I am fond of disclaimers. They admonish, cleanse and excuse; three qualities every writer, journalist or opining orator often require. Disclaimers, however, are the antithesis of authority. They undermine whatever status of scholarship one might claim, when one passes up full commitment to a statement. A proclamation of knowledge rarely convinces with presence of the word “but”. Therefore it is, or is that ought to be, rare for a journalist, writer or opinionated individual to do so.
As with Super Turbo, Second Impact and Third Strike, Continuum Shift and numerous others, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is an updated successor to a fighting game. They are a landmark of a genre that has gone tolerated to, it may be safe to surmise, the disenfranchisement of many beyond the self-proclaimed fanatic. But each iteration quickly becomes the adopted first child regardless of qualities: despite the imbalance between Super Street Fighter IV and Arcade Edition, the latter was immediately picked up as tournament standard, and so did the Xbox Live crowd. Ultimate, however, was a difficult proposition in spite of the fighting game community’s dispassionate stance against revision: it was released a mere nine months following MvC3’s launch.
But many will recall a bloated nine months of Tron assist, Dark Phoenix mashing and Wesker shenanigans. Despite an early patch being released to reduce the then-bugbears of high-health Sentinel and an Akuma infinite, little was done to counter that most crippling of shortcomings in a versus fighter: balance.
Ultimate is the game MvC3 should have been. The list of additions and amendments is noteworthily routine for the affront of full retail price, and the restriction to a physical copy betrays the thousands that wished for a DLC update and find themselves with an already-outdated nine-month old baby. But necessity softens the blow if you’re still excited about squaring Ryu against Spider-Man.
Speaking of previously mid-tier characters, balance between combatants has been refined with a liberal application of new pugalistic powers for some of the otherwise unexceptional roster while high and god-tier characters find themselves hindered by subtle flaws without being crippled. Captain America’s combo potential benefit from a new double jump and new-internet favourite Spencer received both statistical upgrades and a new aerial move. MvC3 has always been celebrated for its high-aggression play that means any player with any team has the potential to take down characters with one extensive combo but now the effort is cleaner, requires more skill and in many cases the sacrifice of early activated X-Factor.
However, beyond any alteration on any individual level is the biggest revision: the removal of the Delayed Hyper Combo glitch. For the uninitiated, damage in combos in MvC3 and Ultimate is assessed on a sliding scale: the more hits a combo does, the less damage each subsequent hit produces. This allows for hundred-plus hit combos to be enacted. A DHC, however, would reset the damage counter back to zero, and subsequently every character suffered an exaggerated frailty. Tournament players constructed teams build around the glitch, such as Team Hori’s Tatsu running a Deadpool/ X-23/ Sentinel team entitled “One Hit Kill” and lent a certain fleeting quality to proceedings. Its removal has resulted in a more protracted play, but matches are less at the whimsy of a hyperbolic atomic bomb and more vigorous for it.
There are issues. With the drive to make available and activated X-Factor more visually apparent, it is more troublesome to see whether your health has reached the “magic pixel” stage – that sliver of life that really does mean the difference between victory and defeat – and the new and revamped stages are distinctly dull, although a comfortable compromise to complaints of overly dark and movement-filled arenas obstructing visibility that cluttered MvC3.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will remain a divisive game. Its frenetic play visually seats it between its more sedate Street Fighter cousin and the likes of Smash Brothers and Power Stone, although will be unfamiliar and off-putting for many. As will its harsh difficulty arc, with single-player providing little preparation for the ardors of online and a sparse, tired-looking training mode compared to its Arc System Works’ compatriots. But there remains a childish glee in reenacting Wolverine and Hulk’s first encounter, and if you can squeeze in a Shoryuken somewhere, all the better.Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the game MvC3 should have been.
This is a review of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which I have never played. I make several assertions with regards to its predecessor, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which I have played twice. I comment on tier lists, ease of play, the engineering around the three-on-three combat and I do so from nothing but conjecture, assumption and personal observation.
I have an observer’s intimacy with the Southern California – SoCal – fighting game community and my knowledge stems from analysis of matches, tournaments and YouTube videos. Nominal figureheads including Mike Ross, Combofiend, IFC Yipes, Marn, Ultradavid, Gootecks and others inform my presumptions on the tier list and character match-ups, and gaps in my knowledge are amassed piecemeal from internet message boards, websites and personal examination.
But my credentials are hardly of merit to mention; I have never played the game, and there stems the question of whether it is fair for me to comment from a position of authority. If you were swayed, nonplussed or saw through my ruse, leave a comment below.