Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 25.04.2017

Review for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on Xbox One

Over a decade after Abyss was defeated by the mightiest fighters in the multiverse, a new threat is starting to take shape. The villainous Victor Von Doom has teamed up with the diabolical Albert Wesker and many others to merge the worlds of both Capcom and Marvel. If that wasn't enough, Galactus has appeared to "restore order" to the galaxy, even if it means devouring Earth. Now the fate of two worlds lies in the hands of 50 warriors. Only three of them are strong enough to defeat their rivals and rescue the planet from the clutches of a cosmic entity.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a clash of superheroes, a battle of ideas, and a war of extremes. It's a dissonant tornado that rides the thinnest line between immaculate execution and maniacal absurdity. This fighter is overwhelming in every sense of the word. Where else can one find an explosion-filled circus where the slightest mistake can result in a devastating loss? Why would anyone willingly put themselves through such a madcap grinder? After all, this is the sort of game where infinites, touch of death combos, and unblockable setups come as naturally as salt in the ocean.

One possible reason is because experimentation is the key to success. The player is rewarded for their ingenuity just as much as their skill. The effort they've put in has caused the game to evolve in ways even the developers didn't believe was possible. It's also part of the reason why fighters are so difficult to review. Over a long enough period of time, their very nature can change. What's considered to be a winning strategy on the first day could be dramatically different in a few years, or even just a few weeks. It all depends on the discoveries that the players make.

Screenshot for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on Xbox One

Also, it certainly helps that this game is pure fun. On a casual level, players have a huge roster of diverse and interesting characters to play around with. The level of execution necessary to pull off spectacular moves and combos isn't high at all. Also, the control setup is perfectly designed for the stock Xbox One controller. While some gamers prefer the feel of a joystick, anyone can be competitive with a pad. Unlike the previous Marvel vs. Capcom entry, there's far more personality, including character-specific win quotes, endings, and music. These details could be considered frivolous, but they make the game aesthetically consistent. In terms of presentation, this game gets everything right.

High level play is where everything gets complicated. The viability of a playable character is determined not just by their individual abilities, but also by the synergy they create when teamed up with others. It's not enough to go into a match thinking "I have three characters". Instead, the player should be concerned about the team they have. If a member of that team is lost, then they have to adapt to a new situation, or their loss is guaranteed. It's little wonder why Capcom felt that the much-maligned X-Factor was necessary. When the player's team is depleted, they can't call for assists to extend combos or find openings. Without any options, they're at a severe disadvantage, hence the need for comeback mechanics. All too often however, the entire match revolves around the comeback, rather than everything that led up to that point.

Screenshot for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on Xbox One

Like its predecessor, this game struggles with having a balanced roster. There are far more viable characters, but some (like Hsien-Ko), don't see much use beyond gimmicky setups. Conversely, almost everyone has Vergil as their anchor. With a level three X-Factor, he can singlehandedly win matches just a little too easily. Still, more than anything else, the player's ability is what leads to a win. One such player - who goes by the name of Ryan LV - has made a massive impact on the tournament scene, and his team consists of Chun Li, Morrigan, and Phoenix. It's a bizarre combination, considering that Chun Li isn't particularly good, Morrigan depends on a Dr. Doom assist to keep players locked down, and Phoenix is easily countered due to needing five meters to unleash her full potential. Still, he makes this team work, thanks to his exceptionally skilful play.

Even taking into account the balance issues, it's hard to fault such an imaginative roster. There's a team for every style of play. While it can take a long time just to figure out which characters and assists to use, accessibility isn't too much of a problem, thanks to the easy move inputs. Finding that perfect team that operates in harmonious synchronicity is a really satisfying endeavour. It's where all of the experimentation and practice pays off. Even somebody without the stomach for competitive play can find entertainment in learning the game's every intricacy.

Screenshot for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on Xbox One

The Xbox One port is all-around great. Load times weren't much of an issue in the previous version, but it's nice that they're practically non-existent here. Both DLC characters are available from the outset, along with all of the costumes, so there aren't any additional purchases. The resolution bump to 1080p is also welcome. However, anyone expecting major changes is out of luck. There isn't a balance patch or anything of that sort. Fights can be just as absurd and one-sided as ever. The netcode also hasn't seen any substantial improvements. It's still heavily dependent on the quality of the player's connections. Results may vary.

From what little information that has been released, it's becoming increasingly clear that Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite will mark the beginning of a new era for the popular franchise. One of the most notable changes is that there won't be any assist characters. In other words, assist moves such as Doctor Doom's "hidden missiles" will be a thing of the past. Also, with more and more fighting games adopting a regular update schedule, there's less of a possibility that certain characters will dominate for an extended period of time.

Undoubtedly, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is going to be seen as irrelevant, a relic from a time that people would rather forget. It's a shame, considering that in most respects, this fighter is quite fantastic. Putting aside the stunning presentation and high quality action, it deserves a lot of respect for the freedom it grants to its players. There are so many tools available, which gives everyone free reign to push the game in unimaginable directions. Granted, it isn't always for the best, but the amount of creativity on display is unparalleled. The successor may turn out to be an improvement, but one can't shake the feeling its more focused design could also lead to a more limited game.

Screenshot for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

In short, there will never be another fighter quite like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The staggering roster has some notable flaws, but an admirable effort was made to provide something for everyone. The X-Factor sub-system could have used a bit more development time in order to iron out the issues. Even taking into account all of the frustrating nonsense that can occur, this game is still very impressive. The Xbox One port is really good, though there aren't enough additions to win over anyone who has played the previous version extensively. For everyone else, it's still a worthwhile pickup.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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