Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Review

After an eleven year absence from the fighting game scene, the coveted Marvel vs. Capcom series finally returned with Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and despite a paltry character roster when compared to its predecessor, the game was largely a success. Hell, we gave it a glowing 90/100 review. But as good as the core fighting gameplay was in MvC3, the game still had several issues beyond its relatively small character roster — issues that should’ve been addressed here in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. But unfortunately those issues remain, making Ultimate little more than should-be-DLC on a disc.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds (PS3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: November 15, 2011
MSRP: $39.99

Before I talk about the bad, let’s begin with the good. Ultimate nets players a whopping 12 new characters, six from the Capcom side and six from the Marvel side, which is actually quite generous when compared with similar semi-sequels like Super Street Fighter 4 and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. These new characters range from obvious choices such as Vergil from Devil May Cry 3, Frank West from Dead Rising, Hawkeye, and Ghost Rider; to the unexpectedly awesome like Iron Fist, Nova, Doctor Strange, Rocket Raccoon, and Firebrand from Ghosts and Goblins; and to the fan favorites such as Nemesis T-Type from Resident Evil 3 and Phoenix Wright. Oddly enough, the only returning character from MvC2 is Strider Hiryuu, who really should’ve made the cut the first time around.

These characters weren’t made as after-thoughts either. Each character feels very unique and the entire range of fighting game character archetypes is touched upon at least once. Hawkeye and Dr. Strange are both excellent zoners who are able to use a wide variety of projectiles to keep enemies away; Nemesis fills the role of the hulkish brute who makes up in sheer strength and durability what he lacks in speed and mobility; Iron Fist, Strider, and Nova fit the bill as the aggressive rush down fighters; Ghost Rider acts as a ranged melee fighter similar to Dhalsim from Street Fighter; and then you have the oddballs like Rocket Raccoon, Frank West, Firebrand, and Phoenix Wright who all have their own set of crazy and unique special moves that make them fight like no other.

Outside of the character additions, a few balance changes have been made to a variety of characters that most people likely won’t even notice unless they play at a competitive level. Changes to health, hit boxes, knockbacks, cancels, etc. More important is the revamp of the X-Factor, which can now be activated in the air, has an all-around shorter duration, and scales the damage of hyper combos activated during the X-Factor power up.

Outside of the character additions, balance changes, the addition of a spectator mode, a few new stages, and a new user interface, everything else about Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 remains almost exactly the same. And that’s my biggest problem with the game.

The single player aspect of the game is entirely unchanged. You’ve still got the same old cookie cutter story mode that has the player taking their team through a series of increasingly tough battles, eventually culminating in the same boring boss fight against Galactus, and are rewarded by a two or three panel comic book style ending to a story that I’m still not sure even exists. I wouldn’t expect a fully cinematic story mode like the one found in Mortal Kombat, or a fleshed out world filled with rich backstory and interesting characters like BlazBlue, but is it too much to expect something more than the same archaic story mode structure found in the original Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 from 20 years ago?

Then there is the game’s mission mode, which challenges players to complete a set of increasingly difficult combos that I can only assume are aimed at getting players familiar with that character. Unfortunately, there’s still no way to see a demonstration of how the combo looks when pulled off correctly, what the correct timing of the button presses are, nor can you change the on-screen prompts so it shows the actual commands you need to input as opposed to the name of the special move. If you want to see what you actually have to press, you’ll have to pause the game and go through a separate menu. It’s a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.

What’s more of an annoyance, though, is that mission mode really doesn’t even help that much when it comes to learning a character. Sure, I can hammer a couple of useful combos into my head against an opponent that doesn’t move, but it does no good if I don’t actually know how to use each character’s unique capabilities to set up those combos against a constantly mobile opponent that’s on the attack. It’s frustrating to have to resort to Youtube videos as training guides when the potential exists to have expertly made guides built right into the game. Unfortunately, this is something that is not unique to UMvC3 and is a consistently missed opportunity with fighting games as whole.

The bottom line is: this is Marvel vs. Capcom 3 repackaged with 12 new characters and some balance changes. Nothing more, nothing less. For what it’s worth, this is the definitive version of the game, and at a price of $39.99, it’s a great value for those who are late to the party. It’s one of one of the fastest and most frantic fighting games you’ll ever play, and it’s definitely worth checking out.

PROS:
- The definitive version of one of the best 2D fighting games on the market… at least until Super Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Alpha Zero comes out.
- 12 new characters that all bring something new to the roster
- $40 price tag makes it a great value for those who haven’t gotten into MvC3 yet
- Several balance changes that are sure to cause some waves in the competitive scene

CONS
- For the casual MvC3 fan, the 12 new characters aren’t worth the $40
- Archaic arcade mode is the sole method of play for solo players
- Poorly constructed Mission Mode that fails at improving a player’s skills

Final Score: 80/100

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2 Comments on Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Review

Fletcher

On November 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I was seriously dissapointed with how badly MVC3 has been handled in general. I bought the first one because I figured that it would receive a great deal of support and dlc making it a game I would continue to go back to. Then, not even a year after MVC3 came out, we got this. As a consumer I feel cheated and that is why I chose not to pick this one up. Basically it wasn’t worth the extra $40 to me as already outlined in the Cons of this review.

Hungrygamer

On November 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

This is how I see, normally DLC new characters in fighting games are baout $5 a piece, and I feel that’s reasonable. I would gladly pay $5 for a new character. Old MvC3, Blaz Blue, WWE wrestling games, etc. 12 new characters for $40 is a better deal, and I would rather have it on a disk. So overall I feel it’s worth it.