reviews\ Nov 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review


Capcom really put themselves in a nasty situation. After releasing the highly anticipated Marvel vs Capcom 3 earlier this spring, they announced this summer the release of an updated version of the game with twelve new characters, patching, and updates for the returning cast, all wrapped up in a $40 bundle.

You can point out that Capcom was under a licensing deadline, or that $40 is how much it would have cost to buy the new characters as DLC, or that a retail price really isn’t that bad. However, at the end of the day, it’s very early for an updated version of a game barely nine months old.

When we last reviewed MvC3, we gave it an 8.5. We commended Capcom for including both beloved and obscure characters to choose from both sides, as well as an initially simple combat system that belies deep complexity. Our complaints were simple--the story was contrived and the endings were disappointing. The same can be said about UMvC3, as the story makes even less sense and the endings for the twelve new characters are just as pathetic as previous 36 fighters.

Let’s be real, no one is going to play a Marvel vs Capcom  game for the plot and narrative. People look for two things: a massive roster of “what if” fighters and solid, if chaotic, fighting that is heavily focused on air brawling and switching in the right fighter at the right moment.

At its core, the combat of UMvC3 is virtually the same as the previous title, with small editions such as the ability to super jump after a launcher by holding down, or the ability to X-factor in the air. Yes, X-factor is still a cheap feature, but Capcom has done some balancing to make this less of a virtual game breaker. Let’s be real, the feature does a great job of creating exciting close matches.

The returning cast has also seen some changes. These range from subtle modifications, such as lowering Wesker’s health or granting Captain America an on the ground attack, to more obvious additions, like Crimson Viper’s optic laser (no chance for Cyclops DLC!). Most players are not going to notice the difference, but higher level fighters will love digging into the changes and seeing how these modifications change the meta game.

Really, though, anyone who is buying this game is picking it up for the twelve new fighters. Ranging from the “rumored since Tatsunoko vs Capcom” Phoenix Wright to the obscure Rocket Raccoon, this cast of twelve brings the roster to MvC2 size. As characters, I’m disappointed by the lack of big name characters like Mega Man, and the addition of Nemesis and Vergil makes this just a little too Resident Evil and Devil May Cry heavy, but they fit in as solid additions to the cast. Actually, it looks like Capcom took a step back and picked characters that could bring some really unique fighting styles to the game.

Pulling from the BlazBlue book of fighting, many of the characters need to manage resources to be truly effective. Phoenix Wright has to basically reenact a court procedure for him to succeed, Nova has to manage his red health to perform certain moves, Iron Fist alters his stats through various chi powers, and Frank West needs to level up through a mixture of alcohol and photography to perform his best attacks. It’s a very refreshing change from the old cast, who often follow the same commands for their moves. While the cast is hit-or-miss as fan favorites, as unique fighters, they almost all stand out as very special in this franchise.

At the end of the day, it’s comes down to whether or not you’re going to pay $40 for a game that came out in February. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you almost have to if you want to keep up with the freshest fighters, and if you want to play the game new, this is the cheapest version to get. An odd release all around, it’s a good one nonetheless.

[Reviewed on Xbox 360]


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