It took Capcom over a decade to release the follow up to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, one of the most beloved 2D fighters ever created. Fans clamored for a proper sequel, and earlier this year we got one in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The game was a great fighter that pushed the series forward in many ways, but drew criticism for a lack of modes and a smaller fighter roster than its predecessors. Now, not even a year later, Capcom has released the inevitable redux, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 makes all the customary moves for a Capcom update, bringing in new fighters, new stages, and a few additional features while retaining the crazy sense of style that gives the series distinction in the fighting game genre. The new changes will be great for hardcore fans of the franchise, but as a retail package it's awfully short on new modes and added features.
One of the main gripes that fans of the franchise had with Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was the condensed roster. The Marvel vs. Capcom games have always had a pretty full grouping of fighters from both sides, but Marvel vs. Capcom 3 dropped the full count of playable characters to thirty-six total fighters. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 adds in twelve more, six from Marvel and six from Capcom. Throw in the two downloadable characters, Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath and the full UMvC3 roster hits a not-too-shabby fifty total fighters.
The new characters are pretty varied in terms of fighting styles as well as usefulness. Aside from one returning character from Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Strider Hiryu, the rest of the added characters are brand new to the series. The line-up ranges from solid new characters like Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and Frank West (I'm curious why it took so long for them to be featured on the roster), and the customarily weird additions, like Rocket Raccoon and Phoenix Wright. Phoenix Wright's inclusion feels like pure fan service and he isn't particularly adept at fighting (his moves mostly consist of chucking papers around and falling on the ground), but the remaining newcomers are actually pretty good.
One of the much-vaunted new modes in the game is the new Heroes and Heralds mode, but this was not included on the disc and thus was not available by the writing of this review. Aside from Heroes and Heralds and a Spectator Mode, which allows you to watch two online players pummel on each other, UMvC3 is pretty light on new modes, repeating one of the original grievances that players had with Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
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The inclusion of the new characters is definitely a welcome addition that rectifies one of the main issues with Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but the game is still pretty light on new modes and features for a full-on retail release. The new characters could have been added as a downloadable pack (or a few downloadable packs) for owners of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as well, but purchasing the disc is currently the only way to get your hands on the new fighters. Spending forty bucks for something that could have been potentially released as downloadable content is a tough pill to swallow as this will likely appeal most to players who already forked over the cash for the full-priced original game.
Graphically, UMvC3 has the same stylish look as MvC3, which is great. What the character's lack in detail they make up for in personality, and the brightly colored and intense special effects give the game a unique sense of style and near seizure-inducing visual pop and flair. The crazy characters and insane special combos and moves make Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 a visual treat that stands alone against other fighters out there.
The menus in the game have gotten an overhaul, with a more comic book inspired aesthetic than the previous game. The character select menu has been reworked to separate the Marvel characters from the Capcom fighters, which makes it a little easier to find specific characters in the roster.
If you skipped out on Marvel vs. Capcom 3 earlier this year or simply heard about the Ultimate version and opted to wait it out, you’ll find a lot to love in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The added characters round out the roster very nicely, bolstering the full lineup to potentially fifty. However, if you’re looking for something more than added characters and stages, UMvC3 doesn’t add much in the way of new features and modes, making the forty dollar price tag and retail-only package a little hard to swallow.