Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, if you're not already aware of it, is a 1-on-1 brawler, with a veritable host of characters that are drawn from the fit-to-bursting stables of both Marvel and Capcom. Basically, it's like a fighting game, however the controls are stripped down significantly to both improve the game's accessibility and to ensure the focus is on attacking.
If you're worried that this sounds like a dumbed-down fighting game, don't be; there's plenty on offer for the experienced fighting game enthusiast.
The title is already available on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and almost everything you can level at the game - including criticism and praise - is also present on those versions. For that reason, I'm going to concentrate on talking about the stuff that's unique in the Vita version, rather than spend serious time [and word budget - Ed.] repeating what Morgan already said.
One of the more significant additions, in theory, is the all-new Touch Mode. As you might surmise, based on the name alone, this mode is all about taking control of the on-screen action by way of swiping (or tapping) your finger on the screen.
So how does it play? Well, if you thought the simplified button-based controls made things super easy to get into, this is going to blow your mind. You can literally play through the entire game just by tapping on the screen. Not on virtual buttons or anything, just right there on the enemy.
Tap tap tap tap tap YOU WIN!
Your chosen character will chain together combos, juggles, supers and so on, with the only input from you being your tippity-tapping on the screen. Of course, you can also add in swipes etc if you want your guy to jump or move in a certain direction, etc, and these advanced moves will help once you get to the latter half of the arcade-like mode. However, I was able to defeat Galactus (the end boss) just by tapping my way all the way to the end. It's interesting, and possibly a great way to introduce newbies to the game, however players with even a modicum of skill will tire of it quickly.
Another new piece of functionality is the Ultimate Controller mode. Here, if you have the game on PS3 as well, you can link up with your Vita and literally use it as a super-flash controller for the console version of the game. Why would you do this? Well, in addition to being a pretty comfortable thing to hold, it presents you with four programmable face buttons that you can setup to do anything you like in the game. One-touch hyper combo? It's as simple as that to setup.
For obvious reasons, the use of this controller is restricted to non-ranked online matches and any of the offline stuff. It's clearly only going to appeal to a subset of people that pick this up, but this - and the fact that DLC is cross-compatible between PS3 and Vita - means that owning both versions isn't as silly as it otherwise might be; there's a genuinely good reason for owning them both.
The Heroes vs. Heralds mode that was added post-launch to the console versions has also been released for the Vita version, and it's just as awesome (if not more so) now that you can take it with you when you leave the house. Never heard of it? You choose a faction (Heroes or Heralds) and get to fighting, online or off, in an attempt to win the war for your group. It's deep, long, loaded with collectable cards that give you awesome powerups, and - ultimately - the best career mode ever seen in a fighting game.
Visually, the backgrounds are the only thing that have taken a hit between the Vita and PS3 versions of the game. Honestly, you won't even notice; they still look great and the focus is squarely on what's happening in the foreground - which still looks incredibly good. Not only does it look amazing, but it moves at a steady 60fps all the time; I didn't notice a single dip in framerate, no matter what was going on (and if you're familiar with this game, you'll know that a LOT can be going on!)
If you like the over-the-top, extreme nature of this series (and it's not for everyone; the pocket-protector variant of the fighting fan will probably not like it as much as the rest of us), you are going to love every ultra intense moment. There's heaps and heaps of content here, including the amazing Heroes vs. Heralds mode, deep online, near integration, and - of course - the 48 fighters that come right out of the box. If you want to fight with people while you're out and about, there's no better option - on any platform. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom sets the bar extremely high and comes with a hearty NZGamer.com recommendation.