WARNING: This game review is made for the best use and comprehension of all Xbox owners, as that is the version I had played of this game. If you own the PS3 or PS Vita port of this game, you will likely not find much pro-tips in this.
Hey guys it’s Sam, and y’all know what this is–the first Sammwak post of the 2013 season! Let’s start things off right and make this a post that we’ll never forget, eh?
Define the term “crossover“; according to my Google Dictionary, it is “a point or place of crossing from one side to the other”. A notorious type of crossover is the intercompany crossover, where comic characters published from one company meet characters published by another. This has been done frequently by companies like Marvel and DC Universe, but this is the true epitome of those crossovers: a crossover game series. The Marvel vs. Capcom saga first debuted in 1996-’98 (it was first released for arcades in ’96, then the Sega Saturn in ’97, and finally the PlayStation in ’98) with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and the rest is core history. But don’t you remember how Super Street Fighter IV amazingly rebalanced Street Fighter IV–after having already blown the fighting genre out of the water? Well, MvC‘s decided to follow in its footsteps–but is it for better or for worse?
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a crossover brawler released just 3/4 of the year after the original MvC 3, and is its standalone update. I say “standalone” because all this was actually planned to be MvC 3 DLC, but after the events of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake-tsunami, scheduling was disrupted and it eventually turned out as its own game. It rebalances the title much like SSF4 did for its original: it gave off new characters, new stages, and a bit of tweaking. The game works largely similar to the original: you fight against an opponent (CPU or human) surrounded with goofy comic book effects upon every painful impact. You may actually see sound effects printed onto the screen, like “THWOKK!!” and “SLAM”. When the face of death rears its ugly head, you can always jump out and be replaced by another “assist” fighter–y’see, you fight in teams of three. When a fighter is killed, they are deemed “down” and the first assist on the list is sent out. When a second fighter is down, the last man standing is sent on a long haul–this is where your X Factor really comes in handy. The Factor is a technique that increases speed and damage, which gains more power if one or both of your assists are down. This is respectively known as a Level 2 or 3 X Factor. There is also a power bar that your character has; this is your Hyper Combo bar. Successfully landed hits fill the bar, and eventually you will fill the bar entirely and level up. This keeps going until you hit the “maximum” at level 5. Once you reach Level 1-3, you can perform those levels’ Hyper Combos. They are named after the amount of bars it takes to perform the move, with Level 3 Combos being the biggest and baddest of the bunch. They’re basically like the Ultra Combos of U MvC 3.
There are also specific in-game modes that you can indulge in:
- Arcade Mode – The game’s story mode, to say the least. You fight against five CPU trios until you get to the final boss: Galactus. The thing about Galactus is–he makes you look like a fly.
I mean, the guy’s hard to beat, but it’s not impossible. A few quick one-twos, proper methods and strategy, and a whole lot of hope are the three keys that will unlock Galactus’ ultimate defeat. But there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders; in the Olympics, you’d fight for your country. In this, you’d fight for your world. Yep–if you fail your mission you will be “world KO’ed” and you get to witness Galactus smash the Earth like a swatter against a housefly. (Awkwardly, after that point the game asks whether or not you want to continue.) But luckily, you can actually see how it’s like to be the final boss in the arcade’s Galactus Mode! (For Xbox owners, when selecting Arcade, press LB + Back + A all at the same time to unlock G Mode.) Once you defeat those five trios, you will destroy the world (which is ironically a good thing in this case) and unlock Galactus’ ending if you did this for the first time. Here are all the Xbox controls for this mode (I dubbed some of the moves myself, so at least try to imagine how painful they’d feel):
- X = Hand Dust
- Y = Palm Smash
- A or RT = One Finger Snap Back
- B = Mini Planet Destroyer
- Down + Any Attack = Fist Smash
- Forward + Any Attack = Sweeper Punch
- Up + Any Attack = Finger Laser
- Back + Any Attack = Eye Lasers
- Roll Back + Any Attack = Grab
- LT or Roll Forward + RT = Multi Finger Laser
- Roll Back + RT = Full Screen Finger/Eye Lasers
- Roll Forward + A = Ultimate Planet Destroyer (this will automatically KO the active opponent, although it takes several seconds to charge up)
- Heroes & Heralds – The first thing you need to worry about in H&H is whether or not you’re going to be a hero or a herald. If you’re a hero, you will fight to save the Earth. If you’re a herald, you will fight to attack the Earth. Y’see, all heralds are official property of Galactus. Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Anyway, you will fight across a number of stages starting at 0%. Beat someone, and the percentage goes up. Get to 100%, unlock a bonus level. Beat the bonus level, win a valuable ability card. Ability cards show off abilities that prove to be very useful, and these include: turning invisible while dashing, getting health back upon landing a 30-hit combo, stuff like that. But if you get beat, you actually lose percentage. So make sure you end up on the winner’s side. Oh, and I almost forgot–heralds get to be completely chrome! No, not Google Chrome. They have, like, silver bodies.
- Missions – The game also has a training mode that allows you to hone your skills in several missions with every single character. Obviously, the fighters are divided into their respective sides of Marvel or Capcom. With each fighter, you will likely see a row of faded icons. Those are missions you have yet to complete; completed missions will bring the icon to full resolution. Stumped on one mission? You can always skip to the next. Tongue-tied over controls? You can always check the mission objective. What happens if you complete all the missions?–then don’t consider visiting me for a match!
- Training Mode – Like with any game, UMvC3 comes with a training mode that allows you to fight against a “training dummy” of your choice in a surrounding of your choice. But the biggest diversity of this mode is that you can actually tinker with the settings. Change the placing of the lifebars. Give yourself infinite X Factor. Even take out health regeneration to make this into a “real fight”. Whatever floats your boat or tickles your peach, bro.
