FEATURE: "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" Review

Capcom perfects its newest over-the-top three-on-three crossover brawler--but is it worth it?

Back in February when Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was released, it was the subject of quite a bit of fan controversy.  Whether they were complaining about character roster choices, the move to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom's three attack buttons, or simplified controls and large input windows to make the game even more casual-friendly than its predecessors already were, the game is the subject of a lot of debate among fighting game fans of all skill and interest levels.


With this past Tuesday's release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the debate has only heated up.  A lot of questions were raised about the new characters, changes to the gameplay, and if this was all really necessary.  I'll take on each of these questions in turn and give my two cents on what it means to both casual and hardcore fighting game fans.


Should this have been released as DLC?  No.  Instead of the original MvC3's 36 standard and 2 DLC characters, you now get a cast of 48 standard (and still 2 DLC) characters, raising the cast to a solid, respectable 50.  Instead of Marvel vs. Capcom 2's cast of palette swaps and clones, you have a full, varied cast of fighters, each of whom plays and feels distinctly different from each other.  In addition to a now-standard set of rebalances and individual character adjustments, Ultimate MvC3's 12 new fighters each bring something new to the table--and in the case of Phoenix Wright and Frank West, something new to fighting games as a whole.


Who the heck are some of these people?  Shouldn't they have put Gambit or Venom in the game instead?  No, this just means you haven't read a comic book in ten years.  Remember in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, how instead of longtime Marvel mainstays like Thor or Doctor Strange, we got Cable (Jose Ladronn's newer design instead of the more iconic Rob Liefeld look) and Marrow, whose memorable moments include A) getting one of her hearts ripped out by Storm, B) getting piledrived into a wall by Spider-Man, and C) nearly getting eviscerated by Wolverine after sucker-punching him in the throat with a bone dagger, and that's it?


This time we get some of the best characters from recent Marvel arcs--Hawkeye and Iron Fist (who've played a major part in New Avengers and Civil War), Nova and Rocket Raccoon (who got to shine alongside Super Skrull in Annihilation), and Marvel classics Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange.  On the Capcom side, we get Vergil from Devil May Cry 3, Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, Firebrand from Demon's Crest, Frank West from Dead Rising, classic arcade action hero Strider Hiryu, and DS all-star attorney Phoenix Wright.


Wolverine/Dante/Akuma is the most broken team on Earth!  Have they fixed this?  Yes.  While some adjustments are welcome (button-mashing with Wolverine is not the smartest idea any more), did they really have to make Wesker even more powerful?  Many of the stronger characters have reasonable flaws--Iron Fist just isn't viable in the air while he's lethal on the ground, Nova hits hard but requires great precision, and Strider is an absolute monster who flies to pieces if you so much as look at him funny.  Nemesis, on the other hand, is like Hulk... only faster and stronger, with better reach and a workable projectile.  We're gonna see a lot of him.


I play fighting games competitively, and just bought the original in February.  Should I buy this?  Yes.  Unless you like getting left behind while everybody practices updated mechanics and new strategies for a year, pick this up.  But be forewarned, I wouldn't be surprised if Capcom released one absolute last update in about 12-16 months, probably just as DLC like Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition.


I just mash buttons and play fighting games for fun, and I own the original.  Should I buy this?  No.  Only if you absolutely, positively need the new characters, put your $40 toward something else.  This is an update almost exclusively for the die-hard online players.  However, if you don't have the original, then this is the definitive version of the game at a very competitive price.


But here's the important question: is it fun?  Ye--er.  No--well.  Okay, here.  This is a weird question to ask me, because I'm a Street Fighter guy.  I like the weight and strategy of Street Fighter, the mind games and the subtlety.  Street Fighter is chess.  Guilty Gear and BlazBlue are go.  Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is, to me, Hungry Hungry Hippos.  That's not to say there aren't advanced strategies and a worldwide competitive scene for the game (MvC3, not Hungry Hungry Hippos), but I've just never been able to wrap my head around the idea of "let's do a combo--now let's do a wall bounce and continue the combo--NOW let's do an OTG and continue the combo even more!"


It's not a bad game at all.  It's an exceptionally fun game designed for a different type of fighting game fan than myself.  I've spent more time playing it with friends than I have online.  It's something that everybody has a chance to pick up and have fun with.  That still makes it a very worthwhile update to a very fun and worthwhile three-on-three fighter.  Unless of course you're still mad for some reason that Mega Man's not in the game, but for real, what would he add that isn't already there?

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