Capcom have a large, respected history with regards to fighters, especially in the cross series genre, and this title, free from the “two versions inside less than a year” controversy that was levied at the console versions, was a launch title for The Vita and is practically identical to the PlayStation 3 version, and visually is not that far off either. But is it any fun to play, and on a platform already building up a few fighting games, is it worth your hard earned cash?
For those of you that do not know, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 features 24 characters from Capcom’s back catalogue of games on one side of the roster, and on the other half features 24 characters from Marvel Comics roster. Depending on your knowledge of the history for both these series, some may be well known to you, and some not so, with a few obsure ones throuwn in alongside some obvious inclusions. Regardless of the mode you are playing, the basic premise is the same, you choose three fighters from the full roster regardless of their faction and face off against another three in a tag team style battle. The first player to lose all characters on their team loses. It sounds simple enough, but the characters have different styles, and whilst there is an element of button bashing, you may find that tactically one character may fair better in one situation but gets outclassed in another. You can also call in an “X-Factor” move, which makes your attacks stronger for a limited period of time. Additionally, as you use your array of moves, you will charge up your hyper meter, and this can be filled up to five times, and you can use this to call in an assist from one of your allies, or use it to unleash a three on one style assault combination, which can often have devastating effects!
As with any standard fighter, you have a campaign mode in which your ultimate aim is to stop Galactus from destroying the Earth, along the way disposing of opposing teams before you face off against him. Once you have beaten him, and it took me a fair few tries before I was successful, you will unlock a character ending video. Now if you lose, you get to see Galactus’ one so that makes 49 videos to unlock, plus various other bits and bobs, such as artwork and so on makes for a lot of gaming if you are the compulsive type.
You can take the fight online and fight against an opponent once you feel you are ready, I did and was put in my place quite quickly, so practice is recommended. There is a handy training mode for this purpose.
One thing about the online is that I found it to be quite buggy in trying to sign in online. The games I was able to play ran fine, with no noticable lag at all, but it quite often failed to sign in, or took a while.
Another featured mode is Heroes and Heralds, which takes the standard mode and applies a trading card style element to it. You are either trying to save the Earth or destroy it, and you have a selection of enemies to defeat in a 5×5 grid, facing off on different stages with the ultimate aim of conquering all stages. The more you use a stage, the higher the difficulty gets and the higher chance of getting better card. Once you have completed a row, it starts again, maintaining your stage progress. You customise your own deck, choosing a main card and two others from those that you have collected, your main card takes the primary effect and the others only the secondary.
The effects can be anything from starting with nearly a level five hyper bar or invisibility, longer duration of X Factor and it goes on, and the cards feature many characters from both universes, many of which are not selectable characters in the game. Obviously you can only work with what you have, but you really need to tailor your deck around your team to get the most out of both. It’s a great mode and I had more fun and spent more time on this than in the actual “main game”.
Visually the game is a treat, a real showcase of the power that the Vita has. The game is a 2D fighter as with most in the Capcom library, but it is all rendered three dimensionally, and there is an enormous amount of detail in the game. It almost looks exactly like a PS3 title, and is easily one of the prettiest games that the Vita has to offer, if you were looking for one to show off to your friends.
In summary though, if you are looking for a fighting game then this is a no brainer, even more so if you happen to be a Marvel or a Capcom fan. The game will last you a long time to collect everything it has to offer, whether that is cards or collectables. A must buy.