Hands-On: Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Unveils New Characters and “X-Factor” Feature

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If fighting games have taught us anything, it’s that any dispute can solved with a roundhouse kick.

No, wait… If fighting games have really taught us anything, it’s that fighters come in all shapes and sizes. Skill level, too, varies and Capcom’s introducing a feature that will let even the most neophyte of warriors have a fighting chance against an opponent.

(More on TIME.com: Captivate 2010: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Pits Resident Evil’s Chris against the Hulk)

The third installment of the comics-and-consoles lets players assemble three-on-three teams of characters from the Capcom and Marvel universes and lets them have at it with a dizzying array of kicks, punches and super-moves. Nothing new there. But what is new is the game’s X-Factor feature, a boost that can be triggered at any time during a match. It’s kind of a last-gasp mechanic that creates a heightened state where a player’s surviving characters get speed and damage augmented by 200-300%, with an additional healing buff in certain instances. The healing will only work on the character currently actoive in the match.

If you’ve ever been down to your last fighter against a player who’s just trouncing you, it’s immediately apparent how appealing X-Factor might be. But Capcom’s Seth Killian said that you wont be able to just spam the feature and bull to victory, as it can only be used once during a match. There’s a risk/reward component to X-Factor, too: the longer you wait to use it, the longer the performance-enhancing effect lasts and the effect is stronger for the fewer remaining fighters you have.

The publisher’s also released new screens depicting yet another two characters who’ll be available to fight with: a Battle Suit version of Jill from Resident Evil, who’s sporting an all-new move set when compared to the Jill from MvC2 and Shuma-Gorath, a minor Marvel villain in the demonic vein.

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Overall–with the X-Factor feature and a Simple Mode that takes the labor out of launching those ridiculously fun, epic combos–MvC3 seems more dedicated to delivering a balanced and inviting experience to newbie and casual players. The game’s out in two weeks for PS3 and Xbox 360.

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