For the longest time we wanted it and in early 2011, Marvel and Capcom finally came through with “Marvel vs. Capcom 3,” the third chapter in its fan-favorite crossover series, complete with several new characters, amazing next-gen visuals and the kind of multi-hit combos that could only be conceived in a game like this. However, that wasn’t good enough for Capcom, who went on to release “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” for consoles later in the year, complete with more characters (such as Ghost Rider and Phoenix Wright) and bonus content perfectly suited for fans. Now, the company wants to take its beat-em-up act on the road and on February 15, it brings “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” to the PlayStation Vita.
Not much has changed for the portable version in terms of what players have already seen and experienced. Once again, the best of Marvel’s universe is thrown in against what Capcom has to offer, with over 50 fighters to choose from. Whether it’s “Ghosts’n Goblins” stars Arthur and Firebrand, quirky Guardian of the Galaxy Rocket Raccoon, the X-Men, Avengers or Street Fighter mainstays, there’s something here for everyone. In fact, Capcom has crammed the entire roster from the console version into the handheld offering — an impressive portable feat that bests even Capcom’s “Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition.”
What’s more, all of the arcade details — from the backgrounds to the actual speed of the game — remain intact. Usually, developers have to cut corners to make a game fit on a handheld console, but due to the impressive processing power of the Vita, Capcom was able to keep the game practically arcade perfect (That is, if the game was released in an arcade.). The audio is also intact from the distinct character voices to the upbeat soundtrack. Plug in some headphones and it’s like a surround sound system plugged into your ears.
Where fans are likely to be divided with the PS Vita version of “UMVC 3” is the controls. Some may be concerned with how the game handles with the system’s control set-up, recalling how crummy the PlayStation Portable was with fighting games like “Street Fighter Alpha 3” and “Darkstalkers.” Luckily, the Vita’s D-pad is much better configured for brawling and the combos we practiced with the game worked just as easily as on consoles — even the analog stick works. Players can also configure button layout, should they be in the mood to execute tag team switch-outs in a different manner than hitting two buttons together or tapping a shoulder button.
If that wasn’t enough, the PS Vita version actually introduces something rookies will thoroughly enjoy: touch-screen controls. Players can move characters around and pull off quick, easy-to-use combos simply by touching the front screen and tapping away in certain areas. Players will also be able to unleash a super attack simply by tapping on the meter — rather than going through a complex joystick motion — or tag in a buddy by tapping the energy bar in the upper left corner of the screen.
Along with presentation and gameplay elements, “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” will also provide online support through PlayStation Network, enabling online battles with friends over a Wi-Fi or 3G access point. Much like the console version, the mighty Galactus will be on hand in a cool little sub-game. Just remember, the big guys don’t always stay on top for long — even if they do devour planets.
“Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” should be just as much fun on the PS Vita as it is on consoles — for some rookie players, it’s bound to be even better. We’ll find out how the final crossover battle holds up when the game launches next month, just in time for the PS Vita’s U.S. launch.
“Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” is available for PlayStation Vita on February 15.