Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review – Relicensed Action (PS4)
At the end of the day, video games are a business and that’s exactly why Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been unavailable to buy on PlayStation 3 and Vita for the past couple of years. That was due to Capcom’s licensing deal with Marvel lapsing, and while those specific SKUs seem lost to the physical realm, they’ve released the three-on-three fighting game on PlayStation 4. While it’s not exactly the complete re-licensing I’d like to see (it looks like Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is forever lost), it’s at least something.
The immediate good news is that Capcom is making the PS4 version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 the deluxe version it always should’ve been. In one of the most ridiculous re-release moves in gaming history, the original version still forced players to buy Marvel vs. Capcom 3‘s DLC characters, Jill and Shuma. This is no longer the case, as they come as part of the $24.99 package, alongside all of the alternate costume DLC.
As far as the port itself goes, it’s a perfectly fine conversion. The fighting title still plays extremely smooth at 60 frames-per-second, and the action is still as chaotic as ever. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3‘s three-on-three combat has a penchant for filling the screen with a ton of characters and effects, so it’s really nice to see all of the action occur without any issues (this is also why the Vita version of the game had less graphical effects going on). It looks and plays great, so fans looking for a solid port can buy it without any worry.
Heroes and Heralds
Not everybody who will be interested in the new version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be a veteran of the series, so it’s worth going over what the game actually has to offer. It’s not the most content-rich package (although compared to Street Fighter V you might mistake it as one), but the game offers up all of the modes one would expect from a fighting game. There’s an arcade mode that is perfect for testing your skills, mission and training modes that is great for honing them, and then online play that is always quite humbling.
Beside some really solid comic book endings as a reward for completing the arcade mode, these modes are all very basic by design. There’s not much to sink your teeth into, but thankfully the game’s Heroes and Heralds mode fixes that issue. This mode has the player completing a bounty list of characters, and gives more meaning to random matchups. Matches on the same levels also get far more difficult over time, so players get some choice on the difficulty of the mode, and it’s easily the best single-player offering.
There’s also a cool card collecting aspect to it, which allows a lot of other minor characters to see cameos. While big names like Wolverine and Ryu are the stars of the game’s 50-person roster, it’s cool getting to see the characters from Ghost Trick (which remains the best game Capcom has ever published) appear on these cards. Each of these cards have different buffs attached to them that will slightly impact your performance in matches, so there’s an additional fun meta-game to take part in as well.
As far as the actual fighting goes, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is pretty easy to learn even if the game does a very poor job of teaching players the basics. The game features three attack buttons and a designated launcher move that will send players into the air. This leads to a lot of wicked combinations as players get knocked around and then punched over a dozen times, and this can actually be demoralizing to new players as they sit there being beat up. Conversely, it feels awesome when you’re the person laying down that sick combination, and that makes it all worth it. On top of this, the game allows players to switch characters at their will during matches, and can even call in their teammates for support attacks. There’s a lot of depth on top of a pretty easy to pickup game.
The roster of 50 characters is also fantastic. It’s incredibly diverse, and it has actually held up a lot better with age. Some of the more obscure characters, such as Rocket Raccoon, are now major players thanks to Marvel’s success in the film industry. Any fan of either company will find plenty of characters they like here, and I regularly got to play as my dream team of Frank West, Phoenix Wright, and Deadpool.
One thing that I’m very interested in seeing is if Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 can find much of an online audience on PlayStation 4. While I had no issue getting into matches, my newbie account was regularly getting matched with players who had played 60+ matches online. This appears to be due to not many people playing online, as I squared off against a few of the same players in a short span while playing ranked multiplayer. This will be a very difficult game for newcomers to get into if they are thrown to the fire with zero chance of ever winning, so hopefully it doesn’t stay this unbalanced.
If there’s one knock to be had on this version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it’s that nothing was significantly improved. Now it’d be a bit ridiculous to expect widespread changes, but a few small changes could’ve really helped the game’s existing issues. The big one is that the game does not have a quality tutorial anywhere within it, which leaves newcomers either toiling away in the game’s mission mode to learn combos or having to read guides online. That was unacceptable when the game originally released in 2011, and is even more ridiculous in 2016.
The other issue is that the arcade mode is soured by one of the worst fighting game boss fights I’ve ever played. The final boss of Galactus is extremely powerful to the point that he can decimate a fighter in a single combo, and this leads to a lot of frustration. It’s so different from a standard match that skills don’t really carry over to it, and there’s no real way to get practice in against the boss besides playing arcade mode repeatedly. It’s poorly designed, and I wish it would’ve been tweaked, even if this not changing makes more sense than say not adding a decent tutorial.
Anyone who had issues with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on PlayStation 3 or Vita won’t have their minds changed here. This is as bare-bones a port as possible, and nothing has been changed from a gameplay or feature perspective. That’s disappointing when you consider the lack of a decent tutorial and how bad the final boss fight is, but at the end of the day, it still presents a solid fighting game. It’s a fun way to celebrate Marvel vs. Capcom‘s past, while looking forward to the future next year.
Review code for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.