Games are at a slight advantage when I review them on a new console. Sometimes it's hard to separate the sheen of how everything works and looks on a sexy new handheld from the actual game itself. I also hadn't visited the Marvel vs Capcom franchise since the fist release, so wow, everything was so brand new.
How would this Street Fighter 4 purist, and old school player find the transition to hand held? Could I separate the things the Vita was bringing to the table from what the game was offering? Keep on reading to see what the future of hand held fighters holds.
Well I lied a bit in that previous paragraph. There really is no way to separate a console from its games. In fact, what usually will make a game a successful launch, is find every way possible to show of your shiny new hand els new features. Part of pleasure of spending your hard earned tax returns lies in showing your new purchase and its features off to your gawking friends. Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 loves to be shown off.
Starting first and foremost with graphics. They look amazing n the Vita's AMOLED display. crisp, bright, and nicely scaled characters fill the screen nicely and don't loose any detail in the transition. The animations and special moves are completely intact, and the meaning expressions on Wolverine's face is as exciting as ever.
Some of the menu items are unfortunately low res, perhaps part of a PSP port, they are only a minor annoyance, but a shame on such a beautiful screen. When you start the game it will give fair warning that people with epilepsy should be cautious about the game's flashing blue and red screens. Pokemon flashback anyone? This is an understatement as when it starts up it is intense, and prone to make anyone a bit queasy.
Many background elements that were animated in the console version are still in the port, but with the games pace, and upfront action, you won't miss them a bit. They are still lush and beautiful, and complete the on screen screen characters.
One of the unfortunate things that is out of Capcom's hands is the way the Vita bounces you into the consoles connection screens each time, as the load time are a bit jarring and unfortunate. I usually play hand held fighting games when I need a quick fix, and any bouncing between load screens is an unfortunate distraction. Like I said, that's the way Sony makes you play, but perhaps it's something that developers will get permission to embed directly in the games in the future.
A few players have commented on some omissions in the all star line up, but the new Ultimate Version has done a lot to quiet those concerns. Sure, I could always use more Servebot, but the addition of Phenix Wright more than makes up for it. The of characters are both exciting and humorous, and I'm glad to see the developer let a few old ones go, in favor of developing new tactics with new heroes.
The sound on the game is pretty good as well. I would have enjoyed a few character based sound tracks, and perhaps a less blaring selection screen, but it still delivers. The victory and start scenes are well voiced by characters, and will often change depending on who your chosen character beat as the last opponent. As expected, Deadpool always delivers his lines.
I was a bit worried about the games controls one Vita's small joystick. I traditionally play my fighters on an arcade stick, and on previous Vita titles I was always worried about the fragility of the new system. 15 minutes into your first online battle your will forget all of these concerns as your are cursing the skills of the 13 year old across the seas tearing you a new one. The controls are impeccable and feel great on the system. The Vita is an amazing console for fighting games. There is a fun option to use touch screen controls to assimilate your novice friends, and show off the new hardware, but the manual input controls felt much better to me, and are a bit too much of a departure for me.
The online play is response and a great challenge. Actually, a bit too much of a challenge for me. I do plan to get better and start kicking some adolescent online ass. As you may have read, you unfortunately can not play over 3G, which is a limitation of the divide, but the option how ever laggy might be nice. As pretty much a beginner, a slightly more divided ladder system might be nice. I am currently 3/30, but still keep coming back for more. The time it takes to find another match takes a bit as well, and could use a faster load time. When in battle I still haven't experienced any lag or slowdown, a great time waster.
I'm really impressed with Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 on the Vita. I had a chance to look at the game in its PS3 format, and in many ways the Vita is a superior product. The graphics scale nicer on the system, and its quick match ups lend themselves well to casual hand held gaming. If it's any indication for games to come on the new system, we have a lot to look forward to. If you are looking for some fast paced action that looks gorgeous and is able to make your friends jealous. Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 should be in your library. Excuse me as I go kick Galactus in the face.
8.5 - While the game has a few menu issues, they rarely take away from the gameplay. An engrossing, full featured handheld fighter. An excellent way to start off your Vita library.
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