Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review

Our Rating
out of 5.0

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

Released earlier this year, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 gave the gaming community one of the best arcade-style fighters this generation.  Met with massive praise, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 soon became the premiere fighting game in tournaments, and right there Capcom knew their famed franchise was back.  However there were balance issues, online problems, pieces missing from the game, and as fans of the series quickly noticed, the character selection screen didn’t have as many choices as they were used to.  With the release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (UMvC3), Capcom hopes to fix many of the perceived issues.  However, the question then becomes:  Has Capcom released another stellar fighter to add to our library or does UMvC3 fall flat?

The first thing the player will notice is the new menu system, which is laid out just like a comic book, and when selecting your team it’s laid out to between the two worlds.  For those unfamiliar with Capcom’s fighting engine, it’s a 3D engine with life-like, dynamic stages and gorgeous character models all set in a strict 2D play style.  The game includes twelve new characters, six from each universe, bringing the total to 48 characters.  Some of these additions were actually chosen by the fanbase on Capcom’s forums.  Strider makes a return to kick butt, and we now have Hawkeye and Doctor Strange to do battle against Virgil from Devil May Cry, and even a fan favorite Phoenix Wright, just to name a few.

Each character offers a different play style which allows you to create the best possible team to suit your fighting style.  For example, Frank West, the zombie murderer of Dead Rising will throw zombies at opponents and take their photograph to perform a snap back, a move which will throw his opponent out of play and brings in another.  Phoenix Wright, on the other hand, will have his assistant attack, have a Judge yell “Order”, or even throw papers at you – a total fan service for the die-hard fans of Ace Attorney which works wonderfully within the fast-paced combat.  However, it is pointless to say which new characters make the best teams, as each player’s style is different, so various combinations will work better for some people than they will for others.

Despite all of the new  additions to the  character roster, the game is still shorter than MvC2! Furthermore, to the surprise of many gamers, Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath aren’t even on the disc, and they were the only two DLC characters released by Capcom for MvC3.  While those who originally bought the two characters will be happy (since UMvC3 will sync all previously purchased DLC ), it’s horribly disappointing (and odd) that this version lacks content from its predecessor.  We can only hope that more characters appear in future downloadable content;  The players want it, Capcom, and they have money!

One issue players had with MvC3 was the balancing.  For the first couple months it felt like all you ran into online were Deadpool, Dante, and Phoenix, among others, because they were simply overpowered, and you would lose if you did not use them.  This has all been addressed on each character of the roster. Hulk’s gamma attacks now do more damage, Iron Man can no longer double jump, Akuma has less health, and so on and so forth.  I also found out, while button mashing, that the player can now use X-Factor while in the air.  X-Factor was a pretty controversial addition to the series when it was introduced in MvC3, because it allowed players to “pop” their teams (increase health, damage and attack speed) for a brief time.  The reason this generated a lot of debate was that a lot of fans found that they could be clearly winning a round, only to have their opponent “pop” their X-Factor and steal what had previously been a decisive victory.  It’s also easier to land an aerial exchange counter, so while the game will still kick your butt, difficulty issues or ease of attacks have been adjusted to again allow both newcomers and veterans to enjoy UMvC3.  One of the benefits to playing this game is that it welcomes new-comers compared to most other fighting franchises. With the simple three-button layout of light, medium and heavy attacks, new players and veterans can still develop and learn strategies and moves from the control scheme.

Gamers who want to test their skill can venture online against others.  After spending quite a bit of time online, I found there were a few improvements and additions in comparison to MvC3. While lag issues and delays were abundant in the original MvC3, I didn’t encounter any of these problems during my online time with UMvC3.  This was an extremely important fix, as lag is a common frustration in many competitive games.

One of the additions I particularly enjoyed in UMvC3 online was the Spectator Mode.  With the ability to watch other matches added to UMvC3, you and up to five other players can join in the lobby and watch two people kick the crap out of each other. While doing so, you may notice the eight novel stages in the game to go along with the new supporting cast. The backdrops are still filled with vibrant-colorful characters and animations players have grown to love from MvC3. Capcom has also tweaked the HUD around a bit – and not for the better.  The health bars have been changed – especially those that indicate your inactive team members’ statuses.  With how quick and flashy the game is, it has become more difficult to see your team’s health.

Luckily, sound is identical to the original aside from the additions to the new characters and stages. Quick, sharp quips are made throughout the fight for each character. Frank West complains about the zombies attacking him, Deadpool hits you with his charm, and Hulk makes his presence known with his trademark yelling. The presentation music is of typical Capcom fashion with generic guitar riffs and shouts when you make your selection.

So, is this the game the die-hard fighting fans were really waiting for or is this just a way to resell the same game with the features we initially expected? Well, it depends on what you are wanting out of the game.  After all, we are buying it for the fighting – that’s what it’s about. If you skipped on MvC3 when it released and are interested now, then yes, buy this game. It’s still a fantastic game to play, boasting incredibly deep characters that you’ll have trouble deciding which your favorite is. However, if you only played casually, and the balancing issues were something you never noticed, I’d rethink on buying it right now. In the end, if you’re an existing owner of MvC3,  you will be left wanting more and wondering if Capcom did this just for a cash grab, especially in a generation of DLC.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 receives a  4.5/5

Our Rating
out of 5.0

About This Post

December 5, 2011 - 8:30 am