It’s only been 9 months since the original Marvel vs Capcom 3′s release yet the powers that be at Capcom have deemed it necessary to bring out an updated, more “ultimate” edition. Should we be surprised? Probably not – I actually forget the amount of versions of Street Fighter 2 I own – but ultimately, does this brand new Ultimate Edition deserve our scorn or praise?
At £24.99 this budget title certainly makes it tempting for both newcomers and diehards alike, and there is a fair amount of new material, even if accusations will still remain that the game could just as easily have existed as a series of DLC packs. By now we should all know what the relative merits of the original were, so this review will concentrate on the new aspects of the Ultimate edition, to try and answer that question posed in the introductory section up there.
There are 12 new characters with each side getting six new fighters: Marvel ranks are swelled with the Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Nova and the nimble pest that is Rocket Raccoon. Meanwhile the Capcom line-up is upgraded with the additions of Frank West (of Dead Rising fame), Firebrand (Ghosts and Goblins) Nemesis (Resident Evil 3), Vergil (Devil May Cry 3) and Phoenix Wright who is to my eyes the most intriguing of additions. Throwing court papers around or standing arms folded, he feels completely different to any and all of the other characters and this variation is certainly a good thing. After all, whilst it is invariably classed as one of the most frantic and frenetic fighters on the market, the varying traits and abilities of each character on the roster is exactly how MvC manages far greater depth as a combat game than might at first appear.
Although the game does enough to entertain the player from the off thanks to its bold, flashy appearance (like the original, the game is simply gorgeous) and incredibly simple control scheme, there are subtle changes to the mechanics of the game that unfortunately somewhat dilute the impact of the X-factor comeback system, but which now make it more possible to activate in-air – an exciting addition some would say, while others might scowl that it wasn’t removed all together. But the overall result is a more balanced fight that still manages to make the player feel invincible from the moment you start to play.
In addition to new characters, the existing characters have had something of a makeover, with the likes of Wolverine and Phoenix who dominated with such ease in the original getting toned down, and poster-boy Ryu receiving a much needed boost in power and impact. It all adds more balance to the roster, with power levels both reflecting established reputations and making it slightly less immediately simple to choose a character who can annihilate all foe with minimal effort. Variation is the spice of life, as well as of combat games.
The single player modes are almost exactly the same as the original, but the online mode now allows you to spectate matches when awaiting your own match-ups and the addition really does make you appreciate the visuals when you’re not caught up in the fight yourself. And as I say, the game looks phenomenally good.
The pressing question we really need to ask here is whether this version is worth buying should you already own the original? The answer not so simply is maybe. It is a better game thanks to the mechanical refinements, and for those who spend hours shaping their team and strategies I would certainly recommend this upgrade. For those who merely enjoy the craziness of the franchise and only dabble in it casually, then it’s definitely not worth the extra outlay.
At the end of the day it is the newcomers to the Marvel vs Capcom 3 world who will gain the most from this release: they have the best of both, a knock-down price for a fighting game that is one of the finest in the genre. So if you fall under that banner, don’t even think about ignoring it.
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