Regardless of how you feel about Capcom’s business practices over the past twelve months, one thing you can’t argue is that they offer up some pretty stellar games. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was a long time in the making, and when it landed earlier this year, gamers were ecstatic to go for a ride once again. The promise of future characters and content meant the game could last another decade before the inevitable sequel. Alas, none of that happened, and instead, Capcom decided to release a whole new package featuring all the content they had planned for DLC. What we end up with is a $40 disc that is jam-packed with content, whether or not you agree with their method of delivering it to gamers.
For those that have already been down this road, I will get right to the changes. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is, essentially, the same game with some added tweaks, characters and modes. First up, the two DLC characters from the original game, Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath are already here. In addition, there have been twelve new fighters added, six from each side. Marvel brings Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova and Rocket Raccoon. Capcom offers up Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis, Phoenix Wright, Strider and Vergil. Each one offers up some variety with certain ones being more fun (or effective) than the others.
Doctor Strange feels very akin to Dormammu for obvious reasons. Iron Fist and Nova are faster fighters with some decent combos while Hawkeye feels great, with awesome range and plenty of ways to keep enemies at bay. Ghost Rider is the middle ground, offering up decent attacks and special moves, while Rocket Raccoon is yet another tiny, ridiculously quick character that can shave down a health bar in an instant.
On the Capcom side, we have Nemesis who deals massive damage and moves extremely slowly. Phoenix Wright has some interesting combos, but mostly relies on his assistant for the brunt of the work. Strider and Vergil are pretty much what you would expect with some added flair, while Frank West has plenty of gimmicks such as his camera and weapons to make his moves even more interesting, plus he can level up. Firebrand is a quicker version of Arthur, with some decent range and special moves. Overall, the new additions are diverse and, for the most part, fun to play.
In addition to the new fighters, Capcom has also tweaked and balanced the game based on feedback and testing from the original. I am not going to pretend that I know all of the frame counts and damage nerfs they have done here, but after playing tons of online and versus matches, I can safely say that most casual fans won’t notice a whole lot. However, the tournament players will definitely have some adjusting to do. Overpowered characters have been toned down and weaker characters received buffs, so no more pounding on the once lower-tier fighters.
There are also a host of new modes, including some highly requested ones. The most prominent is the addition of spectator mode in online matches. When the original game launched, players could party up with eight players, but those not fighting were forced to simply stare at health bars. You can also now play as Galactus in arcade mode, which is more novelty than anything else. There is also a new DLC mode called Heroes and Heralds that uses cards to activate abilities into your characters such as invisibility or even a combination of abilities. Cards can be earned from offline play against CPU opponents or from other players online. It is a cool mode that should be available shortly after launch as free DLC.
As with most Capcom games, there is a lot of style thrown in to this new version. Small touches, such as a reversible cover that features some amazing artwork, to the redesign of the character select screen, the game definitely feels like a refined version of the game. The new intro is dramatic and, of course, showcases the new combatants. There are nine new stages, but a bulk of them are simply alternate versions of the existing ones. There are a couple of brand new stages. I did enjoy that random is now the default setting for stage select, constantly fighting in the danger room got old, real quick.
Visually, the game remains fast and frantic on all levels. Super moves fill the screen and stages are chock full of minor touches that you won’t notice until you are spectating someone else. I love that a lot of the alternate costumes are included here, giving the characters some personality, but the announcement of even more shows that Capcom is not shying away from charging for more DLC down the line. The music remains fantastic, mixing in classic tunes when particular characters are onscreen. There is so much fan service here that I sometimes forget just how awesome Marvel vs. Capcom truly is.
It may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a fantastic package. There are 12 new characters, 9 new stages and a plethora of tweaks and features that simply make this a steal for $40. Yes, if you bought the original in February, it feels like a betrayal that we are already getting a definitive version of a game less than a year old, but if you had bought all this content as DLC, I guarantee you $40 would not have covered the sticker. Hardcore fans, this is a must. Casual players may not see the need to upgrade, but whichever side you fall on, this is one hell of a fun experience. Please take me for (another) ride.
Review copy provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.