always had a face expression of complete calm and peace. The previous games 2D graphics do look wonderful though. I just finished Final fantasy 6 about an hour ago, so right now I once again love colourful cute little 2D sprites. Daaaawwwww...
  • Love - July 31, 2010 10:27 p.m.

    In a way I do agree with you the duller, bolder graphics and color is a little dissapointing but I also feel that some of the characters can benefit from this new style for example Dante I think benefits from this new style because the game and his character come from a tone and the same goes to deadpool (I don't recall deadpool being in MvC 2. Im not saying everyone benefit from the new look (like Amaterasu) but I think we wont really pay too much attention to the new style when whe start playing it
  • philipshaw - July 31, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    I love the art style, makes it look current gen but at the same time old school
  • PanicJester - July 31, 2010 7:44 a.m.

    As soon as i heard they were doing another mvc i figuered they would use the street fighter IV look which i personaly hated, i think its the black cell shading around the characters. i prefer the 2d anime look over the 3d plastic action figuers. i will probably get this game regardless, but its going to be hard not to study the graphics when i get feeling the game is going to feel like a cheap chinese conterfiet.
  • RebornKusabi - July 31, 2010 5:45 a.m.

    "I love me some Street Fighter but I'm just really [[not]] a fan, at all, of the insanely over-exaggerated character models and their almost uncanny valley like proportions. However that comes down to personal taste and [[it]] doesn't exactly contribute to the 2D vs. 3D conversation at hand in many ways" Spelling and grammar corrections...
  • RebornKusabi - July 31, 2010 5:44 a.m.

    Playing through Blaz Blue right now after playing through both Street Fighter 4 games, I honestly have to say that there's a reason why people prefer 2D to 3D models. When you're playing these games on HDTV's, there's something incredibly crisp and clear about 2D, "sprite", animations that's so inherently attractive to the viewer especially if it's a viewer who isn't currently playing the game. I love me some Street Fighter but I'm just really now a fan, at all, of the insanely over-exaggerated character models and their almost uncanny valley like proportions. However that comes down to personal taste and doesn't exactly contribute to the 2D vs. 3D conversation at hand in many ways. I don't know; I agree with this article midway and then disagree with it the rest of the way on the loop back to agreeing with it again lol
  • latonio - July 31, 2010 1:36 a.m.

    you people are a bunch of idiots. i love the new art style. i would never buy a game that looks like mvc2 and you would either. as good as the tech is now their is no need to have a good fighting game with crappy visuals. ssf4 didn't look the same as it did back then and you bought it with nothing to say about how the visuals look new or old. so shut up talking about how so and so don't look the same and wait til the game come out andbuy like you are anyway. and when that time come costumes aren't going to matter to any of you so called fanboys.
  • Danomeon - July 30, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    I love the colors of the new game. The stages we've seen so far are all so vibrant and pretty. I like it, personally. The characters like poor ama are a little off, but I think that the game looks nice enough in motion.
  • atroublingabsenceofbadgers - July 30, 2010 10:14 p.m.

    Yeah, they look less detailed and... off. Like plastic figures with less texture compared to MvC2's gorgeous paintings.
  • Valntyne - July 30, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    Since day one I saw MVC3 I've felt something "off" with the way it looks, I call it the "Street Fighter Movie" Effect, Meaning; just because a character looks good in sprite form not necessarily means it would look good through a more "realistic" filter. I feel that's the case with MVC3, but don't get me wrong this is a day one buy for me nonetheless. But, yeah Mr. Towell I feel ya'
  • foxyexplosion - July 30, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    I agree with justin here. The use of blacks and shadows seems oppressive and the characters dont stick out as much as I like in my fighters. I blame it on paying too much attention to details. With foreground and background edges delving into detail the intricacies blend and blur with motion making true forms hard to track. Maybe its not this game specifically and its mostly a hate for fighting details garnered from the soul calibur IV
  • DryvBy - July 30, 2010 10 p.m.

    Love the new art. Sprites are for the past.
  • Ravenbom - July 30, 2010 9:56 p.m.

    Amaterasu looks different but that's largely because her game had this Japanese silkscreen filter on the whole time. She's never going to look the same without that filter. Even between the PS2 and Wii versions people complained about the look because that filter was changed a bit.
  • Darkhawk - July 30, 2010 9:51 p.m.

    Unrelated, but what worries me right now is that none of the Ammy specials shown in the footage have her using the celestial brush. What gives? reC: Insurance Nicole
  • 510BrotherPanda - July 30, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    Like I said in one of the other MvC 3 articles, they should have kept the Okami ink style for her, and did different things with the comic characters. What if it was the old comic printing technique of overlaying different layers of magenta, cyan and yellow dots over each other? and depending on the amount of remain health bar, you could literally knock the colors out of your opponent? I still like the old, cheerier colors of the old MvC/ CAPvSNK, but they could smooth out the pixels with the HD.
  • TheWebSwinger - July 30, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    I absolutely agree. I was really disappointed when they revealed the art style, I was hoping for gorgeous, colorful, comic-book style sprites.
  • McNeelyJ - July 30, 2010 6:58 p.m.

    I think Felicia would look better if it was fur instead of white spandex for her forearms and lower legs.
  • super0sonic - July 30, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    I like how it looks a lot.

Showing 1-20 of 64 comments

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