|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Release: November 15, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and one of the biggest announcements of the show was the reveal of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This upcoming sequel/expansion to everyone's favorite hyperspeed crossover is coming in November, a short ten months after the release of the original. It will only cost forty dollars, but it will feature an expanded roster, gameplay changes, and new modes that practically every fan has been asking for. Some are already calling this the edition of Marvel 3 that fixes everything that was wrong with its original release, while others are crying "too soon!" since it's been less than a year since we shelled out sixty American dollars for the original. Is this a brilliant new way to give the fans what they want at a low price point, or just a shameless attempt to cash in on the Marvel hype by Capcom? We'll fill you in on some of the details and let you decide for yourself.
First and foremost, UMvC3 brings us the one thing we have wanted the most since the game came out: Spectator Mode. Now, groups of friends can actually get together online and watch each other's matches, rather than simply waiting in a lobby while two players' information cards bounce into each other. Not only that, but Capcom said that UMvC3's online options will be on the scale of Super Street Fighter IV's, so we can expect a much expanded online experience in the near future. Sadly, classic MvC3's Shadow Mode will not be coming back, but every other piece of DLC, from costumes to characters, is transferrable over to UMvC3.
In terms of basic system changes, there are quite a few. First of all, X-Factor has been changed. Capcom was very clear that the Comic-Con build does not feature the final tweaks to X-Factor, but just one of the many possibilities. In this build, the damage boost that X-Factor gives you is very small. In fact, it may be non-existent. It does, however, seem to seriously reduce damage proration in combos. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the damage of each subsequent move in a combo is proportionally less than the move that came before it. By reducing or removing this, X-Factor will make combos do much more damage, but won't do much at all for single moves, projectile spam, or even chip damage. X-Factor's bonus is now static across the board, so you won't see some characters getting faster or stronger like you did in classic MvC3. Everyone gets the same bonus.
Outside of X-Factor, there have been changes to the interface and overall team mechanics. Life and Hyper bars have both been totally redesigned, and while I like the new visual aesthetic, the life bars of your teammates are covered in a shadow that makes it hard to tell how much life they have left.
Team order has also been changed. Your lead character's life bar is now in the middle, and Delayed Hyper Combos (DHCs) will cause your entire team order to rotate rather than simply swap. Here's an example: In original MvC3, if you DHC from character A to character B, and then DHC from character B, you will swap back to character A. In Ultimate Marvel, if you DHC from character A to character B and then later DHC from character B, you will tag in character C, keeping your lineup in order the entire time. Speaking of DHCs, the infamous DHC glitch has been totally removed, so you will no longer be able to squeeze out extra damage from a bug in programming.
There have been a few tweaks to the Aerial Exchange system as well. First of all, the Aerial Exchange glitch has been patched out. So once again, there will be no bug exploiting for you. Second of all, your options are now to squeeze extra damage out of your combo (up), gain a bar of meter (down), or remove a bar of meter from your opponent (left or right). This will make meter-dependent characters like Phoenix much easier to use.
Speaking of Phoenix, she has been fixed. In fact, every character has had several changes applied, and there should be several more before launch. Not only does the newly revised X-Factor make Phoenix less powerful, but she now can only do one Aerial special move before dropping. No more keeping you at bay with homing fireballs before teleporting behind you for an insta-death combo.
Wolverine is another character that has been nerfed quite a bit. His dive kick has a changed angle, he can't OTG by himself anymore, his Berserker Slash is no longer invincible, and his overall health has been severely reduced. However, he does have a new move called Swiss Cheese. Regardless of how absolutely ludicrous it is to hear Wolverine call out "Swiss Cheese!" every time he uses the move, it seems decently useful. Basically, if you mash an attack button, Wolverine will thrust repeatedly with his claws, kind of like Chun-Li's Lightning Legs. However, this too can be looked at as a nerf, since you can't mash out Wolverine's moves as easily without triggering Swiss Cheese by accident.