Posted by John on December 23, 2011

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 PS3 Review

By Jason Van Horn

Except for maybe an MMO or two, I put more hours into Marvel vs Capcom 2 than
any other game I’ve ever played. It took a while but eventually Marvel vs Capcom
3 was released, and though my mind can’t grasp how great some players can be
while I hover in the land of mediocrity, overall I still have fun playing the
game (even if my blood pressure does rise and I start to spout out several four
letter words). Capcom continues their recent tradition of milking gamers for all
they can, as they’ve just recently released a new version of the game entitled
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Is there really anything ultimate about it though?

Fighting games aren’t known for their stories and the case is no different when
it comes to Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. The main story basically concerns
itself with the villains of the Marvel universe teaming with Wesker from the
Capcom universe in hopes of hijacking Galactus’ ship in order to rule the two
worlds. The heroes aren’t cool with that so it’s off to fight the Big Bad and
save the day for both worlds. Beyond that little background scenario, the only
other story tidbits you get come by way of the character specific endings, which
are told through a series of about four or five hand drawn stills with some
dialogue attached (whoever gets the killing blow is the one who gets their

UMVC3 assumes that everyone playing the game had previously bought the “vanilla”
version, so instead of having to unlock some characters through playing the
game, everyone is available right from the very beginning. The big draw of the
Ultimate release is the fact that there are 12 new characters added to the game
(six from the Capcom side and six from the Marvel side). When the “vanilla”
version of the game was released, a lot of fan favorites from the past game made
their triumphant appearance, but a lot of the popular characters were missing in
action and replaced by new, fresh faces, and even some of the more minor,
obscure characters that everyone might not know about. UMVC3 continues this
tradition by delivering characters who fans might have wanted - though they
actually don’t fit very well into the game - and a roster that only serious
comic nerds will fully know (such as me).

On the Capcom side you have Nemesis, Firebrand, Strider, Phoenix Wright, Frank
West, and Vergil. On the Marvel side there’s Nova, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange,
Iron Fist, Rocket Raccoon, and Hawkeye. The new characters run the gamut in
terms of how they play and roles they fill. Hawkeye can do some damage at
close-range, but he specializes in long-distance arrow attacks. Nemesis is slow
when compared to other characters, but he packs a punch and is a strong brute.
Doctor Strange is a very technical character, Rocket Raccoon is fast and a trap
specialist, and Strider is a fast agility character who really gets around.

Phoenix Wright and Frank West deserve special attention, however, as they’re not
simple characters to use; Capcom went out of their way to make them fit into the
game while still retaining elements of their past games, but they’ve done so by
alienating them from many would-be players by giving them complicated mechanics.
Capcom decided to keep in Frank West’s camera leveling system from the original
Dead Rising, which I never cared for in the first place (the leveling system and
not the game - love the Dead Rising series). The gist is that by performing
flashy moves and combos, you can capture the moment with his camera and level
him up, which modifies or gives him access to new moves; you start with items
like a bat and plunger, but by leveling up through the camera system you’ll add
nails to the bat, make the plunger longer, and eventually upgrade so that Frank
West now has access to chainsaws. Frank is still fun to play as even if his
system takes some getting used to, but it’s just a little more complicated than
it needs to be.

Phoenix Wright, meanwhile, will find some fans and dedication, but for many he
seems like this game’s version of Dan. Phoenix Wright has three different
fighting “phases” depending on how much effort you put into them. He starts in
his investigation phase, where you must find evidence in order to find your
opponent guilty (you have to press each attack button and the launcher until
your case file lights up - otherwise you have to throw the evidence out). You
can switch to his second phase without fully gathering the evidence, but it
doesn’t serve a huge purpose and some moves aren’t available. During the second
phase you have access to abilities such as throwing papers and other projectiles
by “presenting” evidence. If you manage to hit your opponent with an “Objection”
you go into the sentencing phase, where you have access to a giant finger and
ultimately can do an Ultra to pass judgment on the other player for a nice chunk
of damage; it’s strong, but there’s a lot of hoop jumping to get to it. I’m all
for unique, but Phoenix Wright is just too much work for what seems like little

The rest of the new roster is solid, but more align with already existing
characters. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re cookie cutter or boring,
though some don’t seem that special and like wasted opportunities. Capcom has
also given players the ability to play as the final boss - Galactus - but he’s
confined to his own Arcade mode and can’t be used against other players in
competition (and really he wouldn’t win anyways). Galactus is fun to play as
once just to get his ending, but there is no lasting fun to be had or reason to
keep playing as him.

Games play like they did in the previous installment: players pick three
characters and the winner is whoever reduces the other team to zero first or
whoever has the most life at the end of the time limit. There are six primary
buttons: L1 and R1 (partner calls), Square (light attack), Triangle (medium
attack), Circle (heavy attack), and X-button (Special attack). Like most
fighting games, combos can be performed by mixing up a series of light, medium,
and heavy attacks, and while the special attack is used in conjunction with some
of the other buttons to perform things such as a Spider-Man web zip-line, for
the most part the special attack button is reserved for launching opponents into
the air, tagging in another character during said air juggle, or bashing someone
to the ground. Meanwhile, players can perform more complicated moves by
performing different rolling motions (fighting game fans know all the variations
by now) and can throw Ultras by performing those motions with two attack buttons
pressed at once. Characters can have Ultras that take up to three full meters -
one even needs all five - and both dishing out damage and receiving it in turn
will fill them. There’s also a control scheme called Simple, which - duh - makes
the gameplay easier to do; this makes the game accessible to younger players,
those approaching a fighting game for the first time, or those who are only
casual fans. Real players will want to stick with the default control scheme, as
every move can’t be pulled off by using the Simple mode.

