Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – Review

Marvel vs Capcom 3 : Fate of the Two Worlds was first released on home consoles six years ago, and after various delays, the repackaged Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was released later that year (2011) with numerous gameplay enhancements and tweaks as well as additional content originally penned as DLC for Fate of the Two Worlds.

Six years is a long time in the games industry, but UMVC3 is still incredibly popular across the board, and regularly seen as one of the best fighting games available, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken to name a few, might all have their own accolades, but few can stand up to the sheer frantic action offered by the Marvel vs Capcom franchise.

Roll on 2017, and while we’ve not long had the announcement of the forthcoming Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, I was equally excited about the Xbox One release of Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 (UMvC3).  Packed with 50 fighters, many years of balancing tweaks, and the same 3 vs 3 combat that’s become a highlight of the franchise, it’s a match made in heaven for anyone who’s a fan of Capcom or the Marvel universe.

Obviously Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Spiderman, Wolverine and a whole host of other household names will be immediately recognisable to most, but it’s great to see some lesser known characters such as Super Skrull, Taskmaster and X-23.  While on the Capcom side, there’s a range from Street Fighter staples Ryu and Chun-Li with appearances from many other Capcom titles such as Frank West from Dead Rising, Phoenix Wright and Viewtiful Joe.

50 characters is a lot to get through and while teams of three might sound like it’s lightening the load, there’s various stances for each character dependent on their support moves, which three you choose and their relative stance will have quite a major impact on the fight ahead.

It might sound like a bit of a chore, trying to get to grips with 50 fighters, and UMvC3 maintains the simplistic light, medium and heavy attack buttons, mixed with the popular exchange button to make swapping characters more fluent, and for younger players, or button-bashing fanatics, you’ll be pleased to hear the ‘Simple’ mode returns allowing you to cram all your attacks, special attacks, throws and power moves all onto the four face buttons.  It’s not the most rewarding experience throwing down 10, 30 or even 50 hit combo’s with a couple of button presses, but it’s a fantastic way of getting to grips with a character and having a look at what they’re capable of.

Overall the fight balancing is near perfect, runs amazingly smooth regardless of how much is going off on-screen and while hectic, it’s a joy to see in action.

Once you’ve had a few hours to play around with the massive roster, across offline modes, such as Arcade, Vs and Mission modes, you’ll hopefully have a few main characters and enough knowledge to step online or into the Heroes and Heralds mode.

Heroes and Herald can be played both on or offline and adds a slight trading card element as cards you collect will provide various special effects during the match, such as regenerating health or certain blocks and buffs.  It’s certainly a novel addition and well worth spending some time with, especially offline as it adds plenty of longevity beyond the otherwise limited Arcade mode. Thankfully for the patient, there’s a fresh ending for all 50 characters, so it’s well worth spending some time in Arcade, although many wont feel the endings represent good enough value for the time invested to unlocking them.

Online as always is a challenge, no matter how good you are, you’ll alway come up against someone ten times better (unless you’re one of a select few) and as UMvC3 doesn’t quite have the popularity of Tekken or Mortal Kombat you’re more likely to find a tougher opponent.  As with many games though it’s best played with friends, and there’s a definite charm to getting a group in a lobby to fight and spectate each other for some Marvel’ous fun.

Graphically there’s a heavy comic feel, from presentation of the title screen to characters and the highly detailed backgrounds, anybody who’s familiar with the characters will instantly recognise them, even if they’re the silver version found in Heroes and Heralds mode, each of the 50 playable characters look as fresh and unique as their own move sets, and many familiar locations from Capcom games and the Marvel universe are accurately represented.

Not everyone will fall in love with the comic style, but it’s all done very well, and with plenty of voice acting on board for all your favorite characters there are bonus points for presentation.

Arcade fighting games seem to have their own mix of music, and UMvC3 is no exception, almost a super-hero hybrid of classic arcade fighters and Capcom titles, there’s little to be surprised at with the soundtrack. Some tracks where over-repetitive, and a few voice models didn’t quite feel right but overall there’s not a bad performance on sound, if only there was a little more variation on the post match comments other than relying on pre-scripted one-liners dependent on who you’re fighting.

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