Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 [Available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360]
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1-2
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: November 15, 2011

Parent Talk: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 updates Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, which released earlier this year. It features more characters, additional modes, and other extra content. Unlike violent fighter franchises like Mortal KombatUMvC3 is more a flashy, over-the-top comic book. Expect to see lots of lasers, fireballs, explosions, crazy martial arts, guns, and swords.

Plays Like: Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, thanks simple attack input. It also resembles previous Marvel vs. Capcom games, and of course, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and X-Men: Children of the Atom.

Review Basis: Completed Arcade mode with various characters and poured time into offline/online Vs modes.

Note: At this time, the free DLC Heroes and Heralds mode has not yet been released.

What’s New? Ultimate boasts 12 additional characters and 8 more stages. The interface is changed, the fighting system is slightly tweaked, the balancing is redone, and a couple new modes arrive. Galactus Mode lets you finally play as the planet-consuming giant, while Spectator Mode allows you to observe fighters online. You can read the review of the original game here.

The Great:

Though Marvel vs. Capcom 3 already had a diverse fighter roster, gamers couldn’t help but want more. The two DLC characters were received warmly, but didn’t quench the needs of fans that waited for the game since the release of MvC2 over a decade ago. Ultimate adds fresh faces, most of which have never participated in a fighting game. The characters are: Strider Hiryu, Firebrand, Phoenix Wright, Frank West, Vergil, Nemesis T-Type, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Nova, Rocket Raccoon, Ghost Rider, and Hawkeye. They all have unique nuances that bring a fresh feeling to the battlefield, and thankfully also retain the qualities that make them special.

For example, Phoenix Wright isn’t a conventional fighter—he’s not a “fighter” at all. He clumsily fumbles around, reads papers, searches for evidence, calls his faithful sidekick Maya for assistance, and builds a ‘case’ against his opponent. He has three distinct methods of battle: Investigation, Courtroom, and Turnabout. In Investigation mode, the goal is to gather evidence and switch to Courtroom. Then, his moveset changes, and the trademark “Objection!” is available. Doing so with the correct evidence results in a Turnabout, when Mr. Wright truly shines. He becomes lethal and can access his final attack, the Ace Attorney. He’s an interesting, dynamic character, but thankfully the developers made everyone worthwhile to play.

Strider Hiryu plays similarly to his MvC2 build, but has a wealth of new attacks and surprises. He’s fast, and can handle many situations. Ghost Rider is an excellent choice for zoning opponents and maintaining control over their position during the fight, thanks to his chain attacks. Nemesis is a colossal beast with attack priority that’s hard to scoff at. His moveset isn’t extensive, but powerful, long-reaching, and borderline unstoppable. Doctor Strange is an excellent projectile character and can maintain control against a foe. Frank West is unpredictable with his level-up system that gains him access to new moves. Firebrand is fierce and capable of maintaining pressure with furious juggling. Rocket Raccoon, not a Cable clone, has a variety of traps at his disposal: bear traps, log traps, mines, and more. Hawkeye is equipped with his trademark arrows, but his appeal is different attack patterns and status effects, like freezing or poison. Vergil is quick, and puts out damaging moves. Nova is somewhat like Phoenix or Iron Man, but possesses great aerial maneuverability and seriously strong knockback. Finally, Iron Fist is great for combos and powering up.

The Good:

+ Fighters are re-balanced, and most of the original characters have new moves to freshen the experience.

+ The comic book packaged with the special edition of MvC3 is included in Ultimate’s gallery as a bonus.

+ Galactus Mode is ridiculous but undeniably fun, and available immediately if you have a MvC3 save. Or unlock it after amassing 30,000 player points.

+ Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath carry over if you purchased them for MvC3. Other data, like the first costume pack, also transfer.

+ More costumes on the disc. Additional content will come in the future.

+ Online is more robust and better integrated. You’re no longer booted to the main menu if an online match fails to connect.

