Now this is technically going to be a dual review. Seeing as how Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 were released in 2011, I figured it's only best if I cover both. It is also fitting since there are people who didn't buy Marvel vs Capcom 3 and instead went with Ulimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 that I review both. This is where there is a divide in the video game community over whether or not a gamer loved or hated Marvel vs Capcom 3. That question would be asked again when Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was released just nine months later.
Being HonestDragon, I have to say that I was pumped for Marvel vs Capcom 3. I remember the good old days when I used to play the original Marvel vs Capcom and Marvel vs Capcom 2 when I could choose from my favorite characters of who faces who. Who would it be today? Ryu vs Venom? Gambit and Iron Man vs Strider and Mega Man? Doctor Doom vs M. Bison? I was always happy to be able to play it. So let's see what Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate delivered.
First, and obviously, the gameplay was pretty good. It's fast paced, smooth, and very addicting. The new chained combos allow players the chance to unleash a lot of damage. The air combos offer something new in that if you are fighting in a stage with a second level of ground, then your air combo can send you to somewhere new in the stage. There are also Hyper Combos and Team Combos that pretty much can make or break a match. If you want to destroy your opponent, then those are the kind of moves to use. Unless they block it then you're left in the dark. Another addition to the matches is "X-Factor" where once activated, increases strength and speed, while regenerating lost health. This is especially helpful when you're in a bind. The problem with "X-Factor", though, is that it is too easy to activate. So much so, that I keep finding myself accidentally activating it when I don't want to.
Second, the graphics are sweet. The characters look amazing in the new 3D models and 2D environments. It's a nice switch to see how well this game looks on this generation of consoles.
Controls can be pretty intimidating. Veteran players of the original, like myself, will have a hard time getting used to the new configurations. It is by no fault of our own because unless you really are dedicated, then you are going to have a hard time adjusting. Half the time, I have no clue what I'm doing and the action is so fast paced that I can't keep up. Yeah, I lose a lot.
The sounds of both Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate are clear and precise. You even get the option to have the characters speak in English or Japanese. Banter can be heard among the characters when they begin the match. Probably my favorite line with Captain America is when he taunts Zero. "Your name's Zero, huh? Hope you don't fight like one."
Features that are seen are limited to only a few modes. The game adds Simple Mode for people to use moves easily that are limited to only a few face buttons. Even then, I sort of had difficulty in that it made it harder for me to execute moves despite doing the exact button combos. Mission Mode is something for players to use for character challenges, but seems more like a training simulator. Finally, Shadow Mode is a mode where you get to face the strategies and teams of the game's development staff to see how you stack against them.
Even with the intriguing gameplay and hype that went into Marvel vs Capcom 3, I have to say (and be honest) that Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate were a huge letdown. I'm serious. This game could have been better. For gameplay, even with the characters I'm okay with and despite the hours I have played, I always get beaten time and again by people who played an equal share of time. For features, there's hardly a thing to see and go through. The experience that I have with this game can be described with these two words: "lackluster" and "infuriating".
The cold, hard truth about Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate is that they are bare minimum games. We were told that there was going to be all of these features that would separate Marvel vs Capcom 3 from its predecessors. Did we get the Story Mode that Capcom was pushing for months before the game's release? Not unless you got the special edition with the 12 page comic that tells the story. Did we get Spectator Mode for when you go online to face other people? Not for MvC3, but it should've been there in the beginning. Did they patch the games for balancing? Not until UMvC3 and even then we had to pay for it, while the guys at Mortal Kombat do it for free. Did any other modes that were seen in Street Figher IV (like Tournament Mode and Team Battle) make it onto this game? No.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 have so many issues that gamers want addressed that I feel obligated to point them out. The three biggest issues among gamers is the roster, online lag, and supposed Story Mode. Gamers go back and forth on this, but I'll sum up what I've heard and experienced.
Everyone kind of had the feeling that the roster here was going to be shorter than the one in Marvel vs Capcom 2. That wouldn't have been a problem for me, as long as they had good and interesting characters to put there. Granted, not all of the originals made the cut, but quite a few new faces made an interesting appearance here.
Dante, Trish, Amaterasu, Viewtiful Joe, Chris Redfield, and Albert Wesker (to name a few) make great debuts. Still the burning question for Capcom's side is: where is Mega Man? They released a costume for Zero that resembles Mega Man...but it's still not Mega Man. They brought in Frank West's Mega Man costume...but it's still not Mega Man. What about showing some love for other franchises like Dino Crisis, Lost Planet, and Onimusha? I heard a lot of people say they wanted characters from those games.
What about Marvel's side? They have some good debuts, too. Deadpool, Dormammu, Super-Skrull, Taskmaster, Thor, and X-23 are excellent additions. As of UMvC3, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon were well received. People seem to like Marvel's side with some exceptions including M.O.D.O.K., She-Hulk, and Phoenix.
So where is that Story Mode we were hearing so much about? I was really interested in it. For both games? The Story Mode is non existent. The comic explains that Albert Wesker makes contact with Doctor Doom from his world about conquering both of their worlds. To make sure that a link is established between their worlds, Doctor Doom and his allies siphon power from Galactus' machines to power their dimensional gate. In affect, the heroes from both universes are at war not knowing what has been done, but eventually have to face an angered Galactus. That would have been really cool to see in the actual game with cutscenes. People who didn't buy the special edition that had the comic would be completely clueless about what's going on and would then have to go online for the answer. Even then, it's a disappointing experience in the game that consists of six stages that has no plot progression and a seventh stage where you fight Galactus. The end depends on who you strike the final blow with and then you get a picture and text ending per character.
Online gameplay is okay at best. Personal experience proved no problem with getting into a match, but I have seen my share of lack of connection to a single lobby. Many times, I had to try to connect and then get the failure notice. It sends me back to the main menu and I have to start again.
This is where the line is drawn between the good and the bad of Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. In this particular case, for me, it's bad. I thought this game was going to be the fighting game for me of 2011. I was dead wrong. Instead, that designation went to Mortal Kombat which blew all expectations of fighting games out of the water. Mortal Kombat proved that a fighting game can have more than just great gameplay. A fighting game can have a story, well done cutscenes, tons of extra bits of content, and not too complicated button combos.
Compared to Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 are lacking in so many areas. That plus the fact that once someone masters certain characters winning a match becomes impossible. Even with the characters that I'm somewhat good with I still get beaten in less than three minutes. That's including the fact that other gamers find the moves they can spam and make endless combos, but because of the fast paced gameplay I hardly know what hits me. For that, both Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 gets a barely passing grade of being average. I might be coming off as harsh because so many people love this game, but I'm letting you guys know that while it can be fun, it can also be frustrating and lackluster. And when you see what Mortal Kombat offered you from the get-go and continues to do so, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 look like they barely gave you anything. My recommendation lies to only fans of the franchise because new gamers will have difficulty stacking up to veterans and people who master the game quickly. Until we see what else Capcom has planned, this is HonestDragon signing off.