Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (UMvC3) is an updated version of the previous title from earlier this year, Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Part of the versus series that Capcom has been pushing out, fighting fans waited a long time for the sequel to Marvel vs. Capcom 2 yet such a short time before Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was unleashed on the world. The question begs: Are there enough changes here to make it worth handing over more money, or should this have headed down the DLC route?
If you haven’t played Marvel vs. Capcom (or any vs. Capcom game), the first thing you will notice is this is not a one-on-one fighting game. This series revolves around three-on-three, heroes or villains, fighting it out in a 2D arena. A change brought into UMvC3 sees the removal of punch/kick buttons, now replaced with a light, medium and heavy ’attack’ button. This means that some moves have priorities, and for someone like Ryu, down-to-forward combined with an attack button will see the famous Hadouken, while down-to-back and any attack button produces the Hurricane Kick, with variation on the distance and damage depending on which attack button was pushed.
The variation of having just the three buttons allows for quick combos in succession. New players can easily pick up a controller and do some cool moves but the combo system really is still very difficult to master, as each button will sometimes trigger a different move. Players can also call in assistance from their teammates with the shoulder buttons. They usually come in for one attack, a type selected by in the character selection screen, or they can also be swapped in to take over the fight while a character recovers.
The key to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is choosing an effective team that works well together with their specials and combos to do the most damage. UMvC3 adds 12 new characters to the roster, bringing it up to a total of 48 playable characters. On the Marvel side: Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova and Rocket Racoon. For Capcom, we see Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis T-Type, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu and Virgil added to the list. Some of these are easily known, others (like Firebrand) you may need to do some research on. They play like a few other characters with some great moves and additions to any team. Frank West has a huge list of zombie-inspired moves, while Hawkeye has various ranged arrows, each with different effects.
There were also a significant number of changes made under the hood. Different characters’ damage, hit boxes and frames have been edited up or down depending on the character and move. These changes will go unnoticed by most players, but for anyone who is into their hardcore tournaments and played a lot of Marvel vs. Capcom will notice some of these when a few combos you have been practicing don’t work as expected.
Not all changes are hidden though. There have been a couple of updates to the intro and menu, too. A completely new user interface bar has been added – this one has more emphasis on the X-factor and some small additions to knowing which support heroes respond to which trigger buttons. X-factor, the ability to increase damage and regain health mid-battle, has also received some upgrades, with the most noticeable seeing the ability activated while in mid-air! There have been lots of changes to attack duration, damage and health increases for each character, too. Testing these is essential to maximise the damage output and effectiveness of your team.
The sound and visuals for this game are still fantastic. If you haven’t seen it in action yet, definitely check it out to see all the bright colours hit the screen. They have gone for a real comic book feel to the game and this is present from the main menu, character selection screen and ending for each character. The audio for each character seems spot on (well, for how someone might think a comic character would talk). Their lines may get slightly annoying when calling them in or getting hit over and over. But hey, that is why there are options to lower audio.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a must for any fighting or versus fan, the significant changes to the damage and battle systems make for a more balanced version of the game. The mission modes and number of different character combinations allow for some great combinations and will keep you testing in training mode. However, the last boss has a huge difficulty step and much practice is needed to play online successfully. This is one of the better fighting series on the market and with it making the rounds in eSports arenas too, it is a solid title for any fighting game fan.