+ The HUD is made-over.

+ You can reject an online match after being paired up, instead of suffering through.

The Bad:

– Not much extra content out of the box. Galactus and Spectator Mode are neat, but aren’t substantial and don’t offer expansions to the actual fighting. Capcom didn’t add any kind of story or adventure mode, which could have opened up opportunities for challengers or bosses other than Galactus.

– The new stages are merely remixed versions of past environments.

The Ugly:

Isn’t this what MvC3 should have been? Early adopters may be displeased that Ultimate released in the same year as MvC3. This upgrade isn’t as significant as Super Street Fighter IV was.

Is this a bad deal for the early adopter?

It’s tempting to be angry. However, even if Ultimate’s content was DLC for MvC3, which fans rightfully asks for, characters would likely be priced at $5 each. That would amount to $60 for all 12 additions. If they came in packs, there would probably be four characters in each, priced at $15, and that would total $45. So Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s $40 point is basically a fair deal for the content, and considering the competition. It’s an added incentive for those who don’t have the game yet, or don’t have access to the DLC. Hypothetically, the cheaper route would be to individually choose a handful of the 12 characters. Still, for a better version of an already-fun game, and the benefit of more characters and free post-launch DLC modes coming, this isn’t a bad deal. The knee-jerk reaction may be to dismiss it as a cash-grab, which is somewhat valid, but it’s yet a worthy upgrade.

The Lowdown:

If you enjoy fighters, and don’t own Marvel vs. Capcom 3, then Ultimate should be on your holiday wishlist. It’s an incredibly fun, over-the-top fighting festival that celebrates Capcom and Marvel history. The many references and nuances provide a love letter to each company’s heritage. You’ll likely forget the flaws once you’re lost in some friendly and maybe not-so-friendly matches. Despite lacking single player content, Ultimate still carries that “just one more match” charm.

Score: 8/10

11 thoughts on “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review”

  1. Nice review Tim. Glad to see someone reviewed this game.

    For someone like me, who is just now getting back into fighters after a decade away from the genre, this is a no-brainer. That said, I question Capcom’s motives behind making this game considering the original MvC was only just released a short time ago. They used to do this often back in the 90’s and it lead to the collapse of the whole genre. Now that fighters are back to multi-million selling status, I really hope they don’t do the same thing all over again. Let’s hope this was a one time deal, but looking at what they’ve already done with Street Fighter IV, I’m not too optimistic that Omega MvC3 isn’t getting ready for release in April 2012.

    I’ll be picking this up sometime early next year once I have my shiny new arcade stick. It’s driving me nuts not being able to pull off all the combos in KoF XIII and I won’t put myself through that again with another fighter until after I make the joystick purchase ;)

    1. I actually got this as a (very late) birthday present, so it was unexpected, but very appreciated and cool nonetheless. :)

      As for releasing this update, Capcom DID give somewhat of an explanation, via their blog. Basically, about half of this content was supposed to be DLC for Marvel vs. Capcom 3–however, the disasters in Japan earlier this year affected their development schedule, so they decided to consolidate their work later and throw in more stuff. I can understand that, and I’m certainly not going to dismiss what effect that the disasters had in the country–it’d be incredibly insensitive to do so. Still….I get the feeling Capcom would have done it anyway. I love them, but they certainly like to squeeze all they can out of every property.

      Do I expect another update to this game? Probably. But I think it’ll be done as DLC for this game, rather than another physical copy. Super Street Fighter IV was a necessary update for the original game, and added tons of elements–and Arcade Edition was never even supposed to be a “thing” to begin with, but ardent tournament fans begged and pleaded with the company to add more, so they decided to bring in some of the stuff that was tournament exclusive for Japan as DLC. For a $15 add-on, it was certainly not bad at all, and I welcomed it. For Ultimate, if they add a $15-$20 DLC pack that adds a handful of characters and content, that would be cool with me….just as long as Mega Man is in there! Anywho…there is planned DLC for this game, and I’m very pleased that Heroes and Heralds is a free mode. It looks fantastic. If you haven’t checked it out, there’s a trailer on YouTube. It’s awesome. I can’t wait to see what else is in the pipeline, because there is more coming.

