One might say we've almost had too much Marvel. Countless video games, comics galore, a record-breaking series of films, and more on the horizon. What's most impressive about all of the content bursting into our homes is that, for the most part, it continues to be good. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is the next title in a series that hasn't seen a new entry for 13 years. With a standalone story, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 seeks to add to that pile of Marvel content. Will it be another fun addition for fans or one to avoid?
While making their way through space, the Guardians of the Galaxy pick up a ship's distress signal. The team decides to investigate, checking on the safety of those on board and their valuables. While they don't find any crew members, the Guardians instead run into Proxima Midnight as she's about to steal the Infinity Stones. As the battle between the Chitauri and the Guardians continues to escalate, the Infinity Stones scatter. The story here hits the ground running and sets the pace well for the rest of the game.
From here the Infinity Stones spread to a variety of point across the known Marvel Universe. At each point that a stone has landed the heroes want to keep them away from Thanos, and the villains want to use their ability to supercharge their own. Through the story, you'll get to visit plenty of famous Marvel locales. You'll get to see the X-Men and Magneto at the X-Mansion, Black Panther and Klaw at Wakanda, and more. When gameplay involves lots of endless attacking, both the rapid-fire narrative and varied backgrounds keep players refreshed and engaged.
Follow Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Galaxy-Spanning Story
The Guardians of the Galaxy and the titular Black Order show that Team Ninja is working within what most people know. Capitalizing on the success of the MCU, Ultimate Alliance 3 entices new players with well-known characters while keeping the core gameplay in place for returning fans. It's not difficult to draw comparisons between Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and recent Avengers films. Two stories of a team of heroes trying to protect the Infinity Stones from Thanos. What may make or break this story mode for many players is whether they're going to be receptive to a retelling of Thanos' attempts to wield the Infinity Gauntlet.
If you want a break from the Story, head into the Infinity mode and complete trials. Each one drops you onto a battlefield with a goal like getting through the level, clearing a number of bosses, or defeating a certain number of enemies. While you're rewarded for clearing the trial, there are optional objectives with even better payouts. Progressing through the story mode unlocks higher level Infinity Trials. After reaching the credits, you can continue to unlock rifts by completing the two bonus difficulties, Supreme and Ultimate. These give you a chance to keep working towards different characters, including a few exclusive to the mode.
These trials do a great job of adding new challenges and letting you level up your heroes. Each challenge also builds upon the mechanics in the main game. After learning the patterns of Ronan the Accuser and Nebula in their respective boss fight, there is an Infinity Trial that has you fight them together. This method of teaching and combining elements gives players a natural sense of progression without obvious handholding.
One strange drawback with Infinity Trials is that there's no direct way to go back to the story mode once you complete them. You'll encounter a physical rift in space during the story and load up the challenge. After completing it, you're back at a menu rather than in the game. Leaving said menu takes you to the main menu, and only there can you wade through loading screens and jump back into the campaign. It's not the end of the world, but it's certainly unintuitive menu design.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3's High Damage Combos
While the story might seem linear, the gameplay is appealing on the surface and surprisingly deep. You set up a team of four unique heroes and progress through the world, beating up any enemies that come your way. Each hero comes with their own unique breakdown of stats and special moves. As your characters level, you'll see them begin to shine in certain areas, all pretty obvious to guess from the get-go. If you want a high defense character then it looks like Captain America is your guy, Hulk obviously has strength. Characters being faithful to their abilities shows not just the detail that Team Ninja put into this robust cast but also simplifies the player's character selection process. If you know the kinds of role you like to play, you can come into Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and guess something close to your style.
As you level up, you'll unlock and upgrade each character's four special attacks, moves that allow each hero to show off their unique skills. Instead of attacking enemies one at a time, your specials will have you creating shockwaves, charging through enemies, and firing off beams. These moves are perfect to unleash when dealing with a number of smaller enemies, with stylish effects and dialogue. They're also just plain entertaining to watch.
Character Statistics in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
If you find a character lagging behind the rest of the cast, you can utilize ISO-8 Crystals. When equipped to a character, these crystals bestow additional bonuses. At the start, you can give your characters an extra 500 Vitality or deal more damage at the cost of receiving more back. Through the story and endgame activities, the abilities you start to find allow you to specialize your characters to your liking.
If you want to create a Tank you can boost their health, defense, and even make it more likely that your enemies will focus on them. A strategy like this will leave characters with high DPS unchallenged. On rarer drops, you can also get ISO-8 that increase experience gain, allowing you to start building up your other characters faster. You can also rank up each of these crystals slightly boosting their percentages in exchange for money and ISO-8 dust. These crystals are a great way to add further depth to each heroes individual mechanics. Their effects being random also adds an extra reward for going out of your way to complete more activities.
Playing through the story and Infinity challenges is enjoyable on your own but where you're going to have the most fun is playing through the entire game with friends via local or online co-op. Every Story and Infinity mission you complete can be single-player or co-op. At any point, a friend can pick up the controller and play locally, giving them access to all of your heroes. This process is fast and easy and a great way for anyone to hop in on the fun. The biggest issue with multiplayer is that the camera has to fight for how the scene will focus. For the majority of the game, this isn't an issue, but there are some sections that are difficult to get through with a static camera. When at the main menu or a checkpoint you can connect two devices together or play with others online.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Review | Final Thoughts
All of your progression carries over while playing online, your heroes and story progression are your own and any boss you defeat or collectible you earn will persist. This is a fantastic way to do online since friends can play together on one machine or on their own without hindering their individual progress. Getting out of Infinity missions into the Story again can be a challenge in this game mode as it forces you back to the main menu, and out of multiplayer, but the rest of the experience works well. Playing online with a mix of friends and randoms is a lot of fun and while there were sometimes network issues the checkpoints are frequent enough that you can rejoin where necessary.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is fan service at its core. It allows Marvel fans to put together their own dream team and work together to beat up bad guys. Practically all of the heroes from the past 10 years of Marvel movies are either playable or at least show up on the sidelines. Ultimate Alliance 3 does a great job of guiding players to experience everything it has to offer. While completing the story, there are incentives to start working on the Infinity Rifts. After you've completed the story, unlocking more Rifts will pull you into the harder difficulty modes. Each aspect of the game works standalone but also complements one another. Team Ninja delivers a gameplay experience that is welcoming to everyone while offering depth to those who want to invest additional time.
TechRaptor reviewed Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on Nintendo Switch using a copy purchased by the reviewer.
- Large Roster
- Familiar Characters...
- Plenty of Endgame
- Easy to Share
- Multiplayer Spottiness
- ...Might Be Stale