Capcom are the kings of frenetic, carpel-tunnel inducing fighting games. They are also the kings of selling you those games multiple times. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a super-sized revision of one of the best fighting games of the last few years. The original Marvel vs Capcom 3 came out earlier this year, but that proximity doesn’t do anything to lessen the impact of its brand new counterpart.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 brings a dozen new characters to the fun, as well as opening up several new levels to fight on and addresses a whole mess of balancing issues. The whole package is available for the lower price of forty bucks, and offers the most complete version of the game possible.
This sort of re-release might seem odd in the age of the DLC, but the additions to the game and the refinement of its engine are so robust that they needed to send the game back out as a new disc. Thankfully, Capcom had mercy on us by giving the game a budget rate, but the lowered retail price is only one of the game’s many high points. All twelve of the new characters offer some sort of exciting game play gimmick or interesting in-game look, with Rocket Raccoon being one of the most oddball and Hawkeye providing the most fun.
This review is going to assume you have at least a passing knowledge of the original Marvel vs Capcom 3. If you are brand new to the game you should read our review of the original first to give this game it’s proper context.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is very much still the fast paced brawler that defined its predecessor. Insane combos can still be strung together for severe devastation, assuming your timing is perfect, and, much like the original, a button masher is almost guaranteed to land a few good hits too. Top tier players always hate that, but one of the game’s biggest strengths is the fact that anyone can pick it up and have a fighting chance.
One of the key elements of that competitive balance was the simpler characters who are easy to use and can deal out a ton of damage. The existing “cheesy” characters have been tweaked to lessen their dominance, but the game added a few more to have fun with.
First among the mega powerful new characters is Resident Evil villain Nemesis, a giant, physical brute who also has ranged attacks. Ghost Rider is also a powerful and easier to use character, whose ranged chain whip takes up most of the screen. While not as strong as the others, Nova is a simpler character who’s combos are easy enough to pull off.
Aside from the mega powerful, the game also has several new characters who are a blast play with. My personal favorite of the new bunch is Hawkeye, who has already found a home in my “A-team.” His blend of ranged archery and quick acrobatic attacks make him one of the more fun characters to play as. From the Capcom side of things, Strider is a returning favorite from the past Marvel vs Capcom games and it is clear from playing with him why he was so popular. I also had a blast playing with Virgil from the Devil May Cry series, he is like a more complex version of Dante, but plays much more in a style I enjoy.
The game also features newcomers Doctor Strange, Frank West and Iron First. All three play very differently, with Doctor Strange having magical based powers that can be rather difficult to nail mid-combat. Frank West is a really interesting character, he can be played relativity easily, but he has a level up system that involves taking pictures. West can be good for beginners but needs an advanced player to really take advantage of his abilities. Iron Fist on the other hand is a quick fisted ninja that really needs to be played by fast fingered pros or anyone using an arcade style fight stick.
Of course, Capcom also caps off the new roster with some kooky choices that can’t help but put a smile on people’s faces. Rocket Raccoon is an obscure, but severely awesome, Marvel character and in this game he can hold his own. He plays a lot like the other diminutive Marvel vs Capcom characters Viewtiful Joe and Arthur, but for me he packs much more of a punch. Speaking of Arthur, one of his foes, Firebrand, makes his way into the game.
He is a fast paced little bugger who likes air combos, this is another advanced type character. Finally we come to the oddest of all the new additions, Phoenix Wright. This Ace Attorney uses his assistant and dog to do most of his attacking, otherwise his hits are via slipping, paper throwing or sneezing. Yes, sneezing.
Story and Presentation:
Much like the original game the “story mode” is just an arcade challenge. You fight through several battles up until the boss fight with Galactus. If you already beat this mode in the previous game, or have earned 30,00o game points you can actually flip the story mode and play as the purple people eater. This new Galactus mode is not much of a new addition. It is fun once, but gets repetitive after two or three battles. Much like the first game, story is severely lacking.
On the presentation side of things, the game actually looks much better. The menus and mode screens all got face lifts, across the board improvements. Although I will miss looking at scantly clad Morrigan on the Online Match screen as I wait to find an opponent.
The biggest additions to the presentation of this game have been new levels to fight on and a larger alternate costume selection. My favorite of the new levels is Days of the Future Past, which also slyly gives reference to the fallen characters of Marvel vs Capcom games past. The Alternate costume additions are also welcome, you now have 6 color schemes for each character to choose from. This provides you with ample opportunity to color code your various teams to your heart’s content. Over the next few months Capcom will also be releasing various re-skin packs providing more full featured alternate costumes.
You can also see from the screen shots the main hub of the game has changed too. The energy bars and character icons have been redone, and again this is for the better. The game has never looked more sharp.
Graphics and Sound:
Speaking of how gorgeous the game looks, the graphics have not disappointed. For a game with so many different characters from so many different sources it is incredible how well it all works together. The fact that the game can seamlessly presents to you characters like Phoenix Wright, Zero and Frank West fighting along side one another is an accomplishment. To say nothing of how fluid the game is mid-combat.
The music in the game got a remix, which was very necessary. The amount of time you end up listening to the same track over and over in this game is one of it’s few faults. So thankfully, the music is a little different from the last game, now you at least get some time before the music annoys you fully.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is the best game of the series. Tall words considering how iconic the second game is, but I am confident that this game is it’s superior. This year has seen several fantastic fighters, but at the end of the day you have got to hand it to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for providing the best blend of fantastic game play, gorgeous graphics and the most fun roster we have had in a long time.
Playstation 3 (Also available on XBox 360)