Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Review: Squad-up

Real Talk By: KJ  

This third entry is a switch exclusive published by Nintendo and developed by Team Ninja. Could this unique company pairing deliver? Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a throwback for several reasons. For one, it refreshes the importance of couch coop. Also, pluses and negatives of past outings have made it over.

Cinematics are a joy to watch, providing a Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe.  Fast-paced clips, that advance the story in an exciting fashion. Voice acting is really good.  You will recognize several performers. Yuri Lowenthal returns as Peter Parker. Fans may remember him from the tremendous Spider-Man PS4 game. Nolan North is in as Deadpool. Steve Blum continues to carry the Wolverine mantle.

While the story may be new to this franchise, many MCU fans are well-acquainted with the Infinity Stones. Another retelling of these power-filled items await gamers ahead. Expect surprises. Like past titles, UA3 throws constant boss battles your way. I found myself impressed with the execution of these bouts. We’ve faced Venom and Electro in many situations, but seeing their contrasting styles combined was unexpected.

Something that immediately stands out is the impressive roster. Plenty of berzerker based fighters (Drax and Hulk for example). Also, Long range options in Star Lord and the surprise inclusion of Elsa Bloodstone. It’s great to have mutants back in action also. While there are characters I gravitate towards more, it’s easy to see Team Ninja put a solid effort into every one. So it’s a win-win regardless of hero preference.  This is one strong 36 character lineup.

Our Heroes each have a sequence of basic attack combos, and a strong attack they can unleash. Up to four special attacks will unlock, and can be upgraded. Combining specific powers together, with key heroes allows for awesome results. Forming a Team of Avengers, Defenders, or Web Warriors, will produce different team bonuses. Players will be rewarded for trying different combinations. Unlock Iso-8 Crystals. Assign these upgradeable shards to characters boosting their abilities further. This could include power, vitality, and other pluses. 

All four players will have the opportunity to unleash an Extreme Attack, separately or together. Once the yellow meter is filled around their character icon, hitting L+R together starts it up. Hitting a group maneuver on a massive wave of enemies is as thrilling as it sounds.

Main Menu music has an Epic Movie feel, fitting of an MCU film. A mission borrowing many elements from The Defenders story arc, places gamers against The Hand Ninjas. This background music definitely fit the encounter. It would also serve as a reminder that i’m going to miss seeing these characters continue on Netflix. 

Costume/character designs were definitely thought out.  Earning extra outfits can come by completing specific trials, meeting the required conditions. Aside from playing the game again with other characters, Infinity Challenges provide solid replay value. Some can even be played online. Beating 200 foes is one of the tests, others involve completing tasks before the clock runs out. Many should be pleased with the replay value overall.

While The Black Order provides flashy fun, it does have issues. That Camera is problematic.  In coop play especially, the game will lose track of who to follow. How it loses control at times reminds me of PS2 era games. Some areas have a fixed view. Even then, issues were present. During a boss fight with Bullseye, the camera launched out of the designated area.

This is in many ways the franchise you remember. Cheesy one liners called-out from heroes. Character leveling, and Big-Time battles. However, weaker puzzles will make this feel a tad more repetitive for some. That was certainly a flaw in UA2 but even more evident here. It’s as if they didn’t need to be included. A stronger attempt to split up the main gameplay would have been better.

The game should take the average player 12 hours to beat.  A third difficulty level unlocks after completion, adding another incentive to push on. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 at its core is a solid brawler that you can enjoy with others. It’s easy to pick up and jump right in. Where this game packs a punch is in its awesome presentation. Folks paying attention will notice a lot of awesome Comic book references. Captain America says “Shield Dash!” in a similar fashion to the way he says “Shield Slash!” in Marvel vs Capcom 2. Coincidence? Just saying.

So no UA3 doesn’t necessarily push the series further, but it delivers on high-quality comic book action. A project that is tailor-made for coop. Team Ninja did their research. It’s exciting to see how the Infinity Stones are utilized throughout. Assemble your buds and take down the forces of evil. Stop Thanos.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Gets 

4 out of 5 

What’s Legit?

+Nice Roster

+Awesome Coop

+Presentation

+Solid Replay Value

What’s perpetrating?

-Odd Camera Issues

-Weak Puzzles


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