GAME NAME: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 18 November 2011
Marvel vs Capcom 3 took almost ten years to release after the last outing, 2002′s Marvel vs. Capcom 2. But within months of getting the new one out Capcom announced that an Ultimate version would be released, much like the Super incremental updates for Street Fighter. UMvC 3 promised new characters, levels and improvements. Have the promises been delivered or is this just a minor update?
For those that did not experience any of the previous three releases, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 features characters both from the Marvel comic universe and the Capcom games universe. Players get to pick three fighters for their team with a choice of different assists which can be assigned to their team. In the arena players battle an opposing team, also consisting of three fighters, until all are knocked out or time runs out. So it is your typical 2D fighter. Sort of.
Where Ultimate MvC3 stands out is with it’s frenetic, fast paced action with incredible combos and insane special moves. Ultimate MvC3 comes with an extra twelve characters on top of the cast from the original release. If you download the two DLC characters this takes the roster up to a massive fifty characters. The characters are incredibly well balanced, each with a unique move-set, making it worthwhile playing with all the characters instead of just sticking with just a few favourites.
In MvC3 certain characters were overpowered and this resulted in these characters seeing far more use (spammers). Capcom have tweaked character balance to perfection for this one as they have revised stats and improved many of them to put them on par with the formerly-stronger characters. What that results in is a finely tuned experience where any player can win a fight no matter which fighters their team comprises.
Winning doesn’t just happen however (unless you are Charlie Sheen), some strategy is obviously needed and players will need to utilize their own strengths and pick characters based on that. Focusing on the new characters there is plenty to choose from. Rocket Raccoon, Dr Strange and Hawkeye have some excellent projectile attacks, while Nova and Iron Fist are stronger in close combat. Ghost Rider a bit of a mix. On the Capcom side you have the brute force of Nemesis, the diversity of Vergil and Firebrand (of Ghosts and Goblins), Strider’s speed, Frank West’s insanity (you can throw zombies at your opponent), not to mention the whimsical Phoenix Wright – OBJECTION!
The disappointment in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is in terms of the modes. The original seemed to lack in this area and while hopes were high that the new version would add some new modes, this has not happened. Offline modes include the Arcade mode where you fight your way until the final boss and Missions are a set of challenges for each character. There is also a training mode where players can practice with a particular character to hone their skills. Online modes include ranked and unranked, with the option of creating a lobby for all your friends to join. Added is the ability to watch a match online while you wait which is a nice touch and gives players an opportunity to suss out the competition.
Ultimate MvC3 has wonderfully colourful visuals, emphasized by the largely detailed backgrounds on each level. Each character has a unique ending with more to be unlocked, while there are plenty of other things to unlock including titles, artwork, and costumes.
It is hard to argue against the fact that Ultimate MvC3 came a bit too soon after the original but it is here and is better in nearly every single way. It isn’t simply a roster update, it is a full update of all aspects. But it is still an update and owners of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will have to decide just how much they want this incremental release. One thing remains constant and that is the pure scintillating fun that is provided by Ultimate MvC3. A game like this could easily last us another ten years but hopefully Capcom won’t make us wait that long.