      And I know I’ll take flak for this, but I enjoyed MvC3 far more than Mortal Kombat. I got tired of that in a few weeks. The super cheap boss characters, stiffer combat mechanics (I love the fluidity of Capcom fighters), and cheesy story just don’t do it for me. MK certainly offered a lot more for story and tons of bang for your buck, but I simply don’t care about MK’s story.

      I like the adventure modes for offering more content rather than a vehicle just for story, and other games did it better. Brawl gave you unique, fun worlds to explore with tons of enemies and bosses that you don’t normally fight. Tekken 6 lets you customize your characters, giving you control over their appearance and abilities. BlazBlue has a story mode, and every character has multiple endings and branching paths. These other games had elements I liked better, so MK just didn’t impress me–and I’m disappointed that MvC3 didn’t even ATTEMPT to have any kind of adventure mode. Still, I think MK is a good game, but I just have far more fun with MvC3 and now Ultimate. Even though there isn’t much for single player, I’ve had a lot of fun getting together with friends and throwing down in match after match.

      Also, for crying out loud Capcom, where’s Mega Man? Preferably of the X variety.

  2. I still feel Capcom could have released much of this stuff as DLC. A $20 DLC pack would be fine with most. Like I said, I’m just nervous we’ll continue down this path until the genre implodes on itself like it did in the late nineties. It took so long before fighters made their comeback and it’s all thanks to Street Fighter IV. So everyone is looking at Capcom to show them the way.

    I can’t comment on the new MK, only Ahmed can apparently :-P, but MK has always been a stiff fighter. When they added the run button to MK3 it really changed the dynamic of fighting system to make it something more akin to Killer Instinct, but it always felt off. I actually preferred MK when it was a slower more flashy fighter as in MK 1 & 2. Street Fighter II was the bread and butter though, it featured much smoother animations, allowed for combos without going overboard and I always felt like it was less cheap. Goro and Kintaro were cheap as sin whereas Sagat and M. Bison were just strong.

    Moving on you know the history, but for this generation I’m really behind. I need to check out the new MK, SSF4 Arcade Edition, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Tekken 6, Soul Calibur IV, and UMvC3. That’s a lot of games O_O

    1. Yeah, I just hope Capcom doesn’t continue to alienate their fans with these decisions. As a Mega fan, I’m already saddened about the loss of Legends 3 and Universe. They don’t need to prod me any further, though I am a pretty forgiving fan.

      As far as fighters go, Street Fighter X Tekken is shaping up to be a huge thing, and I’m excited for it. I just hope Capcom doesn’t try to do the same thing with that game. We’ll see though.

      And you hit the nail on the head with MK. I had a falling out with the series for awhile, after I got MK Gold (I played all the games up to that point), and then I casually played Deadly Alliance and onward. I still don’t own many of the games in that period. I was hoping this newer game would be a simultaneous return to 2D but also a chance to smooth things up. I still can’t forgive the “cheap” factor though. The enemies are either far too easy or ridiculously cheap and broken. In MK, I got so fed up with Shao Kahn that I just stood in the far corner and used Liu Kang’s fireballs over and over–I got Flawless Victories every time. That should NOT be a possibility in a fighting game. When you fight Seth in SFIV, you can’t beat him by being cheap, but it’s ok because you don’t have to–you can learn how to fight him and analyze what he’ll do. With Shao Kahn, it feels like you have to have luck on your side.

      As far as content goes though…the Soul Calibur series is where it’s at. They give you tons of stuff. I’m excited for V this January.

