For the longest time, we wanted it. In early 2011, Capcom finally came through with the third chapter in its Marvel vs. Capcom crossover series, complete with several new characters, amazing visuals perfectly suited for this generation, and the kind of multi-hit combos that could only be conceived in a game like this. However, that wasn’t good enough for Capcom, who went on to release an Ultimate version of the game for consoles later in the year, complete with more characters (Ghost Rider and Phoenix Wright included) and bonus content perfectly suited for fans. Now the company wants to take its beat-em-up act on the road, and next month, it’ll be bringing Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to the PlayStation Vita.
Not much has changed from the game in terms of what we’ve seen and experienced. Once again, the best of Marvel’s universe is thrown in against what Capcom has to offer, with over 50 fighters to choose from. Ranging from the Ghouls n’ Ghosts’ stars Arthur and Firebrand, to the quirky superhero Rocket Raccoon, to the likes of the X-Men and Avengers, to Street Fighter mainstays, there’s something here for everyone. Capcom has crammed the entire roster from the console into this game. An impressive feat, considering how limited previous portable fighters have been as of late.
What’s more, all of the arcade details, from the backgrounds to the actual speed of the game, remain intact. Usually, developers have to cut corners to make their game fit on a handheld, but considering the processing power of the Vita, Capcom was able to keep it pretty much arcade perfect – well, if the game was released in an arcade, anyway. The audio is also intact, from the distinct character voices to the upbeat soundtrack. Plug in some headphones and it’ll be like a surround sound system plugged into your ears.
Where fans are likely to be divided with the PS Vita port of UMVC 3 is the controls. Some may be concerned with how the game handles with the system’s control set-up, remembering how crummy the PlayStation Portable was with fighting games. (Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Darkstalkers ring a bell?) Luckily, the Vita’s D-pad is much better configured for brawling, and the combos we practiced with the game worked just as easily as they did on consoles. (The analog stick works too, if that’s your thing.) You can also configure your button layout, should you be in the mood to execute tag team switch-outs in a different manner than just hitting two buttons together, or tapping a shoulder button.
But let’s say that still isn’t enough, and you can’t get into UMVC 3’s frantic fighting system. The PS Vita actually introduces something that rookies will thoroughly enjoy – touch-screen controls. Yep, you can move your character around and pull off quick, easy-to-use combos simply by touching the front screen and tapping away in certain parts of the screen. You’ll also be able to unleash a super attack simply by tapping on the meter, rather than going through a complex joystick motion, or tag in a buddy by tapping their energy bar in the upper left corner of the screen.
Along with presentation and gameplay elements, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will also provide online support through PlayStation Network, so you can take on your friends anywhere you have access to a Wi-Fi or 3G access point. And the mighty Galactus will be on hand if you feel like crushing multiple fighters at once in a cool little sub-game. Just remember, the big guys don’t always stay on top for long – even if they do devour planets.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 should be just as much fun on the PS Vita as it is on consoles, and for some rookie players, it’s bound to be even better. We’ll find out how the final crossover battle holds up when the game launches next month, just in time for the PS Vita’s U.S. launch.