Now, Ultimate MvC3 has the fast-paced action, the cutting-edge visuals, the razor-sharp controls, the unlimited opportunities, and some sprinkles of laughs that most fighting games need. Like with titles including Street Fighter, you can alter the language settings to make every word a character utters in Japanese. This is just an example of the lack of limits the game thrives in–unfortunately, as comical as it is, it does take its powers a bit too far. There’s not much differentiation between game modes, and–like with the original–replays are still non-included. Missions are honestly kind of lackluster in the key tools that will make or break the talent of a player, and will likely just lead to some frustration with missions. Maybe some hair-pulling, but mostly frustration. It’s also not your most squeaky-clean fighting game–like in literally any fighter, females are decked up in skimpy outfits, with the exception of one character that is literally butt-naked on screen. Some unexpected swearing levels occur, and all the game’s bangs and pows can lead to action that can cover the entire screen, which is both a blessing and a curse. The missions also seem well-nigh impossible in later stages, jumping difficulties way faster than we can comprehend them. Much like in gameplay like, what, Diddy Kong Racing, the premises of the game can get quickly old. It’s really the humor, characters, and styling that forms the soft, gooey center of the game. Everything else–well, I hope you haven’t broken your sweet teeth.
1 out of 5 – Positive role models – Some of the femme fatales talk about maintaining “strong womanhood” and refusing to let male characters discount them due to their gender–but then again, have you seen what these people are wearing?
2 out of 5 – Ease of play – The controls are easy to grasp–if they just made the learning curve a bit less steep. In Street Fighter, you were treated to easy controls like “roll-forward/back” motions, or “Z” or “circle” motions. In this world, they break literally everything down. You might be taught how to do a Hadoken by it saying (down, down-at-a-right-angle, forward), but you realize you’re just rolling forward when you do the move! And how about those people who have literally way too many moves? Moves branching from other moves that themselves branched from other moves, it’s all just a big mind game. Sometimes, specific combos must be performed through an arduous series of button-pressing.
3 out of 5 – Violence – As this is a fighting game, yes it does carry a lot of pows and ows. But this game specializes in weaponry-of-choice like guns, blades, explosives, and fireballs, but not a single drop of blood is spilled. And it might be a bit worse considering these battles are 3-on-3. Even worse than “a bit worse”, all three fighters on a team can combine for one “Crossover Combination” on this one unlucky victim. As I’ve said, the action can get so out of hand that you can even lose track of the characters. But it doesn’t really leave as much marks as series like Mortal Kombat did–instead, defeated players are deemed “down”, not dead. Even more violence is depicted, shown, and foreshadowed in characters’ endings.
3 3/4 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Females wear some of the skimpiest in-game clothing you’ll find around, and you might see a lot of cleavage. But there’s one character known as Felicia (from Darkstalkers) that is practically the reason behind the game’s “partial nudity” label. If you were to see her, you would see that she was literally in the buff–except for some white skintight material that keeps only her most sensitive parts covered. But despite this most of her “junk in the trunk” is visible. And get this–she’s forty years old in human years! Also, a female character named Morrigan is shown pole-dancing for Wolverine in his ending.
2 3/4 out of 5 – Language – Definitely more crass than your typical fighter. “Damn”, “hell”, “b*tch”, and “a*s” are the four most commonly uttered words you’ll find in the “trash talking” that occurs before the fight. Some characters continue to utter these words in situations like a missed throw.
4 out of 5 – Product Placement – This game is a Marvel-Capcom crossover with tons of characters, some you may not have even known existed. If you were to learn about them in their bios, you’d actually be able to see their origins of comics or games.
Play-Again Ratio: A (4 points)
Smarts: C+ (2.5 points)
Fun: A- (4 points)
Style: B (3 points)
Humor: A (4 points)
Entertainment: A (4 points)
FINAL SCORE: 21.5 out of 30 (Well Done), 3.5 stars out of 5, 79% out of 100%
CONSENSUS: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has the roster, the action, the controls, and the excitement that any standard fighter would, but the biggest problems with the game is that it plays dirty and it plays hooky with the typical rulebook–which differentiates it from the rest both for better and for worse.
Well, I guess that’s for the kickoff of season ’13 here on Sammwak. Comment me any games that got you putting your game face on, and you could be responsible for our next review! If you prefer putting in more nostalgic and old-school games, I suggest you hop on over to 2S2M for that–we already just kicked off our new old-school game reviewing series, Insert Coin! Check out our series premiere here where I review one of history’s most timeless games–Ocarina of Time!
Stay button-pressing America,
Video of the Week: I don’t know if any of you have heard about this, but there’s a new show on Cartoon Network that’s gonna be hitting the primetime in exactly three weeks. It’s called Nick Cannon’s Incredible Crew, or just Incredible Crew for short. If you missed the one-hour series preview back on the 31st –aka “Incredible Crew Year’s Eve”–you’re not out of luck. I got a special treat for you that wasn’t in the preview at all, and it’s directly from the official cartoonnetwork channel. It stars Crew member Jeremy Shada–who’s also done work on the Network as the voice of Adventure Time‘s Finn–in a sweet 2-minute music video about his after-school trip with his mom to run errands at the bank, salon, and to pick up his little sister at ballet. All this is interpreted in a sweet rap that is catchy, innovative, and vibrant. And you ain’t seen nothing yet from Incredible Crew, so check out the series premiere on January 24th at 8/7c–only on Cartoon Network!