  3. Moving into 2012 I’m looking forward to Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Soul Calibur V, Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter. I doubt both Capcom crossovers will hit next year, but even if they don’t there are enough games coming out to keep me satisfied.

    Considering I have so much to catch up on I think 2012 will be the year of the fighter for me. I’m hoping KoF XIII does really well so there’s a chance we could see either another SNK vs. Capcom or Capcom vs. SNK 2. Either way I’d be all over that.

    Speaking of cheap characters, you’re going to hate the two boss characters in KoF XIII Tim. They’re Khan cheap. Saiki is honestly one of the worst characters created in a very long time. I would have scored the game a 9 if it weren’t for that character. Unblockable specials, unblockable grabs, and twice the health as you. Wonderful! Only way to beat him is to cheap him with down kick. Where’s the skill in that?

    Like you I’m really hoping Capcom relaxes with the tweaks. Keep that stuff for the DLC.

    1. Man, I forgot about Tekken Tag 2! It’s been ages since I played Tag 1. Unfortunately, I don’t have my copy of that (or Tekken 1-3 either, those went missing). I’d like to pick up 4 and 5 for the heck of it, to see how the series evolved. Street Fighter X Tekken is one I’m very excited for, and if a certain rumor I’ve been hearing is true, I’ll be even happier. A certain friend who happened to tell me the entire roster of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as well as the announcement of and content included in Mega Man 9 and 10, has speculated that Mega Man will be a playable fighter in SF X Tekken. Not sure how much truth there is to that, but if there is, it just makes me wonder.

      I hope to get into King of Fighters, it’s a series I’d like to become well-versed in. It’s too bad that the bosses are on the “cheap” end of the spectrum though. I hate when fighting games do that. Give us a boss that actually feels beatable! Come on! Like you though, I’m hoping this will mean another Capcom vs. SNK is in the works. I have Capcom vs SNK: 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 and Capcom vs SNK 2 EO. I’ve wanted to get SNK vs. Capcom SVC Chaos simply for the inclusion of Mega Man Zero.

  4. SNK vs Capcom Chaos was one of the final games SNK made for the Neo Geo AES. I’d love to see a modern take on it. I really hope SNK Playmore can get back into the game. I’d love to see Metal Slug 8, a new Samurai Shodown and more. We know there will be a King of Fighters XIV at some point down the road, but it’s likely another three years out at this rate. XIII is a great game to into though as it’s just so bad ass, and technical. Cheap boss aside that is.

    Don’t forget to pick up Tekken Hybrid if you want a little TTT fun. It contains a Tekken movie, TTT HD and a playable demo for TTT2. My copy should arrive late next week so I’m looking forward to that. TTT was a classic and the only really solid PS2 launch title. Street Fighter EX3 was alright, but TTT took the cake.

    Lots of great stuff to look forward to next year. Tim, I’m curious, do you use a fighting stick or just the PS3 d-pad? I tried the Third Strike demo on the PS3 and since I’ve been playing so much KoF on the 360, I was having a really hard time to adjust lol. Go figure since the d-pad on the PS3 is so superior to the 360, as I found out playing Rayman Origins.

    1. I mostly use the PS3 d-pad. I use arcade sticks sparingly, but I don’t own many of my own–they’re expensive, so I’ve had a hard time justifying getting one, especially since I’m not earning any spare cash at the moment. When that happens, I may consider getting one for my PS3 again, since it gets more use for fighters. I do have a fight stick for my Wii, which I got as a gift for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. I’ve practiced a bit on that. I think I’ve practiced more on the standard controller though, since that’s what I was generally raised on, and I’m better on it.

      I played in the arcade a lot growing up (especially Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II, and later, Marvel vs. Capcom 2), but it’s been a long time since there’s been an arcade around that I’ve poured a lot of time into. Of course, I don’t really think I’m anywhere near “tournament caliber,” I think I’m just more than a casual fan. Some people I know swear by tournament sticks and say nothing else comes even close, and that’s the major step at being a really good player. Most of the time, when I get together with friends, it doesn’t matter all that much. Sometimes we get someone who brings one to share, other times it’s just the controller.

