Never owned an Axe FX 3, but I had the AFX 2 for awhile and I loved it. It did, to my ears, sound just that little bit more complex and chewy than Helix. But. Helix sounds great to me to, and I can pretty much only hear the difference when I'm scrutinizing soloed tracks. In a mix, when I'm caught up playing, and live, the difference is negligible to me. And with Helix Native, I have one platform for EVERYTHING (jamming, gigging, recording, practicing), and not having to re-amp is priceless. For all those reasons, Helix is the best of all worlds for me at the moment. If there was a Fractal VST, I'd be all over that like white on rice, but I think Line 6 is the first and only company to have hit it out of the park on that front. I look forward to more companies doing that though... competition is always good for the consumer.