When the Vita lineup was announced one thing stood out to me; the system is bringing the thunder when it comes to fighting games. At launch we have BlazBlue and our title at hand, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Sure, this is essentially the same game we played in November with some touch controls thrown in for good measure, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most impressive launch titles on the system. Finally being able to play a competent fighter on a handheld console without losing anything in the process is an amazing feat.
Everything you know and love from UMvC3 is here; all 50+ characters, Heroes and Heralds mode, online play, lobbies and, of course, the fast-paced action. I think the most impressive thing about this port is just how close it is to the console versions. Rarely do we get a fighting game that is just as playable on the go, as it is at home. You can even use any costume DLC or characters from the PS3 version in your Vita version, which is really cool. I had almost forgotten just how much stuff was crammed into this game, and all of it is on the Vita.
Playing on the system is another delight. Usually, portable systems don’t manage button spacing and a solid d-pad for fighters. The Vita handles this nicely. UMvC3 plays beautifully. Within seconds, I was performing aerial team combos and advanced guards with little effort. Capcom has thrown in the ability to use the touchscreen both exclusively or in conjunction with the buttons. This is actually cool as you can tap the X-Factor to initiate it while still using the buttons for combos. Sure, high-level players will balk at the idea of simply tapping for massive combos, but it is neat for beginning players.
Touch Mode basically consists of you swiping the screen to move your fighter and then tapping them profusely to perform auto-combos. The mechanics are a neat way to showcase the touchscreen, but offer little more. I actually found it boring after a while because the challenge seemed to fall apart.
I am not going to bore you by going over all the details of the game again. If you want to get an in-depth look at the mechanics and such, you can read our original review or our review of the Ultimate sequel. Everything from that release is present here, with the exception of Touch mode being included. Even with this exclusive mode, the game still lacks a little in the modes department. Heroes and Heralds is actually really cool, but again it essentially boils down to a series of matches with different rewards. The Vita version would have greatly benefitted from some system-specific modes outside of just Touch.
Online, the game runs super smooth for both ranked and unranked matches. Thankfully, you can search for players not using the touch controls, which serious players will appreciate. In our online experiences, the game ran about as well as you could imagine. You can also join up locally with a buddy via ad-hoc mode. Marvel vs. Capcom always shines when playing against human opponents, and the Vita version is no different.
As I have mentioned over and over, the most impressive part of UMvC3 is on the technical side. Visually, the game looks every bit as good as its console counterpart. The frame rate is ridiculous, and the sheer explosion of color on the vibrant OLED screen is infectious. This is one amazing looking game. The controls are also spot-on, leaving nothing to be desired. You will be performing massive combos in no time, it just feels right once you settle in. Audio keeps the pace going with the stellar soundtrack and incredible voice work. This is one jam-packed little cartridge.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the Vita is a technical marvel (no pun intended). Fighting game fans are in for a treat with this and BlazBlue as launch titles and Mortal Kombat on the horizon. Even if you think the double dipping of Ultimate was a scam, it is hard to deny the value of being able to play this amazing brawler whenever, and wherever, you want. I cannot recommend this game enough and if you own a Vita, this is easily a must-own in my book.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.