This review is two fold, my little Vault maniacs. On one hand, this will be a review of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and on the other, it will be it’s quality on a handheld. I do believe that we shall now get cracking.
As fighting games go, UMvC3 is standard in its composition. There is a multitude of characters for you to peruse and mix and match, as well as choices for assist attacks. For those of you who have never played the MvC franchise, you have three characters on your team, each of which can pop in and out of the fight and be your main fighter or can assist another fighter. It’s like a three-person tag-team match. I say person because characters range from She-Hulk and Rocket Raccoon (yeah, Rocket Raccoon, I had to go to my comic shop and actually ask who the hell that was) to Albert Wesker and Zero from Mega Man.
The game itself has something like six new characters from Marvel and Capcom respectively joining both rosters from regular MvC3 so you get to play around even more. One does question the choice of bringing in characters like Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney and Rocket Raccoon (I will never get over this decision, I kid you not) since they don’t exactly lend themselves to a fighting game very well. Then again, no one consulted me on character additions, so, that’s neither here nor there.
The game has several modes, but the most familiar are Online and Offline which means you can play the standard arcade version of the game or play against someone via whatever network of the console you choose to play the game on. Since I have it for PlayStation Vita, it’s the Playstation Network. Offline is fun, about six rounds and then you fight the mega-boss, Galactus (Devourer of Worlds from Marvel comics), and his heralds who are made up of a random collection of the bad guys in the character select screen. The goal of arcade mode is to save the world. So…that’s basically single player.
If you want to increase your skill, you can also play the missions in the game which have you going through a gauntlet of challenges that entail completing certain combos which do actually teach you how to use each and every character in the game. This mode is not for the easily frustrated though.
I will give Capcom some kudos for giving players the opportunity to train in another way than just playing arcade over and over or against others until you somehow get better. Online is just your basic versus combat, which works well and is one of those things that is only bad when human idiocy/jerkishness/frustration make the experience fall below expectations.
There is something new in the mode department, which is Heroes and Heralds gameplay. This allows you to play on or offline and basically do versus matches in which your side, Heroes of the world or Heralds of Galactus, fight for the planet. You also are rewarded with ability cards that can alter the matches in certain ways which are supposed to add another layer of strategy to this game (good heavens it doesn’t need more strategy, please God why). You can collect and change your deck at hand before the battle and prep depending on your characters to maximize your abilities when you next fight.
I’m…*sigh* I’m not sure what the point of this is. I mean, really. Is it to make team-based gameplay? Is it to make more collectables and unlockables? What? Why did we need this? Why add the cards? Don’t get me wrong, this entire mechanic works and it functions just like versus combat (except with cards adding some bonuses here and there) but why did this have to be in the game? Were people asking for this? Is it wildly popular? Seriously. Maybe I’m just not getting it. It just feels gimmicky to me.
Finally, the last new mode is playing as Galactus himself. Seriously, I’m not sure what unlocks it but if you do, you actually get to play six rounds against teams of three heroes trying to stop you from devouring the Earth. Think of it as playing as Master Hand in Super Smash Bros. I’m not sure how any of the controls work, but it felt awesome to do a 250 hit combo on Ghost Rider.
Okay, I want to say off the bat that this game is awesome for traveling and killing time. This is a perfect game for a handheld, and if you’ve got Wifi you can play this multiplayer and get your competitive fix. I love that about this game and I’m really happy that Sony put this on the Vita. Okay? You all see that I’m saying that, right? Good.
On the other hand, here it comes, there are some issues with it being on a handheld. This may just be a personal problem, but I have large hands. That being said, I have a hard time holding the Vita sometimes and the stick or d-pad are a little less than easy to use when it comes to playing furiously and trying to beat the tar out of someone. I played this on the Xbox 360 with a controller and I got relatively good, amongst my friends, mind you, and I knew how to use the controller. I am having a hard time doing that with the small buttons and directional attachments.
Also, the touch screen mechanic for fighting is just too silly for me to take seriously. Here, let me show you a visual example:
As you can see, you look like an idiot tapping your screen furiously in a manner that can only be described as spastic. The game manual has some descriptions of how this works, but really, this is just a dumb thing to have on a fighting game. You know why? There is no skill involved in this game while using the touch screen, which is part of a franchise that literally thrives on the skill of its most competitive players.
The manual tells you that dragging your character in a direction, or flicking them quickly, moves them. Tapping an enemy close to you does a weak attack while tapping them from far away does a heavy one (hahahahaha yeah right). Tapping the X-Factor symbol uses X-Factor, tapping the desired character activates their assist and holding their picture at the top switches. Tapping the hyper combo bar uses a hyper combo.
All that? That whole paragraph? Crap. I did figure-eights on my screen and kicked the crap out of Akuma, Sentinel, and Morrigan with JUST RYU. I kid you not. I had never played so good in my life and I had no idea how I was doing it. I felt like a character in Flubber and Robin Williams had just put that green junk on my shoes and I was dunking on people twice my size. What? You don’t like Disney movies? Whatever, man.
Anyway, the point is that this mode of gameplay eliminates the need to know combos and complicated maneuvers, and is hard to utilize accurately with a finger where your opponent may totally be using a controller the whole time and have the benefit of precision. This, my friends, is an example of a mechanic that is pure gimmick for gimmick’s sake.
So how does this game actually rate? Very well, I’d give it an 8/10. There’s nothing wrong with the game aside from what I think are unnecessary additives and a totally unfair touch screen mode.
The new characters are fun (seriously though, Rocket Raccoon guys, what the hell) and it offers the same experience as plain old MvC3. I think the fact that it doesn’t really add anything spectacular is why it doesn’t get a higher score. I mean, yes, the Heroes and Heralds mode is cool but it feels unnecessary and I don’t think that the mode alone makes it a phenomenal expansion to a game. Frankly, you don’t even need this game. If you like playing MvC3 then keep playing it. If you have have these new characters, well then go out and get it. I suppose since the original is not available for the Vita, this is your only option, so, well played, Sony.
We’re going to go get some fighting game enthusiast’s opinions of the game and see how they feel about all of this fancy-pants Vita stuff and if any of it is worth their money. Stay tuned and fight on.