Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PC) Review
Title: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Players: 1-2 (local, online)
Rating: T for Teen
I’ve always been a fan of the Vs. series, going back to when I was a dumb kid and played X-Men vs. Street Fighter at my local arcade and managing to beat it with a team of Rogue and Storm on my first try. The series has grown since then, adding new characters and mechanics over the years, with the last numbered release coming in early 2011 with Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Later in the year, we got the release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 adding more characters and mode. 6 years later the game has finally come to PC. But is it still any good?
The short answer is a definite “Yes”, while the long answer takes a bit getting into. UMvC3 on PC retains the same fast gameplay of its console brethren while looking better, if you so desire. From the moment I booted it up, the game was at a steady 60 FPS, with the only occasional dip being in the menu transition for some odd reason. Actually playing the fighting game, I experienced no drops in speed or frames at all. While you could argue that this is a 6 year old game, that shouldn’t discount this fact entirely, as many PC ports over the past few years have been busted, so I really commend Capcom in getting this game right.
UMvC3 is a 3 on 3 fighting game, with rosters of Marvel and Capcom characters. While the rosters aren’t quite as memorable as in MvC2, UMvC3 has returning favorites of Ryu, Sentinel, Morigan, Iron Man, Chun-Li and Wolverine. New characters include Doctor Strange, Mike Haggar, MODOK, Viewtiful Joe and more. All told this game has 36 characters total, which is a small step down from MvC2’s lineup of 52, but is still more than most other fighting games on the market today.
Capcom retooled the controls for UMvC3 and it does take some getting used to. Instead of the traditional 4 or 6 attack buttons (light/heavy punches and kicks), UMvC3 is primarily a three button game, with low, medium and heavy attack. There is also a fourth button for air-launches, but that is the only purpose of it. You can also call in your partners like in prior games with two assist buttons, which also swaps out your character if you hold it for a few seconds. You can still pull of Hadokens and Hurricane Kicks, you just use the same buttons for them, with the only variation being speed or power.
There are some new combat moves you’ll want to get acclimated to, the X-Factor and the air crossover attack. The X-Factor is a form of a boost move that you can use at any time, but you only get one per match. It increases the speed and strength of your character while also restoring the red health of your life bar and reducing overall damage.. It only lasts for a short time, but the duration will be extended with the fewer characters you have. Meaning, if you use it when you have all 3 characters remaining, it lasts for 10 seconds, if you use it with 2 characters it lasts for 15, and if you use it with your last character, it lasts for 20 seconds. It’s akin to a “Hail Mary” type of play, if you are getting beaten badly and want to try and even the score.
The air crossover attack involves the new launcher button. The gist is that you want to launch an opponent, jump after them, hit them a few times, then pick a direction and press the launch button again. This will cause another of your fighters to tag in to keep the combo going, where you can repeat the process to call in your third fighter, if the combo is unbroken. This requires one super meter bar per call in, and the timing and direction can be tricky, but you’ll get used to it with practice.
The story mode is what it is, I suppose. It is six fights against random teams as you progress up an imaginary ladder. After the sixth fight, Galactus shows up, first by spawning in a silver lackey to fight you, then another one, then eventually he fights you himself in a screen filling appearance. He’s not as difficult as Cyber-Akuma in MvsSF, but he can be challenging at times with the high level of damage output he has. Once you beat him you get a short ending with whatever character delivered the finishing blow. It’s not the deepest story mode in a fighting game, but compared to MvsC2 where it was just a “Thanks for Playing”, something is better than nothing.
It has the prerequisite training and missions modes, but they aren’t anything special. The last mode is pretty interesting however and it is titled “Heroes & Heralds”. This lets you select either a hero side or villain side as you either try to save the planet from Galactus, or help him destroy it. You have to go to various areas and fight against other characters to wrest control of the area for your side.
Along the way, you’ll acquire cards from the teams you fight against. These cards have active or passive abilities, like increasing your hyper gauge automatically (passive), or stunning your opponent whenever you use your X-Factor (active). Cards have a rarity scale with more rare cards having better abilities.
Honestly, it’s nothing more than a glorified mission mode, but it still is a fun diversion. It would have been nice if you could use Player Points, which you gain for battling in the game, to actually buy cards. Or if there was more planning in what areas to go after, or different events during the fights.
The thing that will make or break the game for most people is the online multiplayer. When I tried a few matches, it was a tad laggy in spots but entirely playable. I’m sure other people will have different experiences, but for me it was solid.