Capcom sure has taken a lot of crap from their fans in recent months. Hordes of angry consumers are upset that they have to buy Marvel vs Capcom 3 for a second time, but I’m not even going to get into that. This is after all my review for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Capcom has really proved their doubters wrong with this thorough upgrade to an already great fighting game.
Since I already wrote a review for the original release of Marvel vs Capcom 3, I won’t really rehash anything I said about the gameplay systems and what not so if you haven’t played Marvel vs Capcom 3 at all, read that review first for my thoughts on the overall structure and playability of the game. So what does Capcom bring to the table with the Ultimate update? Twelve new characters, ten new stages, a revamped main menu and UI, as well as extensive balancing and expanding of existing character move lists.
First, let’s talk about the returning characters. A lot of characters have brand new moves which will force their long time fans to come up with new strategies and ways to integrate the new moves into their play styles. Wolverine is perhaps my favourite example of this as he has gained an attack called “Swiss Cheese” in which he slices his claws repeatedly in front of him. It’s a lot like Super Skrull’s “Tenderizer” attack and is easy to execute (perhaps too easy). Various other characters have a new trick or two up their sleeves while almost every character has been rebalanced or tweaked to some degree. Most of the changes are fortunately minor and won’t really affect the gameplay any differently for regular players, though the hardcore tournament players will be obsessing over each and every small change due to even the slightest tweak being a potential game changer for specific characters on the tournament scene.
All characters now have six colours to choose from with most of them being new colour schemes that were not present in the original release. Captain America, Deadpool and Zero have some cool alternate colour schemes with Zero perhaps being the most interesting due to how his alternate colours pay homage to various characters in the Mega Man universe. In typical trollish Capcom fashion, Zero has received a brand new Mega Man X alternate colour scheme. This is sure to annoy some Mega Man fans, but they haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait until DLC costumes!
In terms of new characters, there’s a lot of really interesting variety. Twelve new faces have been added in total, six to each side. On Capcom’s side we have Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu, and Vergil. Firebrand is a winged red demon who can flutter around the screen shooting fireballs and doing various dive attacks. He’s a little difficult to get used to, but he seems like a fairly pleasant surprise. It’s pretty possible for Firebrand to be anywhere at once, and I anticipate he’ll be the bane of a lot of inexperienced players online.
Frank West seems like a very enjoyable character. He appears to be very melee oriented due to starting off with his baseball bat and camera. The fun thing about Frank is that he can level himself up and gain new weapons. Each time Frank levels up, his melee weapon will change. What starts off as a mere baseball bat will eventually end up as much stronger combo weapons that we all know and love from Dead Rising.
Phoenix Wright is a real handful to use. His animations are confusing and it is difficult to determine what “moves” will hit your opponent. Phoenix Wright’s moves include throwing papers, sneezing (or coughing?), and falling down on his butt. While I appreciate the fact that Capcom included Phoenix Wright in the game to please his fans, he is an obvious joke character – but not in the good way. In my opinion, he is a waste of space in this game.
As a long time Marvel vs Capcom fan, I’ve been putting a lot of time into Strider Hiryu and am loving how he plays in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. He is fantastic at both short and long range and his teleports can really help mix things up quite a bit.
Nemesis and Vergil also seem quite handy and I’m sure each of them will be devastating in the right hands. Nemesis sort of reminds me of Venom while Vergil is sure to get a lot of play from Devil May Cry fans as well as anyone who prefers sword-based characters.
On the Marvel side we have Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon. I’ve really only taken to two Marvel characters and they are Ghost Rider and Nova. The rest, unfortunately, just don’t mesh with my play style at all which is a real shame since I was really looking forward to Iron Fist before release.
Ghost Rider is a long range virtuoso. His chain attacks often stretch all the way across the screen which makes it pretty hard to run from Ghost Rider, and his “eat chain” line that he spits out with each attack sounds great. I feel like I probably like Ghost Rider’s look and voice more than how he plays but, overall, he feels like a really well made fighter with his chain and fire attacks. Oh yeah, and we can’t ignore his hyper where he jumps on his bike and mows down the opponent!
Nova took a lot of heat before release with many fans saying that he just looked like a rehashing of other characters. Essentially, they thought he was a bland and boring version of Taskmaster. I was always looking forward to Nova and I’ve grown to really enjoy using him now that the game is in my hands. He does have a lot of close range rushdown attacks as demonstrated in his trailer, but he also has quite a bit of long range possibilities as well and I can’t wait to try him out against human opponents.
Now, the four characters I don’t like too much on the Marvel side? Doctor Strange seems very well made, but I can’t adapt to his floaty mechanics and, due to him hovering slightly above the ground, I haven’t had much luck using Strange against the likes of Amaterasu, Arthur, or Rocket Raccoon.
Hawkeye isn’t a bad character and his bows have excellent range and speed, but he feels seriously bland and uninspired to me. I like his theme music, but playing him is honestly a bore. The same applies to Iron Fist who I thought looked like a blast in his trailer, but after using him? He just felt hopelessly generic and is nothing but a Bruce Lee rip-off in this game. I understand that Iron Fist is an exceptionally talented martial artist, but the Bruce Lee vibes could have been taken down a few notches.
As for Rocket Racoon? I don’t have any problems with him and his quirky design amuses me, but his small size makes him a little harder for me to play with. It feels like Yoda from Soulcalibur IV all over again. He has plenty of range and can even use traps (think Trish), but Rocket Raccoon is pretty pitiful in my hands and I don’t want to comment on him very much because of this.
I suppose I could mention Galactus as a seventh Marvel character since we are able to play as him now. In Galactus Mode, you simply play as the planet devourer himself as you take down team after team of opponents. It’s fun for one or two matches, but after that it becomes a bit dull. Playing as Galactus is interesting, but it usually feels like a lot of effort on my part to even make him do anything. Capcom does not include a move list for him, so figuring out how to use Galactus is all guess work.
There are ten new stages in total, but they are all just “remixed” versions of existing stages. For example, Kattelox Island is now covered in snow and the SHIELD heli-carrier stage is now set during the day. Fortunately the remixed stages add just enough variety to be interesting to play on, though Demon Village Redux (essentially a black and white version of the original Demon Village) feels like a bit of a lazy rush job.
There aren’t too many other new features, though the ingame UI has been improved making it easier to tell which character is on point and how much life your teammates have left. You will also always know when you have X Factor available due to the electrified red X at the end of each player’s life bars. Another small thing worth mentioning for those who don’t play online much is that the computer AI has been made a little more difficult.
Overall, I feel like Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a huge step in the right direction. All of the new characters (except Phoenix Wright) feel as if they belong in this game and all of them are probably pretty viable. While we’re sure to see a frightening number of Vergils online, at least we’re still going to see a little more diversity! If you were a fan of the original Marvel vs Capcom 3, then I would definitely suggest checking out the Ultimate upgrade. The game feels remarkably exciting and fresh again and the new characters add plenty of unpredictability to the fights.
+ New characters and stages all look really great.
+ Old characters receiving new moves was a great idea.
+ The new characters add lots of new possibilities.
– Galactus fight is the same as ever.
– No new innovative game modes.
– Phoenix Wright. Capcom, what were you thinking?