Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review #326: Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3(Vita)

 Guess this is a good excuse as any to revisit Marvel VS Capcom 3
 It should be known that I'm a bit of a fighting game aficionado. I follow the competitive scene surrounding fighting games, even if I don't play competitively myself, and I love all fighting games alike, not favoring one company over the other out of fanboyism. Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 was a bit, deservedly, of a controversial release, coming out less than a year after the vanilla release. Opinions may vary, but I thought UMvC 3 was brilliant, and being a fighting game lover, now I've means to have it on the go.

 Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 offers a 48-character sized roster, 50 if you have both DLC characters, which, unless you've bought them previously, can't be obtained now due to licensing issues. The roster is a bit hit or miss, Marvel is well represented having characters from all over their world, albeit prioritizing characters with movies or movies that were on the way, like Rocket Raccoon. Capcom's side however lacks a bit of diversity. Resident Evil gets Chris, Wesker, Nemesis AND Jill(DLC), Devil May Cry gets Dante, Vergil AND Trish, Darkstalkers gets Morrigan, Felicia and... Hsien-Ko...? Seriously? At least Ultimate's newcomers added variety with Phoenix Wright and Frank West, but one can't help but wonder why not cover more series, like Onimusha, Monster Hunter, Power Stone or even Sengoku Basara. Heck, I'd take Regina over Jill in order to represent Dino Crisis! Basically, you mileage will vary on how much some characters deserved a spot on the roster or not. The stages selection is undoubtedly lacking, but they make up in quality.
 So, how does MvC 3 play? You pick a team of three and pit it against another team. You've 6 buttons: Light attack, Medium Attack, Heavy Attack and Pop up being your primary means of offence, and then the shoulder buttons are used to either tag in either partner or call them in for an assist attack. It's simple, fast and works very well. Using all those tools, alongside a bevy of special and super moves performed by inputting different directions on the analog nub or digital pad, you can perform combos to rack up more damage. The game is very beginner friendly, as mashing will result in an spectacle of flashy stuff happening immediately, however, someone who knows what they are doing will easily over power a beginner, but the latter will have fun anyways since simple combos are easy to perform. There's also a few more advanced techniques, like forcing the opponent to switch into a different character, pulling off sequential supers with different characters, or pushing your enemy back while guarding if you're inclined in learning the game. There's no real tutorial on these, and the game doesn't come with an instruction booklet, unlike the console version, so if you want to learn these, you are on you own, but there's more than enough information online.

 This port can be commended for delivering everything the Console version had. There's the online mode, on which I couldn't find any matches, both ranked and unranked, the 'Heroes and Heralds' mode where you try to collect cards, as well as every offline mode: Arcade, the Galactus mini-game, Training and Mission(10 trials per character). There's also a new 'Touch' mode, which is basically an Arcade mode with extra touch controls for easier supers, not very noteworthy. Now then, if there's one pet peeve I have when it comes to fighting games is VS CPU modes. I don't mean Arcade, I mean the ability to fight against any CPU I want at any time. It used to be a no-brainer, but at the time of UMvC 3's release, some games, this included, started forgetting about it. When it comes to portable fighting games, I think that this is more of a necessity, as finding people who own both console and game as well is a bit tougher than bringing a buddy home, and you won't always have access to the Internet. As far as I'm concerned, this is a huge omission in this game.
 Another thing to commend this game for is how smoothly it runs. I didn't come across any form of slowdown whatsoever, and the game looks phenomenal. In order for it to run so well, some concessions had to be made: Stages lack animation, being completely static, and the special effects, such as those of hitting an opponent or projectiles have been turned into oversized pixelated sprites. It might take a bit of time getting used to the latter, and the really huge specials like Thor's tornado or Iron Fist's aura special look laughably bad in comparison to the beautiful 3-D models, but it doesn't get in the way of enjoying the game at all. While the Vita, as most handhelds are, is ill-fitted for fighting games, controls were responsive and tight. The game offers a 'simple' mode, but you should ignore it, or you'll end up with a wrong idea about the game, and end up bored with the repetitive gameplay. Y'see, simple mode makes it so that Light Attack turns into your ONLY combo, Medium attack is used to pull off two, and only two, special moves while Heavy attack will perform Super moves. It's very dull and saps all the creativity and fun out of making your own combos and the fast paced combat.

 Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 on the Vita is a fantastic port of a fantastic game. The controls are not the best due to the Vita itself, but they are manageable, and I feel that the lack of offline VS CPU kinda kills some of the replay value for me. But all in all, they crammed the entire console game into a tiny Vita card, sacrificing very little and keeping everything that matters intact.
 8.0 out of 10

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