Published on April 25th, 2012 | by Mike Thomas1
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Review(PSVita)
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a near perfect port of the PS3/360 title; the fighting is as fast and furious as ever, though the Vita’s D-pad/buttons are no substitute for an arcade stick or even a standard joypad, making pulling off combos a little more awkward that it should be. Which begs the question: why would any fighting game aficionado spend £39.99 for this version if they don’t already own the PS3 or 360 version.
There, that’s it. Take a good long look at the rating at the bottom of the page and move along. If you’re taking the time to read a review of this game the chances are that you’re into beat-‘em-ups and you already know the game’s basic setup, but if you’re not clued in then here it is: 48 characters from across the Marvel and Capcom universes have come to together to form three man/woman/demon/robot/ tag teams and smack seven shades of the proverbial out of each other and Galactus because Doctor Doom and Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker have ticked off the sartorially challenged Devourer of Worlds in their efforts to conquer their respective worlds. There’s a lot of bright colours, screen filling laser beam/fireballs type stuff and it all moves quickly enough to make your eyes bleed (if it doesn’t trigger a fit first).
And that’s the game in a nutshell. Review over.
Okay, it’s not the end but it’s more than a little tempting to call that a full review. This is a near perfect port of Capcom’s acclaimed fighter. Aside from a few visual effects (particle effects, background animations), the mobile version of the MT Framework engine does a staggering job at imitating the home console version, running at 60 frames-per-second while retaining every frame of animation. Basically, every move, every combo works in exactly the same way as it does on PS3 and 360 and bouts move at the same breakneck speed.
Which is initially astounding. Handheld fighters are usually cut down fairly substantially; if animation or audio isn’t cut then it’s the controls or the suite of game modes that face the axe. So given that MVC3 arrives on the Vita with it’s visuals and mechanics virtually untouched, you might expect to find that a few features are missing, but it’s all there: training mode, single-player, online (the recently added Heroes and Heralds mode is available as a patch once the game’s installed), Capcom even added a much requested replay mode, giving players the chance to analyse online matches.
Yet all of this just raises the question posed at the start of this review. Why would someone who doesn’t already own either the PS3 or 360 versions choose this over them? As brilliant as this port is, the Vita’s d-pad and buttons are no match for a good arcade stick, at times they can both feel a touch too small and that can throw off inputs occasionally which in turn can lead to a serious beating online. Sometimes it just feels as if there’s not enough real estate for your fingers when trying to pull off combos and it’s easy to block your view of the action while frantically trying to make use of what little is there.
The simple answer to that question is that there’s just no good reason for them to choose this over home console versions that are at least £10 cheaper and offer more comfortable controls. As a game it’s still as great as it ever was and if gameplay was all that mattered this would be getting a score of 9.2, but this is a game mainly geared towards fighting game enthusiasts, the sort of players who own arcade sticks and specialist fightpads for whom control is all important…the sort of players who probably already own the game for PS3/360. If you’re looking to get your first taste of UMVC3 you’re better off getting the original. Button mashing might get you through a few matches online, but to succeed you need to have good timing, quick reflexes and sometimes the Vita controls can (initially at least) seem a little imprecise.
There are other issues too. Capcom’s use of the Vita’s touchscreen and rear pad is downright pointless. The scheme is meant to help beginners but having to tap parts of the screen to initiate Hyper combos, special moves etc is cumbersome in the extreme and thankfully optional. It’s disappointing to see that Shuma Gorath and Jill Valentine remain as DLC as they did in the console versions of the game. While PS3 users who’ve already downloaded characters and costumes can get them on Vita for free (and visa-versa) given the price tag it would have been nice if Capcom had thrown in both characters and a few costumes completely gratis out of the box. It’s also a shame that there’s no cross-platform play online or that fight stats can’t simply be synced up between the PS3 and Vita versions
So just who should buy this game? Well, if you’re already a fan and just want a great fighting game on the go that shows off your Vita’s capabilities (and can get it for less than RRP) then UMVC3 is as good as it gets, but it you’re new to the game, save yourself some money and get a console version before even thinking of getting it for Vita
Rating: 7.8 out of 10