Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, The Black Order: The Real Marvel Universe
On July 19th Marvel fans, and Switch owners, rejoiced. Nintendo released the third Ultimate Alliance game and now that I’ve beaten the story I can say it’s pretty amazing. I find most of my free time is spent playing it. The story feels like it was made for fanboys and girls of the comics as well as the movies. Aside from the massive story, the game has so many characters, additional goals, and trial missions that even after the story is complete, I’m not putting it down. I will admit that I was surprised seeing other reviews for the game appear so negatively. The game does have it’s flaws and certainly isn’t perfect, however getting to play as a real Avengers team is satisfying enough to forgive them and keep playing with a smile on my face.
Made For The Fans
Due to copyright laws, budget restrictions, and general audience believably, the Marvel movies and shows don’t get to incorporate a lot of things from the comic books. This video game doesn’t adhere to any of those restrictions. The story is set up as several individual chapters that tell a story from the the comics that all grow into a bigger Infinity level plot. Was your favorite comic story Shadowland, featuring Dardevil and the Defenders? Are you a fan of the Inhuman’s but never got to see the story done right? Were you disappointed that the Doctor Strange movie didn’t have Dormammu with a flaming skull? All of these things are done the “correct way” in this game.
The game is fully inclusive as well. There are instances that people genuinely enjoy more from the theatrical films. And this game also acknowledges and includes them. For instance, the Paul Rudd version of Ant-Man is perfect, so when they introduce the character into the game, they use his version. This game was obviously made for fans both new and old. Personally my favorite moment was the X-Men level that has based all of the art from the cartoon from the 1990’s. The main reason I love this game is the massive amount of lore and variety.
Audiences love the Avengers because of the team-ups, and this game is made around that concept. Not only do you get to play as the original Avengers, but you get to choose any team up your heart desires, including different bonuses for those teams. My main go to team is Wolverine, Black Panther, Psylocke, and Ghost Rider (let me know whan that movie moment can happen.) You are in control of the people you play with through some of the greatest stories in Marvel history. However the infinity stone story the title is named after is one of the weaker sections of the game.
Flaws of a Sequel
As much as I enjoy playing this game, there are some features I find lacking. The root cause of these issues seem to come from how amazing I found Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. If you don’t remember, the story for the second game was Civil War. Unlike the Captain America movie, it stayed loyal to the comic book version and was just as character packed. Having the individual levels focus on different characters and stories is nice for diversity, but it leaves the overall story feeling like an after-thought. Even if the end of the game was astounding, it just felt like another level and not something the entire story was moving towards.
Another feature from the second game that I found great, was the team power attacks. Using Iron Man and Captain America together had to possibility of the two combining their powers for a unique and powerful attack. This is not in MUA3. You can have both characters attack at the same time and there is a bonus, however it doesn’t have the same feeling without the unique animation that made you really feel like the characters were teaming up. The game I am playing does have an issue; it just feels like 4 random characters fighting their own battles on the same field.
I honestly do not remember the camera being as bad in the previous games as it is in this sequel. The number one complaint I have, is the fixed camera. There were many instances where the camera was clearly put in a place for cinematic effect and it pays off. Unfortunately there are other times I wondered if the developers just placed it in a random location to fix a graphical bug and it was never tested. Far too many times in this game I have died because I have no idea where my character is or what is going on in the screen. And the chaos of combat never helps with those situations.
Coordinated Button Smashing
I love getting to see a random team of heroes I have selected working together. Each one with unique art for the same 5 moves. It creates a really fun and colorful explosion of action. However there are times all the chaos can be confusing. I have found myself looking at the wrong character or not realizing someone on the team has died. The visual effects can fill up the screen fast and blinking can turn into the difference between life and death.
The game is made for couch co-op. I played the story with at least one other player, which makes the game more fun for sure. Getting to coordinate the battles with someone human adds elements of strategy beyond button mashing. For the trials section of the game, I’ve played solo at times and it isn’t as fun. Mainly the computer allies on your team just are too dumb and when the game gets difficult, you need people to help. The hardest level by far is Hel (from the Thor level) and it took my partner and I over 30 deaths to come up with a strategy that could win… which was mainly just running past all the bad guys and getting to the end. Some of the trial challenges are even more ridiculous.
Nintendo’s Fun Marvel Experience
I thought it was a weird choose for Marvel to make this game an exclusive with Nintendo. I personally felt that it would have worked just as well on the Playstation, Xbox, or PC. But then I thought about the game and the culture Nintendo provides their fan-base. It’s a comic book game full of simple mindless action. Nintendo has never tried to separate themselves from that concept. My only issue is the fact that the exclusivity didn’t seem to add anything to the game. I will recommend getting an elite controller if possible. I didn’t feel comfortable playing with the Switch Joy-Cons. The game does not utilize them in any way and the game-play definitely has a more comfortable feel with a more normalized controller. But if you have a switch and more importantly if you have friends, I say you give this game a try.
Video game played and review written by: Troy Smith