Time to save the world once again! Will it be worth it this time? Find out in our Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 The Black Order review.
It has been years since the last Marvel Ultimate Alliance game was released. 13 to be exact. Its beat em up style and co-op gameplay was something that was dearly missed. When Nintendo announced that not only was the 3rd entry into the franchise being made but it was a Switch exclusive I was ecstatic. Once again you can immerse yourself in the world of Marvel and be your favorite superhero. Or even find interest a new superhero that you have never heard of. Let’s see if this alliance is truly ultimate in this Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order review.
For those who are familiar with The Black Order, the story will not shock or wow you. It’s pretty similar to both the MCU version and the comic book version. However, there are more tweaks and you see more characters side stories than you would if you read the original story. You start off with the guardians of the galaxy. Who are on their way back from a mission that Rocket gloriously screws up. They stumble upon a ship that is stationed behind an asteroid. Seemingly with no life aboard. However, this turns out to be a ruse and the Guardians stumble upon the infinity stones being guarded by Nebula and Ronan. Cause ya know. When you have 6 of the most powerful objects in the universe you just stick them together in a ship and say nothing to nobody. Comic logic at its best. As you can imagine things go horribly wrong when the black order shows up and the stones end up on Earth where the guardians must work with the heroes to collect them faster than the black order.
This gives the player a reason for the stones being on earth and why every hero must chip in to stop Thanos’ quest for absolute power. The story is very tight and fairly short when all things are considered. If you don’t grind or play through any of the infinity trials then you can finish the main story in about 6 hours. The story moves at a great pace and keeps you engaged by having things happen and introducing character after character. If you enjoy the MCU then this story will feel very familiar and give you more of what you love.
The game plays exactly as you remember from the previous games. You have a light and heavy attack. You also have your characters ability moves and their specials. Light and medium attacks build both meters as well as a link into your ability moves. Each character has a variety of ability moves to choose from and different options to take out enemies.
You can also perform synergy attacks with the other characters by combining abilities. The link attacks will gain different attributes. For example, Gamora Can shoot magnetos projectile to make it explode. You can also do things such as making a normal projectile into an elemental projectile, or turning a normal old tornado into a sharknado (not really but I can dream). Combining abilities makes them far more powerful and makes clearing mobs much easier.
The ability synergies are also useful for opening locked doors. These doors require specific types of abilities to be used. Each character’s abilities have a type. Some characters are far more useful than others in this regard. They have a diverse pool of synergies and you will run into the same few as you progress through the game. When playing by yourself getting some of these doors can be a bit frustrating as the CPU will use the wrong synergy at times.
While playing by yourself or with 2-3 other people you can switch to the computer-controlled character anytime you wish. Switching to this character helps when trying to get through the doors or if your character goes down and you need to get to them and pick them back up. Or say if you just want to glide over most of the traps and the CPU character has flight. Pretty much trivializing that aspect of the game.
Aside from the main story you also have infinity missions that you can go through in order to unlock the last few characters. These infinity missions come in three different difficulties and each has its own unique challenges. You have to progress through the story in order to unlock them on top of fighting your way to the mission where the character is. These missions tell you what level the enemies will be and what they will entail you doing. The rewards from these missions range from getting more Iso-8 to getting dust you can use to upgrade the iso you acquire. This makes missions far easier.
In the main story, you will also run into rifts in each stage. These rifts are challenges that you can complete in order to get more resources such as Iso 8 in order to buff your character. These side missions do a good job breaking up the gameplay loop of the story and are often refreshing and will give you a ton of resources to use on your characters. These modes can range from defeating a number of enemies in under a certain time to beating a boss using only synergy attacks. They are very clever and make you think about how to approach them.
The cast of playable characters is diverse. They throw a bunch of characters at you in the beginning in order to give you access to a wide range of playstyles to choose from. Not only that but you get the most popular of the Marvel characters. Characters from the MCU, X-Men, and the Inhumans (for some odd reason). Each character has their own attributes and skills.
The game looks like it was ripped straight out of the comic pages. Each character oozes with personality and style. Each character looks very close to their comic counterparts. They move fluidly and interact with each other naturally. In the game, it looks great. It’s not the most visually impressive game out there, however, that’s not what Ultimate alliance ever went for. The game wants to draw you in with your favorite character and then expose you to more niche and fringe characters that you may have never heard of. The in-game models are all cell-shaded and have very animated expressions.
The enemies are your standard jobber types. Half of them seem to be ripoffs or clones of heroes in the game. This is an odd choice however I can understand that they needed to save space and processing resources as the Switch isn’t the most powerful console. They range from having wolverine claws to elemental powers similar to crystal. They are at least altered slightly and do the job of providing resistance. The other half of the enemies are unique to each stage. Robots, Inhumans, Wakandans, each area has its own type of enemies and dangers.
The stages and vistas are fantastic. Especially shadowland. The way the blood moon just shines in the background while you are taking out ninjas is a sight to behold. You will go to all sorts of exotic and interesting locales as you collect the infinity stones. Never does the setting get stagnant or start to wear on you. Things will, however, begin to stutter and you will notice the framerate tank when a ton of enemies appear onstage. This doesn’t occur too often and if you clear the enemies fast enough you may never experience it.
Everyone sounds fantastic in this game. The voice acting is impeccable and full of energy. The banter between characters and bosses is great. There were quite a few times where I chuckled while playing through the game. Yes, some of the lines are cheesy but what can you expect when you have people flying around using hammers and spinning webs of any size.
Ultimate Alliance 3’s soundtrack is solid. No, it’s not anything to write home about however it does the job and sets the mood. Each area you visit has its own particular feel and the soundtrack does well with amplifying that feeling of being in another world. Again it’s not the greatest thing in the world, however, it works for what it is.