It’s Mahvel, Baby!
HIGH A large and varied roster of fan favorites.
LOW The netcode is substandard, and has frequent laggy connections.
WTF Tron Bonne beating the living crap out of Galactus is canon, right?
Given that I’ve always been more of a gamer than a comic book guy, it’s not a bad time for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 to make its comeback on PS4. When it first released in 2011, I had no idea who half the cast on the Marvel side were. Several years (and a string of successful TV and film properties later) and now I can identify many of its previously-unknown fringe characters without missing a step. Rocket Raccoon? Iron Fist? I know these guys. We’re best buds now.
To say one thing for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, it has a hell of a lineup going for it. Given the vast pool of properties they have to draw from on either side, it’s clear that not every fan favorite could make it into the roster — there’s no sign of Regina from Dino Crisis or Sheva Alomar from Resisdent Evil 5 for example — but what’s here is an extremely strong lineup of fighters.
Is Mike Haggar of Final Fight fame here to stomp the Hulk into the floor? Yes he is. Crimson Viper? Damn straight. Deadpool and X-23? They’re here too. Even Tron freaking Bonne and her diminutive army of Servbots are in there, and that’s all kinds of amazing. Needless to say, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is big on fanservice. Of course some combatants wreak far more havoc than others, but that’s an unavoidable evil when mashing so many varied faces together.
It’s also a pretty good fighting game too, but I’ve little doubt that some players will be unable to keep up with just how crazy the action is. I wound up barely hanging on myself despite my experience with other hyperkinetic fighters like Blazblue and Guilty Gear. Even so, with the amount of frame traps, combos, aerial raves and characters swapping in and out mid-match at a blistering pace, it certainly takes some getting used to before it comes together into anything resembling a coherent whole.
As far as play modes go, it’s generally standard fare. There’s an arcade mode, training options including character trials, and a ‘Heroes and Heralds’ mode where players choose whether to save the Earth or team up with chief bad guy Galactus to destroy it. Either way, players will fight to obtain special character cards which bonuses to the team using them, like stealing health on a hit, or auto deflecting certain attacks. This aspect didn’t grab me, but the idea is a reasonably interesting one.
Speaking of Galactus, he makes for a strange final boss. He’s about a hundred feet tall, so this clear disparity in character sizes means that he fights unlike any of the other characters and happily spends time flicking the player’s dudes off the screen, squashing them in his colossal hands, or just getting bored before sending laser beams all over the place. It’s tough to figure out how to fight the massive bugger without getting slapped around since the usual rules don’t apply.
Then, of course, there’s the ability to play matches online against other people. I’m not going to lie, I got my ass handed to me consistently — there aren’t a ton of people playing online, but the majority of them seem to be returning players who’re probably looking at newcomers like they’re inconsequential snacks. Not helping matters is that the netcode doesn’t seem particularly smooth, with noticeable lag input cropping up often. Out of the fifteen or so games I played, not one was free from input lag.
So, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. I’ve no doubt that it’s going to be too crazy for some players to handle, but there’s a decent amount on offer for anyone who can adapt to its hyperkinetic pace without their eyeballs frazzling to a crisp. That it comes to the PS4 with all previous DLC included and the Marvel vs Capcom: Complete Works artbook hidden away in its bonus menu is a pretty generous addition on top of an already-packed roster — it’s just a shame that some imbalanced characters and some less-than-pristine netcode prevents it from being everything that it could be.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Eighting and published by Capcom. It is currently available on Playstation 4. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed with several characters. 3 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated Teen and contains violence, mild blood, suggestive themes, partial nudity, mild language and use of alcohol. While everyone involved is getting punched, kicked and plasma beamed in the face, it’s all done in a very cartoonish manner that shouldn’t upset… well, pretty much anyone.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Some special moves and the like have certain audio tells as they’re triggered, but there’s usually so little time before they occur that it won’t affect most matches.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.
The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.
Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.