There are loads of Marvel video games and the latest features tons of awesome heroes so let's suit up and get ready to fight.
It's been a decade since Vicarious Visions' Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 hit consoles and now that Team Ninja are at the helm, things are a little different this time around. Keep in mind, I'm not a huge comic book guy and I've never even seen any of the Marvel movies but I generally love video games based on the universe because it's cool to be able to play as many characters and I find the whole lore to be quite enjoyable to play around within. That being said, it took me a while to get into Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order and the lateness of this review is a testament to that but I'm very happy that I've finally tried it out as it's full of fantastic cooperative action featuring a huge cast of likeable heroes and detestable villains. With all of that out of the way, let's get to the review!
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 begins with you controlling the Guardians of the Galaxy but soon into the campaign; you'll meet Spider-Man then dozens of other Marvel heroes join who you can change out your party members for. Speaking of which, your party consists of 4 characters that can be controlled by other players either locally or online and the gameplay really shines in multiplayer.
The combat is handled via light and heavy attacks as well as up to 4 special abilities per character. You also have an extreme gauge that gradually fills which allows you to perform an extreme attack which can devastate your enemies, especially when your whole party unleashes theirs simultaneously thus resulting in an Ultimate Alliance Extreme. Plus, you can combine abilities with allies to break down certain barriers. The combat ends up being chaotic, simple, and enjoyable which makes playing with friends even more fun.
The Black Order's campaign is impressively well-paced as you're constantly presented with new scenarios and boss battles and the cutscenes in between the action are great complete with lots of silly humour that I enjoyed even as someone who isn't a Marvel fan. There are 10 chapters to play through and each one is set in a distinct area although there is a surprising amount of variety within each one. If you ever want to take a break from the campaign then you could always play through Infinity Rift challenges which grant you upgrade materials as well as bonus character costumes. On top of all this, there's a gallery to fill out which includes movies, music, and art. Overall, it's awesome that there's so much stuff to unlock here as it adds a great deal of replay value.
As you play Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, you'll upgrade a few different aspects of your party. Aside from levelling up and using XP Cubes to do so faster, you'll also unlock and rank up character-specific abilities that you'll assign to each of the 4 available slots. Additionally, you can boost your entire party via the lab's Alliance Enhancement grid which increases everyone's base stats with every unlocked node. Although all of this is cool, I made the mistake of focusing on 1 character and ended up making her far too powerful so the campaign ended up being way too easy. I wish the challenge scaled a bit according to your current setup because I found myself breezing through areas that should have been difficult. I could always swap her out for another hero but then my efforts would have been a waste.
Finally, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3's core gameplay is chaotic and fun but it does become a little tiresome after a while, especially if you're playing solo for long periods of time. Therefore, it's best enjoyed with a few friends in shorter play sessions. Aside from that, a big problem with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is its camera which can easily obscure the action and result in very frustrating scenarios. Once, I tried to heal a partner but then the camera moved in an awkward position so instead, I got beat up and my ally remained knocked out. When moments like these occur, you can't help but wonder if anyone thoroughly tested the game.
Even if you're not a Marvel fan and just want to play a simple beat 'em up with a few friends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is certainly an enjoyable experience. Just don't expect it to be as mind-blowing as the films apparently are.
- + Fun chaotic beat 'em up action with oodles of classic heroes and villains
- + Well-paced with plenty of silly humour
- + Lots of cool upgrades and unlockables
- - Core gameplay is rather basic and gets kind of tiresome after a while
- - Camera can be highly problematic
- - Gets too easy after upgrading a bit