Published on July 29th, 2019 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is here after a near 10 year hiatus! Nintendo has stepped up as publisher for this 3rd entry in the series bringing in Team Ninja as developers for the title resurrecting it back from the grave.
Concept: Rather then being just another tie-in to the Marvel cinematic universe, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 takes the similar infinity stone storyline but completely changes it up to the point that it stands on its own from both the movies and also the comics. It’s well written, engaging and manages to cram in so many of your favourite characters to fit one big narrative. I think with a cool storyline and the inclusion of characters you haven’t seen interacting together in the recent movies like the x-men, it really pushes you to continue playing and to see which universe you will travel to next and which characters you will unlock along the way.
Graphics: When you first boot-up the game you’re greeted with slick polished menus and a visually pleasing cutscene. That all changes though once you get in game though as the environments are so bland and outdated with a real lack of any texture. Now I guess you could just say that this was the aesthetic they were going for, but when you compare the visuals to the past two entries it really looks like they’ve dropped the ball, especially since the first game was an early Xbox 360 title. The characters do look great though with their comic book style, but without any visible anti-aliasing, the game looks really rough around the edges, especially in portable mode. It just seems like this was a half-baked effort. The only saving grace is that there’s a nice use of colour throughout and the character designs are great and animate well.
Gameplay: Whilst Ultimate Alliance 3 does follow the same top-down dungeon crawler like mechanics as its predecessors, the gameplay feels a lot faster and runs smoothly, despite only running at 30fps, which is strange considering how low the bar is on the visual front.
You still pick from 4 heroes (which can be used in 4player local co-op), each with their own unique powers, abilities and overall feel ranging from quick an agile, to powerhouse tank characters, to flying projectile based which makes finding a character to fit your style all the more enticing. Now as cool as some of the characters moves may be, you can really smash through the game using any character combination which helps to balance out the experience.
Now while this all sounds great, it’s the actual fighting itself which gets very repetitive due to some enemies requiring insane amounts of punishment dished out to even leave a mark. Attacks feel very weak as there is no real ‘for lack of a better word’ grunt to the attacks and it relies way too heavily on using super attacks to try and stun enemies to then dish out decent amounts of damage. Another way to smash through the enemies insane health is to constantly use synergy attacks and whilst you would think the team would have combined characters powers to create cool effects and buffs, the actual synergy option literally just gets characters to do their unique attacks at the same time which is a real bummer.
Now some of the super attacks and moves can look quite badass, without any of your heroes feeling strong and near unstoppable that just doesn’t make any real sense for a videogame that literally features over 40 of the greatest super heroes as playable characters.
Sound: With such A huge cast of characters, I was worried the voice acting would be poorly done to cut costs, but fortunately for the most part the voices suit each character they portray really well and Nolan North is always an amazing choice no matter what the game is. Sound effects are great and the music accompanying each world/area is great, especially the more rock/metal influenced ones full of wailing guitar riffs which help get you into smashing up everything.
Awesomeness: Coming into this I started seeing each character unlocking new moves as I leveled up and what looked to be a huge skill-tree open up which got me super excited. Only downside is that while the moves are great, the skill-tree is literally just upgrades to stats that really don’t seem to make any difference as the more you level up, the tougher the enemies become, so honesty it just feels unnecessary as i never felt I could grind to make my hero a complete badass. There’s no real reason to upgrade any of these stat boosts, and then come the Iso-8 crystals to top it off. These crystals are passive stat boosts you can assign to each character, but once again I couldn’t notice anything different happening to my characters when enabling them. It just felt super cumbersome and a complete waste of time to have any of these skill-trees or crystals. It basically felt like padding where padding was not needed.
Now I get this is probably used to have people continue over into a new game plus and continue leveling up their skill-tree, but to be honest as soon as the credits hit at the end of the game I let out a sigh of relief and thought ‘Damn I never want to do that again’.
Now it’s not a bad game, but it’s not really a good one either, it’s just average and it’s a real shame considering how much i loved the original 2 titles in the series.
Final Word: This was one of my most anticipated games of the year but I clearly had my expectations set too high and was ultimately let down. It’s still amazing seeing all the characters and being able to play as them for nostalgic reasons, but besides the story which was entertaining, the gameplay and visuals are just sorely lacking. Some people might get a real kick out of it and some might downright hate it. I sort of sit right in the middle and would recommend grabbing this only if you’re a die hard fan or are willing for it to drop down to a budget price.
Out of 5 Bugs!
Summary: Nearly 10 years for another sequel, only for it to grace us with mediocrity