With the additional of twelve new players (6 Capcom, 6 Marvel), the total playable roster of characters is up to a staggering forty-eight. The new characters in Ultimate are clearly the most immediately noticeable addition. Those new characters are: Frank West (from Dead Rising), Phoenix Wright, Vergil, Nemesis (Resident Evil 3), Strider (one my favorites), and Firebrand (from Ghost ‘n Goblins). The Marvel cast gets Rocket Raccoon, who I had never heard of, as well as Nova, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider and Hawkeye. Some very recognizable names there that give a very positive boost to the rosters on both sides. Players can also play as Galactus, right from the get go, if they have save game data from the original MvC3.
To accompany the twelve new characters, Capcom added eight brand new stages and tweaked a lot of the old ones, although their specific changes are lost on me as I never played MvC3 for very long. All of the stages are very active and eye-catching, and when combined with the spectacle of tag team combos, makes for the flashiest fighter I have ever played.
New characters and stages are nice, but Capcom also retooled the gameplay for better balancing. The specific changes I am not aware of, but given that many of the balance issues were brought up by the faithful community, it’s a certainty that Capcom’s changes were for the betterment of the game. A spectator mode has also been built in and allows players to watch live matches. Spectating is obviously a great way to learn new tactics or see something unique, or funny. It was sorely missing from the original MvC3 release, but Capcom has made good on that here.
A Heroes and Heralds mode is forthcoming as free DLC and is usable in single and multiplayer modes. The Heroes teams will attempt to defend Earth from Galactus’ amazing planet-devouring appetite and his Heralds, i.e., the other team. The interesting twist for this mode is that players are able to unlock new abilities and change their characters’ powers. It sounds pretty wild, and something that will add even more variety to an already blazing fast, over the top fighter.
The new characters are pretty compelling, some more than others (looking at you Phoenix Wright). I personally thought Iron Fist and Strider were two great additions, and I like to mix those up with Deadpool and Ryu for my teams. I’m still getting a grip on the size of the roster and the variety of fighting styles their are, but I will say that this forty-eight character roster (fifty if you buy Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath) is the most well-rounded 30+ character roster I have seen in a fighter. There are simply a ton of compelling choices every time that character select screen comes up, which is more than I can say for most fighting games.
Ultimate keeps the best of MvC3 and adds a lot of great content to it. I wish they had ditched the soundtrack though, which is simply awful. Still, everything about Ultimate seems polished, but I can’t help but feel some sympathy for the folks that paid full price for the original game just eight months ago. On the other hand, if you waited, this is an excellent buy… as long as Super Ultimate MvC3 Arcade Edition doesn’t get announced anytime soon.
To the summary…