Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now
ESRB: T for Teen
Review based off of Playstation 3 version
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is pretty much what you expect from the Marvel vs. Capcom series: blistering tag-team matches, insane visual effects, and intricate combo-centric play styled beat downs being the status quo.
The core mechanics of the UMvC 3 is akin to its non-ultimate version, but with some slight but altogether welcomed alterations. The first is also the most noticeable: the roster is huge. From the paltry line-up of the previous title, the cast has almost doubled in size with some rather welcome returns in the form of Strider and some positively surprising entries onto the fighting stage.
Of the 12 additional inclusions, each all come off as unique and fun to use as either an experimental phase or even build up as your main fighter. On the Capcom side, aside from veteran Strider comes new combatants like Vergil from Devil May Cry, Nemesis from Resident Evil, Firebrand of Ghosts n“ Goblins lore, Frank West making his second fighting game appearance after Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and ace attorney Phoenix Wright.
On the Marvel end of the spectrum comes Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, and two left-field editions in the form of Nova and Rocket Raccoon who is literally a walking, talking, and belligerent raccoon with a penchant for fire arms and elaborate traps.
The new faces all play wonderfully and have some unique aspects to their game that makes them all a viable and serious fighter in the right hands. Rocket Raccoon for instance has several â€œtrap attacksâ€ like mines, log swings, and even electric nets that can be used to bait and zone his foes. In addition he is one of the smallest and most maneuverable of the roster making him a perfect hit and run type. Ghost Rider can use his chains to master the mid-range field making for a dangerous keep-away character. Devil May Cry“s Vergil plays like a faster more technical version of Dante. And even Frank West and Phoenix Wright can be made into power houses (though that may require a lot of time and practice).
I only wished that they included some more female characters in the new line-up. I“m still holding out for my beloved Psylocke and Rogue to make their triumphant return. You also now have the option of playing as Galactus, but after a few rounds of him, things get a little boring.
Even the returning cast gets an update. All the original members received tweaks and adjustments. Some get new attacks or rebalanced. Ryu for instance now has new â€œrage modeâ€ which allows him ricochet his hadokens off walls and he can also rapid fire his hadokens in quick bursts. Other characters like femme-Wolverine X-23 had her claw dash attacks range reduced but she can now do two in succession in different directions making her even volatile up close. Every character in the roster is nicely balanced and makes for a solid team up when you begin forming your three person squad.
The fighting system also got some modifications as well. X-factors can now be activated in the air and certain super combos of characters can get added damage by button-mashing. In addition the all-mighty air combo set up which is the bread and butter of any UMvC 3 offensive now gives perks depending on which direction you send your foe: upwards does extra damage, bouncing them off the wall removes one super bar from your foe, and knocking them to the ground adds one level to your super meter. This adds a lot more strategy in the air and can effectively crush the play style of fighters who are reliant on super combos (*cough*Dark Phoenix*cough*). However this also makes it easier for your opponent to predict which one you are about to do and can better counter it.
These new additions on top of the staple features like cross over assists, team super combos, advancing guards, and the like make for a bit more of a technical fight this time around. Though do not let this fool you into thinking that the action has lost speed. Battles are just as hectic, rush-down focused, and visually stimulating as ever before. With this in mind, it baffles me that they did not include a tutorial in game. While they are already extensive on line guides that go over every minutia, I would have appreciated at least a primer mode to help ease the learning curve as opposed to just throwing you into the deep end.
Another place that got a face lift was the stages. The game now features some new locales like the Hand hideout with Dare Devil watching over the battle, the danger room, and a sweet black and white remixed version of the Ghosts n“ Goblin stage to name a few. My only qualm is that they didn“t include enough new areas.
Along with the in-house features, their online gaming system got some new touches as well. Fights run a lot smoother, lobbies are less chaotic, and there also is a spectator mode to watch other people fight it out as you wait for your turn. There also is a whole new mode called â€œHeroes and Heraldsâ€ which is a solo or team based mode where you can augment your powers and stats with collectable cards. Each card has different traits and affects like increased speed, longer X-factor, or status effects on your foes. While this mode can make your team extremely overpowered, it is more for fun than actual competitive play. And for the collection nut out there, there are 100 cards to unlock and collect making for a nice â€œgotta catch ”em allâ€ mentality.
While all these additions and the reduced price point of $39.99 make for a no-brainer buy for those new to the series, people who have already logged heavy time on the previous one may find it a tougher pill to swallow. Aside from the tweaks and characters, the core game is essentially the same. It is rather unfortunate that it couldn“t have a DLC option because now the original Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is pretty much moot. These gripes aside however, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the definitive and dare I say, true sequel to the Marvel vs. Capcom series fans have been waiting for.
+ Looks incredible
+ New roster inclusions are welcome and fresh
+ New mechanics add nuance and fresh tactics
- Not that much of a jump from Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Lack of tutorial
- Tough break for those who bought the original
Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10)
If you“re new to the series, this a definite must-buy for any fighting fan, but for those who played the original, it may be a tougher sell to justify buying another disc.