Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 PS Vita Review

“IT’S MAHVEL BABY!”, as the famous fighting game community and internet meme goes. Without a doubt, Capcom’s PlayStation Vita launch title, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (UMVC3), is an exciting title and one of the best fighting  games available at a handheld system’s launch in recent memory. Since this is the Vita version we are speaking about, let’s just jump straight into what’s new.

The first thing you’ll notice is that there is an option for touch controls. Taking a leaf from the Super Street Fighter IV port on the 3DS, Capcom has added touch screen controls; yet, unlike Street Fighter, these add more than just the ability to do special moves or ultras. Tapping the screen with the touch controls enabled will make the character do a simple combo leading into an ultra-combo. Dashing can be done by dragging your finger, you can switch characters by touching their logo, and random ultras can be done by pressing the ultra bar. These controls help newcomers ease into a game they may have never played before, and also teach them some simple combos they can try and replicate when it comes to switching back to normal button inputs. It does bear mentioning that people who have already played UMVC3 on consoles will most likely never touch this option.

The other big feature that was strangely absent from the console version is the inclusion of replay data. Online matches can be saved and uploaded to servers where anyone can look on the leaderboards and download a player’s recent match. In these replays, you can turn on hitboxes, watch player input, and move the action frame by frame. Leaderboards can also be accessed through 3G. Other smaller inclusions for the Vita version are the additional Gold Herald colours that you can obtain by using the Vita’s NEAR application. Another use of the Vita is as a controller to play the PlayStation 3 version of the game. This is more of a gimmick though as you can use shortcuts for hyper combos or special moves by tapping the Vita screen.

If you already own the PlayStation 3 edition of the game, you’ll be stoked to know that any characters or costume DLC that you have purchased will work on the Vita at no extra cost. This is something that needs to happen constantly with all games on these two systems. I have no doubt that there will be ports or dual releases of games that will have DLC in the system’s lifetime, and every company should make note that you should not make your fans have to buy it all twice just to have it on the go. Hopefully, Capcom will continue this pattern from the Vita’s launch and make it a standard procedure.

Jumping into battle, the game looks marvelous. Apart from some changes in the background animations (some aren’t as active as they were on the console), the rest of the game seems to have all the flashy sparks of its big brethren while at a silky smooth 60fps, a must for a fighting game in this day and age. I did notice that some of the effects that take place during the hyper-combo animations seem to have some sort of a pixilation problem. I don’t know if it is due to the downgrade in resolution, but you can see them if you look closely. It’s only a minor problem, and, to be honest, you aren’t going to care because the action is so fast and frantic. You rarely have time to notice little details like that.

Having a four button attack system layout means UMVC3 can be played just fine on the Vita. The shoulder buttons act as your assists and the face buttons are your four attacks. You can change the layout of the buttons to anything you like since it allows for a custom setup if you don’t like the default setting. One thing that people will be happy to know is that the d-pad on the Vita is pleasant to use. It doesn’t feel awful, nor does it feel like you are missing inputs because of it.

Every mode is available in this version including the patched in Heroes and Heralds that the PS3/360 version received after launch. Taking the game online brings up the exactly same options you would see on the console, but now there is also the inclusion of being able to search for people who are using touch controls or not. UMVC3’s online seems to be using the same net code as before. Most of my matches played smoothly enough that I could get out the combos I wanted to do. Sadly, you cannot play people cross platform with people playing the PS3 version; these are strictly Vita to Vita battles. Online is an area where you’ll most likely spend  quite a bit of time. There aren’t many modes present to keep you occupied offline unless you have friends with a Vita to play some local ad-hoc multiplayer.

If you already own Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on a console, the Vita version is going to be hard to recommend unless you are a super fan of the game and want to take that same experience on the go.

For people who haven’t touched the game and have just picked up a brand spanking new Vita, ask yourself this – are you looking for a console experience and/or a great fighting game to play? If so, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is highly recommended. Its move from home consoles to the handheld device is a near perfect one, and Capcom throws in extras for good measures. Let’s get ready to fight!

8 out of 10
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