The partner system performs much like it did in MvC3. Before a match starts
you’ll pick your three characters and then designate which of the three assists
moves you want them to have. Do you want them to use a projectile when you call
them out or do an uppercut anti-air for when an opponent gets too close? You can
also still chain Ultras together by performing extra commands during the
animation for the first Ultra or even call everyone out at once for one
mind-blowing blast of colors. Though a lot about the system has remained the
same, there have been some huge changes, which for me are all for the better. In
the last game, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to spam assist attacks over and
over. As soon as the assist was out and then back in, it’d be thrown right back
out to attack again. You can still do that in MvC3, but there is more of a pause
between first coming out and then coming out for a second time, so it’s not
always an immediate thing. Secondly, when an assist is thrown out, any damage
done to them is amplified, so it’s now a more risk/reward type of system. Want
to spam a beam attack assist? Go ahead, but if they get caught when someone is
launching an Ultra, you better be prepared for them to take some serious damage
or even risk getting killed.

X-Factor is one of the biggest changes when it comes to the game, as it can turn
the tide of a battle in a matter of seconds; this makes the X-Factor both a love
and loathe gameplay mechanic. By pressing all four-attack buttons at once,
characters will activate their X-Factor, which affects everyone in different
ways. Chun-Li might zip around like a bunny, but the Hulk will do extra damage
instead. Another (excuse the pun) factor when it comes to the X-Factor system is
how many players are left on a team. If you use it at the start of a match, you
won’t have it for nearly as long, and it won’t have such a dramatic effect when
used. When to use X-Factor (a one time move) really depends on the player and
their team. The most popular use of the X-Factor I’ve personally seen, and the
one that makes me loathe its potential, is using it on Hulk when he’s the last
character. Hulk is a beast by himself and with X-Factor turned on, I’ve nearly
seen people make comebacks against players who still have three teammates; he
does so much damage it doesn’t take more than a few hits to even the score. As
you can see, you’d love the X-Factor system if you used it in this exact way,
but if you’re on the other end you’re going to despise it with a passion,
because there’s nothing more infuriating than dominating a game only to have it
wiped clean because of one juiced up character that got lucky.
With the release of Ultimate, Capcom decided to go back and tweak the
behind-the-scenes number of characters so some moves did more damage, some did
less, some characters had less health, some had more, etc. Unless you were
intently focused on these numbers in the original game, you won’t notice much of
a difference, but it’s there. Capcom has changed the move roster for some
characters though and that is noticeable, such as Wolverine now having an E.
Honda like Hundred-Hand Slap by way of his quickly slashing claws.

UMVC3 retains the game’s previous modes - Arcade, Versus, Training, Mission, and
Online - as well as adds a new Spectator mode to the game, which lets you watch
two players go at it online. Spectator mode is fun for those who like to watch
events like EVO or those looking to learn some tips, but the majority of people
will want to be playing the game instead of watching it; still it’s nice to have
had it added.

Technically speaking, UMVC3 is still one of the best looking and sounding
fighters out there. While I think I’ll always prefer old-school 2D animated
sprites, the 3D meets cel-shaded scheme of UMVC3’s models are still wonderfully
done and look fantastic. The game really shines when it comes to the visual
spectacle of the moves, as there are some nice blur effects and dazzling bright
colors for some of the more over-the-top Ultras. Plus, even with so much action
happening on the screen at once, rarely do I ever see any FPS loss (except for
online lag), so everything runs very smoothly. I also like the new X-Factor look
(you become somewhat transparent with a bright red where your heart would be)
and the eight new stages are nice, though ultimately not worth much. Meanwhile,
the sound effects are perfection, the voice work marginal (some characters sound
great while other snot so much), and the music is certainly more tolerable than
the jazzy elevator music of the second installment.

Ultimate Marvels vs Capcom 3 is certainly a deal at $39.99, so if you’ve been
waiting for this game to get the ‘Ultimate’ version like many thought, you’ll be
happy with the game. For those like myself who already paid $60 or more for the
original “vanilla” version, I think it comes down to how happy you were with the
original version of the game. I had fun with it from time-to-time, but as the
competition flew by me my enjoyment plummeted. Learning and trying out the new
characters is fun, but at the end of the day the game is still going to play
much like the previous one. It’s all about who can get a hit in first and then
landing as long a combo as possible to get the win. It takes skill to memorize a
combo and carry it out, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say UMVC3 players are
better than other fighting game players out there. So consider how much you
played the original Marvel vs Capcom 3, whether you found yourself getting
frustrated with the game, and if you care about any of the new characters. If
you do, great, go pick the game up, but if not save your money as the new roster
is pretty ho-hum in my opinion.

Review: 3.5 out of 5

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