      And yes, the PS3 d-pad is so much better than the 360…it’s not even funny. I have a hard time playing 2D platformers, fighters, and 2D shooters on the 360. Let me tell you, playing Mega Man 9 and Super Meat Boy is more work than it should be.

  5. See I’m completely adjusted to the 360 d-pad because of KoF, but I still have lots of trouble when it comes to pulling off moves consistently. As for the hops, they’re almost impossible on the d-pad because you have to flick the joystick to pull these moves off, and how can you easily do that with a d-pad?

    I was raised in the arcades and with the SNES d-pad for fighters, and the Genesis as well for that matter. That said, I don’t find any d-pads as good as those. That’s why I really need a joystick because I miss them lol. I’m nowhere near a great fighter, but at least I can pull off moves easier, and that’s the whole point. You have so much torque with a joystick that quarter circle and half circles are a breeze to perform. As for charging, just tap the joystick and off goes your character. Love that. Don’t even get me started on multiple button presses. Something like Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur are a must because so many moves require two buttons to be pressed together. Sure you can map these sorts of commands to the L1/R1 buttons, but that’s not the same ;)

    Arcade sticks are indeed expensive, especially dual modded ones. The one I’m looking at ranges between $160 and $200, but it’s cross compatible with PC/PS3/360 so it’s worth it, even if I am a casual fan.

  6. First on the subject of arcade sticks vs d-pads, since I know have a stick and have been playing with one for quite some time, I can actually say that for competitive stuff, I’m way better with a d-pad. Ages beyond better. But for stuff like trials or missions, it’s easier with a stick because it’s a lot easier to hit two buttons at the same time on those things. Still, I find it more fun to play on an arcade stick, even though I have a lot more trouble to perform a simple quarter circle move on that.

    As for Ultimate Marvel, I bought the original on launch day and played that game for close to 30 hours if not more. I’ve never loved a fighter that much and it got me back into the genre. BUT it pisses me off to no tomorrow that a mere 8 months later, Capcom is releasing a far superior version for a budget price. Everyone keep telling me what did I expect from Capcom…. like there history makes this any easier for me. Everyone is buying it too… which sucks because I want to play it but I can’t support this.

  7. I think that makes perfect sense Steven, your interpretation of the stick vs. d-pad. Give me an arcade stick for the SNES and I won’t be anywhere near as good as I am with a d-pad simply because I played all those classic fighters on a d-pad. I still say the SNES and Genesis d-pads were the best ever created. I can pull off all kinds of crazy moves with those things. Once the Saturn age began though, I moved over to the sticks because that’s what I was used to in the arcades and the home sticks finally matched the experience I had in the arcades, although I’ve heard some great stuff about certain Genesis sticks. So from that point forward I was really into arcade sticks. That’s only two generations really, Saturn and Dreamcast, but it was enough. I find arcade sticks easier to use to get combinations to work, for dashes, hops, etc. It’ll be very interesting to see how my game changes when I finally get a stick. I’m sure I won’t be able to pull off half the moves I can now only because I’m used to the 360 d-pad. Same is true for the PS3 d-pad, it’ll take me some getting used to.

    Your UMvC3 statement is equally true Steven. This is what caused the collapse of the fighter market in the late nineties. Capcom went completely overboard with incremental sequels instead of full fledged ones. I don’t ever recall it being this bad though, eight months between releases is just insane. The more people that buy the game, the more Capcom will continue to do this. It’s one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t deals. If you buy the game and enjoy all the new elements, Capcom will continue to with quick rehashes like this. Don’t upgrade and you miss out on some really cool stuff. Mark my words you will all be seeing Super Street Fighter X Tekken at least a year after Street Fighter X Tekken hits the scene, if not earlier.

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