Sunday, November 20

Game Review - Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Is this game worthy of its “Ultimate” title?

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a re-release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which only came out in February. For $40 you get everything in the original fighting game along with 12 new characters, four new maps and tons of balancing tweaks. Some of the original characters have additional moves and all of them have additional in-game dialogue. Is it worth $40 for an upgrade though?

First, the original version has to be analyzed. If you count MVC3 and UMVC3 as the same game, then it’s the fifth game in the Marvel vs. series. The franchise introduced crossover fighting with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, followed by Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. MVC2 released back in 2000 and the console versions are among the rare and valuable video games in the last 11 years. It’s still played in tournaments even though MVC3 is out.

MVC3 was a heavily anticipated game and it sold over 2 million copies. It features various Marvel superheroes like Captain America and Wolverine, and super villains like Magneto and Dr. Doom. It also features many of Capcom’s famous video game characters, like Ryu and Chung Li of Street fighter, and Chris and Wesker from Resident Evil. In total, there are 36 characters, and two more can be purchased online.

 (Ghost Rider and Hawkeye both join the cast of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3)

It had spectacular graphics with plenty of colour and detail on the characters and in the environment. The game looks even better in motion, especially with the hyper combos. The action is so fast paced that you barely notice the graphics though. The game also features great sound design and voice acting. The gameplay is unique in that each player uses a tag team of three characters from the roster, and there’s just as much aerial combat as there is on the ground. While the fighting system is accessible, it can be incredibly deep as well.

On the other hand, the game had very little content besides the main game. The four sentence character endings had barely more story than a Hallmark birthday card. There are no tournament modes, online or offline, and worst of all, no online spectator mode – a standard among fighting games these days. Online had connectivity problems as well, often failing to find a match and bumping you back to the main menu every time it failed. The only special mode was the event mode, where you play through the story mode with special handicaps or try to win enough online matches in a row. While fun, the game had serious balancing problems as characters like Wolverine and the Sentinel were insanely overpowered. It wasn’t worth the $60 at retail for the bare minimum of content.

 (Nemesis and X-23 from the opening cinematic)

I should point out that this game introduced me to X-23, and the first comic series I ever read was her Innocence Lost origin mini. Issue 7 of her ongoing series is the first comic I ever bought in store, and it’s sad knowing that her series was just announced as cancelled. She’s become my favourite Marvel comics character, but I’m getting side-tracked. MVC3 is also the first fighting game I really got into, besides Super Smash Bros. As such I had a lot of hope for UMVC3, but is it any better?

UMVC3 is a huge improvement on the gameplay side. All the characters feel balanced and the new 12 characters each bring something unique to the fighter. Lawyer Phoenix Wright in particular has you searching for clues in the middle of the battle, and if you successfully find three clues, he becomes the most powerful character in the game (he starts off fairly weak.) All the online problems have been fixed and finding opponents is much easier. There’s a new mode where you can play as the game’s end boss, the planet eater Galactus, and smite the heroes that try to stop you (it’s only worth playing once though.) Another mode, “Heroes and Heralds”, will allow players to earn unlockable cards to customize their characters special abilities, when it’s released as free content in the future. Everything good about the original release is here. Unfortunately, the game is still lacking in features.

(Ghost rider pwning capcom's Strider)

Firstly, they removed the event mode that was freely added to MVC3. Why? If you’re making a new version of a game with more features, why take out one of the game modes? Secondly, the game still lacks an in-depth training mode. Thirdly, there is still no tournament mode of any kind. It's also disappointing that they didn't add any new female characters and that only one of the new 12 was in MVC2 (Strider.) I was hoping for either Gambit or Cable, and many people complained when the original Mega Man wasn't included either.Another issue is that while MVC3 had four epic opening cinematics,  this game only has one, which is just a bunch of 3D stills of characters fighting. While it looks good, it feels lacking compared to the previous game's films. Worst of all, even though Capcom workers said in interviews that the story was being reworked, every character still has two panel comic endings; some are even shorter than before. Even now this game has less extra features than the original Street Fighter 4, also made by Capcom.

So is the game worth it? It depends on several things. Do you have the original? If not, then this is definitely worth it. For $40, you’re getting 48 playable characters in a fast-paced, unique and well-balanced fighting game. If you have the original, it depends on how much you liked it. If you play it all the time, this is a huge upgrade. If you hardly played it at all, don’t bother. If you bought the downloadable characters or any downloadable costumes, they will work in this version and you won’t have to buy them again. While the end result is slightly disappointing, it’s still the most unique fighting game available on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It's not quite worthy of the Ultimate title, but it's still a significant improvement over an already fun game.

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