The Ultimate Version Of The Game, In More Ways Than One
Is Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 worth your money, or is it just a $40 expansion pack? This is the question that has been asked ever since the game was announced. Well, now we finally have an answer: “Yes” on both accounts. UMvC3 is basically nothing more than a glorified expansion pack on top of Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In all honesty, there is nothing here that couldn’t have been delivered gradually via DLC. That being said, if these features were delivered via DLC, they would cost much more than $40. So no matter which way you cut it, the game is worth your money. It’s just that your buddy who missed the original release basically gets to spend $60 less than you and get the exact same content.
The first thing anyone cares about when a new version of a fighting game comes out is the roster, and UMvC3’s roster has gotten much bigger. If you include the two DLC characters, UMvC3’s roster has been inflated to 50 characters, a mere eight less than the whopping roster of MvC2. Capcom has also promised us more DLC down the line, so, with any luck, we could very well surpass MvC2’s roster count in due time.
The new characters are all a blast to play, and they all fit into some niche that wasn’t filled in the original MvC3 lineup. Phoenix Wright and Frank West are both characters that have subsystems that power them up, while Ghost Rider and Nemesis are characters that zone you with long range normals (Ghost Rider on the fast end and Nemesis on the slow end.) Nova uses red life to power up his attacks, Rocket Raccoon is incredibly small and controls space with traps, Firebrand’s moves are entirely aerial in nature, and Iron Fist spends most of his time on the ground without ever launching the opponent. Finally, the cast is rounded out with Strider and Vergil, who are low-life characters with low damage outputs that depend on powerful mobility options and resets to deal damage, and Dr. Strange and Hawkeye, who are both highly mobile characters with a variety of projectiles that can control space.
If you aren’t into any of these new characters, the returning roster has received numerous changes as well. Several characters have had totally new moves added to their repertoire. Magneto, for example, can now alter your momentum by magnetizing you, while Ryu has a new power-up super, the Hado Kakusei, which makes all of his supers and ki-related attacks gain new properties. Even if your favorite character didn’t gain a new move, his old moves probably gained new properties. Zero, for example, can now cancel just about anything he does into a charged Level 3 buster, though it only causes a soft knockdown now.
Granted, many characters were hit with the nerf bat as well. Phoenix can only perform one air fireball before landing, and they disappear if she’s hit, while the invincibility on Wolverine’s Berserker Slash has been removed. The list of changes is long and varied, and would take another entire article to explain. Suffice it to say the entire roster has become much more balanced. Even rarely used characters like Arthur and Modok are finally getting some high-level play.
The overall game system feels a bit better as well. Meter gains a bit slower, while the minimum damage scaling has been reduced making combos do less damage overall. The DHC trick and all other game-changing glitches have been removed, and X-Factor bonuses have been leveled across the board and lessened in strength overall. That being said, X-Factor has gotten a bit more flexible. It can now be used in the air, and the boost lasts for a variable amount of time depending on which character you play. Slow characters, like Nemesis, get incredibly long X-Factor boosts, allowing them the extra time they need to get in and land that one hit that might give them the match.
Online mode has gotten a much needed overhaul this time around. First and foremost, spectator mode has been added. So now when you are in a lobby, you can watch your friends fight rather than sit there watching their stat cards bump against each other. Granted, the game is still in its youth, so the smoothness of online play might change as more and more people crowd the servers. That said, I didn’t notice an appreciable drop in quality, even with four other people watching my match. You can turn spectating on and off say, if you need to leave the room for a while, or if you just don’t feel like watching a match, so pretty much everything is covered here.
Speaking of connection speed, the overall netcode has just gotten better. Button delay has been seriously reduced, and I find myself dropping combos due to lag far less often. Playing with people in my own area is very smooth, and even games against my buddies on the other side of America are playable. You now get put into tiny micro-lobbies before participating in a ranked or player match, which shows you your opponent’s connection quality and location before you fight them. This way you can avoid any poor matchups that might cause you a loss due to lag.
The promise of DLC is another big selling point for this game. The much advertised Heroes and Heralds mode was not available at the time of this writing, but is something to look forward to nonetheless. This “casual only” mode allows you to equip your team with trading cards which you find by participating in online battles. These cards, which feature Marvel and Capcom characters that weren’t added to the playable character roster, impart special abilities to your team such as strength or speed boosts, bursts, parrying, and projectile invincibility. Every week, gamers will choose which side to be on in an attempt to either save the world from Galactus or destroy it with the power cosmic.
Granted, the game isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The new levels strike me as a little bit lazy. They are mostly just slight tweaks or re-colors of levels that were already in the game. The new colors and costumes are actually pretty cool, but you still have to buy any costume that features a whole new character model via DLC. The new character themes are a treat to hear, but the announcer is starting to get annoying.
Oh, and there is one big gripe I have with the game that Capcom still refuses to address: There is no tutorial mode!
Capcom still expects newbies to jump into the game cold, and most likely get wailed on. But at least the mission mode has become slightly more useful. All the knowledge of vanilla MvC3 went into its creation, making many of the combos you have to perform more practical from a match perspective. Only the last few combos in a character’s mission list are flashy “combo video” type pro-combos. Pretty much everything before is just fundamentals. In addition, you can now scroll through the entire combo without going into another menu. This is a great addition that alleviates a lot of the frustration people had with the original mission mode.
In the end, there are three types of people who might want to get this game. The hardcore gamer has probably already pre-ordered it, so that’s a no-brainer. The newbie who didn’t get vanilla MvC3 gets to have all that and more for twenty bucks cheaper, so that’s also a no-brainer. Then there’s the casual gamer who already has a copy of vanilla MvC3. Make no mistake, you are buying the exact same game again, just with a lot more stuff added to it. If that’s worth 40 bucks to you, then pick it up.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
The game still looks great: shiny chaos all around. Unfortunately, the new stages are mostly recolors and/or slight alterations. 4.5 Control
The game feels responsive right down to the single frame. This hasn’t changed from the original release. 3.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The “Take You for a Ride” theme is getting pretty grating, as is the announcer. The new character themes are nice to listen to though. 4.8 Play Value
This game is everything that MvC3 was but better. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best