Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
It seems like it was only yesterday that I punched out my MvC3 review. Afterwards, like everybody else, I waited to see what sort of DLC characters Capcom had planned and if I’d be swayed to spend the $5 a piece. For a while, there was only silence. Then, not even making its one year mark, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced – the culmination of all the promised, and delayed, DLC which Capcom questionably blames on the Tohoku Earthquake.
If you’re well versed in MAHVEL, it is highly advised that before you go nuts to pay a visit to the Options menu. There, you’d want to turn off the auto-jump function – where holding down the Special button will allow your character to jump after the opponent once launched (if tapping down then up is too hard for you to grasp, you really shouldn’t be playing this game). You also have the option of shutting off access to Simple Mode.
What will require much adjustment is getting use to the lopsided HUD visuals. Tag team fighters have always followed the traditional health bar display, from top to bottom, as character #1, #2, #3. UMvC3 however displays it as #3, #1, and #2 so mistakes will be made often until you adapt. UMvC3 also brings back the option to mash buttons during certain supers to maximize damage and hits. It is highly advised that you stick with mashing 2-3 buttons only as swiping everything runs the risk of a misfired X-Factor.
Ultimate still has the same base features as before such as unlocking gallery content, mission mode, etc., only now you can opt to play Arcade mode as Galactus. Single player enthusiasts may find themselves flustered in seeing that the game does not transport the content from the original MvC3, so completionists will have to replay the original roster. Even a number of the touch ups may feel lifeless, the removal of the dynamic credits sequence for example. Furthermore, despite Ultimate symbolizing what MvC3 would’ve been over time, Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath still need to be purchased but given their low impact their absence isn’t a big deal.
The real attraction is the inclusion of 12 new characters, including fan wish granting Phoenix Wright, Vergil, Hawkeye, and the return of Strider Hiryu. Naturally, UMvC3 continues its originator’s trend of hardcore comic book references, found in the form of alternate character colors, dialogue, and new, wonderfully designed stages. While the original roster is hit or miss, this is even more so with the new faces – great effort and ingenuity is required to play Vergil and Phoenix Wright, Hiryu’s pain threshold is incredibly low, and the appearance of Nova, Iron Fist, and Rocket Raccoon would be totally lost on casual Marvel fans. Even today, Versus fans still resent the absence of certain characters – Cyclops, Venom, and Ken Masters to name a few. Meanwhile, each of the original characters have been given new moves or supers.
While Fate of Two Worlds was considered simplified in comparison to MvC2, Ultimate is even more watered down. An abundance of gameplay tweaks were made in hopes of balancing out the game. Some are agreeable – the removal of the DHC Glitch, toning down the strength boost of X-Factor, and decreasing the overall meter building speed (making Phoenix a gimmick of the past). However, much of the modifications may not sit well with certain players – general eight way dashing speed is toned down (turning Magneto into a completely different character), you can no longer block during air dash, and the hit properties of certain attacks have changed such as no longer being able to connect Sentinel’s Hyper Sentinel Force super from an air combo ending with a ground hit Rocket Punch (are you happy now haters?).
Ultimate now adds the ability to activate X-Factor in the air, which not only provides opportunities to extend combos but allows one to immediately retract errors made airborne. This, coupled with the overall tweaks, and slower pace certainly makes UMvC3 an even more accessible game for newbies. While I agree that any beginner deserves a shot in a fighter, the larger access and lower learning curve tends to leave little interest and appreciation for picking up intricate characters (ex: Dante, Dr. Strange, and Magneto), attributing their selection made under character dedication. This is apparent when I watched the matches from the recent NEC XII – I just wasn’t feeling the hype as much as I did back during vanilla MvC3 events.
Nonetheless, UMvC3, without a doubt, wins the status of 2011’s best netcode for a fighter. I did not experience any instances of lag, even with input. Quick match has been removed leaving things straightforward for Player and Ranked Battles, and the lobbies provide the option to spectate matches in progress. To say that the online experience has improved would be an understatement, and it has a tendency of having me wonder why other (better) fighters have yet to receive their clean net bill of health.
Despite whatever disagreements may come from its adjusted gameplay, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 can still be a fun game, and even more so with its amended online components. But with this year’s blockbuster hits of Mortal Kombat and The King of Fighters XIII, it’s no surprise if you find yourself less than galvanized to be taken for another ride.