Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is an upgraded edition of MvC 3: The Fate of Two Worlds - a title that scored a 9.5 on NZGamer.com earlier this year. This update adds a couple dozen new fighters, some of which are from the least obvious places - the titular character from Capcom's Phoenix Wright series, for instance.
With this update coming within a year of the original, you might be asking "is it worth forking out for this if you have the original version?" Read on to find out...
Ultimate MvC 3's singleplayer modes include mission mode, which is essentially a tutorial to teach you the various combos. The guts of the singleplayer action is in Arcade Mode, though, which is the typical three on three battles, with rounds until you fight the final boss - Galactus. It's a shame this update doesn't add a story mode as the intro shows potential for some storied clashes between the universes.
When it comes to the actual combat, little has changed. The three button system is easy to pick up, while the broad range of fighting styles makes it difficult to master. Players will need to experiment to get a well balanced team together - not only does it add a ton of depth to the otherwise button mashing single player, it's essential for taking on the hardened Marvel vs. Capcom fanatics online.
Ultimate MvC 3 packs a few new fighters from the Marvel and Capcom universes. On Marvel's side the new entrants are Nova, Rocket Raccoon, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, and Hawkeye. Capcom's new fighters are Frank West, Vergil, Phoenix Wright, Nemesis, Firebrand and Strider.
The new fighters run the gamut of usefulness; some, such as Ghost Rider, aren't as good as you might expect, and Phoenix Wright is... well, suffice to say he's as useful in a fighting game as you would expect a lawyer to be - it's nice to see Maya get a cameo (as part of his special moves). Phoenix does pack a little of comic relief, however after playing a few bouts, I was left wishing Street Fighter's Dan was in it.
After plowing through some relatively easy fights, I came across the end boss - Galactus. In keeping with Marvel vs. Capcom's awful tradition, Ultimate's final boss is huge (as you would expect), over-powered, and his moves are near-unavoidable; no matter which difficulty you choose, Galactus will require quick thinking and saint-like patience to kill.
I fought him using both control schemes, oddly the 'simple' control - a style designed to cater to the less adept players - can work against you, as you don't have as much control over various moves. On top of the already tough Galactus, you have to fight a two-on-one battle before fighting Galactus himself. As final battles go, it's a little ridiculous.
One interesting feature Ultimate adds that could help take out Galactus is that characters can combine hyper combos. It requires the gauge to be filled multiple times, but doing so unleashes a ton of damage on your opponent.
Hypers can either be performed by all three character simultaneously, or one after the other. To get the most out of the latter, players will need to perform the switch right at the end of a character’s hyper, as performing the next one cancels out the previous character's hyper. It's a good way to switch characters and deal some damage to your opponent at the same time.
On the multiplayer front, Ultimate MvC 3 features an offline VS option, along with ranked and unranked player bouts on Xbox Live or PSN - be prepared to fight lag, as well as your opponent. The game also features a "license card" with which players can pre-select three teams of three to use in multiplayer or single player bouts - speeding up selection in online games.
Visually Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a treat. From the intro, to the intense super combos, and cell shaded characters, it's one of the best looking 2D fighters on the market. Galactus is suitably large - so big his body doesn't fit on screen. Although, for a guy his size, the game still had to misrepresent him to fit him on screen at all.
On the fan service side of things, Ultimate doesn't let players down - with bios, character music, and backgrounds available in the features menu from the start. The only items you will need to unlock are the character endings and about half of the character art; unfortunately they require the player to beat the arcade mode - including Galactus, which is much easier said than done.
In the end, it's hard to justify a purchase if you already own the original Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as there just isn't enough new content for the $89.99 launch price. However, those who didn't pick up Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will find this a great fast-paced fighter with a challenging boss and familiar Capcom and Marvel characters beating all shades of red out of each other.