Won't get fooled again.
After you bypass all of the data installations, trophy installations and even the prompt to check if there’s new downloadable content for you to give Capcom more of your money, the first sight one witnesses after booting Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is saliva. The introduction is a scrolling through the pages of the comic book that came with the special edition of Marvel vs. Capcom 3. You know, one of the once exclusive features that came with the $70 package that subsequently became obsolete when Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came into existence. Thanks guys, I really appreciate the lesson learned. I know now never to buy a first-run Capcom game. Street Fighter X Tekken? I can wait nine months for the ultimate super edition.
As for the actual disc release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it is a n objectively improved version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3. There are still three jacked up cartoon characters fighting three other jacked up cartoon characters in a test of might and high-jumping prowess. You are still filling a super meter that allows you to urinate Dragonball Z-style lasers out of your urethra. The training mission mode is still a bust that doesn’t even teach you how to properly execute the combos they ask you to perform, let alone actual fighting strategies needed to compete with the vicious online community. The big difference is that half the populace isn’t abusing Wesker anymore. No, they moved on to the modestly-less campy Virgil.
There are twelve new player characters. The only returning character from years past is Strider Hiryu, a ninja from a franchise I’m sure Capcom would love to revive, release and then release a special edition of. There’s something decidedly bold regarding their decision to ignore the cries of the people to bring back assorted older characters. Especially since most of those cries came from me. But alas. No Ken, no Gambit, no Venom, no cactus person.
There are a couple of populous favorites amongst the new cast. Ghost Rider is here as Ghost Rider and not Nick Cage. Hawkeye is here as Hawkeye and not Jeremy Renner. The Nemesis is here not as Nemesis but as trenchcoat-flasher Nemesis. But then the game hucks at you a few surprise curveballs. Frank West learns new attacks by way of leveling up with photography. Phoenix Wright enters the annals of all time great fighting game characters by collecting evidence and a level three super that immediately declares his opponent guilty. They even threw in Rocket Raccoon for no better reason other than to inspire people to look at his Wikipedia page and repeatedly yell “oh shit” over and over again. They sure didn’t put him in the game because he would make an interesting fighting game character.
I found myself at least drawn to most of the new cast. If you do the math, you are paying about 1.666666 dollars less per new character than you were charged for them in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition. I don’t know what the tournament scene thinks of this addition; Virgil aside, people are still standing by the Sentinels, Dantes and Phoenixes (not Wright) of the world in regards to people whooping my ass online.
From there, I can count the number of meaningful additions on one hand, and meaningless additions on the same hand. X-Factor no longer speeds up your character and creates a Sentinel with lightning-fast mutant-killing efficiency. It still heals you and strengthens attacks, so my strategy of “let the first two characters die so Captain America can do all the dirty work” still applies. And the online matchmaking has gone from “not working” to “working”. You can now go to “player match” and “ranked match” and actually sometimes find someone. Also, lobbies and spectator modes are now a thing, bringing Marvel vs Capcom 3 up to par with the rest of the fighting game world. Less meaningful is a mode to play as final boss Galactus, so you too can realize why he was never meant to be anything beyond an AI-controlled boss character with basic attack patterns. And I was told there are new background stages, but I barely noticed. They seem more like slightly-modified versions of existing stages. Alas.
I’m going to play a lot of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on account of how strong the original game was, and this happening to be a stronger version of that. However, I can acknowledge that only three groups of players should buy this game. Either you love Marvel vs. Capcom 3 a lot, or you never bought the first game and have now developed a curiosity for punching a Sentinel with Phoenix Wright’s legal papers. Or, you had the clairvoyance to not buy the original game in anticipation for this special edition. In any event, I know that this game is good enough to last me beyond Street Fighter X Tekken’s release and up to whenever that game’s special edition comes out.
3 ½ stars