More than any other name across an entertainment medium, Marvel is the one that’s flying highest- this is a statement that’s been true for some years now, and most likely will be for years still. A lot of that is down to the meteoric rise in popularity of their film efforts with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and now that’s bleeding into video games as well. It’s not like there weren’t any Marvel games before the MCU came along – of course there were – but now, Marvel is taking this medium more seriously, and pursuing quality products with impressive aggression. Spider-Man came last year, and Avengers lands in 2020, and sandwiched between those two is a smaller, but still very interesting project- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.
Ultimate Alliance 3 is merely days away from launch now, and as we gear up for its release, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at the fifteen main talking points from the game. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
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From the moment it was announced, Ultimate Alliance 3 piqued the interest of many people, simply because of the names that were attached to it- a property that had, in the past, been a multiplatform one developed and published by Activision and its studios, now coming to Switch exclusively, being published by Nintendo, and developed by none other than Koei-Tecmo’s Team Ninja. It’s an interesting shakeup, and Team Ninja’s experience with action packed hack and slash games definitely gives us plenty of confidence about what they’re doing with Ultimate Alliance 3.
A DIFFERENT UNIVERSE
Ultimate Alliance 3 is separate from its two predecessors not just in terms of the people behind the game, but also the many years that separate them- the game’s also choosing to isolate itself in terms of story and start with a clean slate. The Black Order is technically the third game in the Ultimate Alliance series, but it doesn’t follow the narrative of its predecessors, and is instead set in an entirely different universe.
So what is the story here, then? It’s an original Marvel story, of course, and doesn’t adapt any of the comics or the films or what have you, but it still has shades of the MCU in there. The game has a massive roster of Marvel heroes and villains, but the spotlight is very much on the Mad Titan, Thanos, and his followers, called the Black Order. The heroes of the Marvel universe unite to fight against the threat Thanos and his followers pose.
As mentioned, the roster of playable characters in Ultimate Alliance 3 is absolutely massive, and pulls in characters from all corners of this giant fictional universe. The likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, Spider-Man (both Peter Parker and Miles Morales), Spider-Gwen, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, Venom, Storm, Star-Lord, Ghost Rider, Magneto, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Doctor Strange, and many, many, many more are included.
And what about the baddies you’ll be squaring off agains? That lineup is also very impressive and varied. The likes of Thanos (of course), Ultron, Juggernaut, Loki, Red Skull, Ronan the Accuser, Bullseye, Sandman, Doctor Octopus, Dormammu, Electro, Green Goblin, Kingpin, Mysterio, and Nebula have all been confirmed, among many others.
But it’s not all about playable characters in bosses- Ultimate Alliance 3 features an all-star cast of Marvel heroes (and villains), and many characters are going to be featured as NPCs. This includes, but it’s limited to, the likes of Beast, Colossus, Vision, the Winter Soldier, Cyclops, Jessica Jones, Nick Fury, Lockjaw, Professor X, Valkyrie, and many others.
It’s not just with characters that Ultimate Alliance 3 is taking cues from all corners of the Marvel universe- several costumes and looks of a number of characters that fans will be very familiar with are also going to be features. Characters will have several skins and costumes that they can be equipped with.
Ultimate Alliance 3 is designed, first and foremost, as a co-op experience (though you’re not bound to it if that’s not what you’re after). Upto four players team up together in drop in / drop out co-op, which can be done both, locally, and online. When playing locally, it will feature Joycon support as well.
Combat has been the bread and butter of Ultimate Alliance games in the past, and that much is not going to change. It’s going to be gleefully, gloriously button-mashy- for once, that’s a good thing. Combat in MUA3 promises to be flashy in all the right ways, and special moves, light attacks, heavy attacks, combos, and what have you are all promising an experience that will be accessible, but not without depth- or so we hope, at least.
Ultimate Alliance 3’s combat will introduce some complexity with its combos. Attacks will be categorized based on their elemental types, and these elements can mix and match with each other to create combo effects. Meanwhile each of the four heroes will have their own special Alliance Extreme attacks- when two characters have achieved synergy with each other, they can combine these attacks for a synergy combo. Similarly, all four characters together can perform an Ultimate Alliance Extreme Attack.
Progression in Ultimate Alliance 3 will happen on two fronts- each characte levels up individually, of course, and can be upgraded by spending ability points. Meanwhile, there’s also the Alliance Enhancement System, which will apply to your entire team as a whole. The Alliance Enhancement System will offer a whole grid of upgrades, which can be unlocked using credits and enhancement points.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 will have various difficulty options to choose from. From the get-go, the Friendly and Mighty difficulty options will be available, which, as their names suggest, are Normal and Hard difficulties. Once you’ve beaten the game, a new difficulty setting will be made available, which will allow you to begin a new game with all your previous progression in terms of upgrades and alliance enhancements- so yeah, it’s basically New Game Plus.
Ultimate Alliance 3 will present players with two options for the camera and how they want to view the game. There’s the classic camera, which will show the game in an isometric angle and is best suited to co-op play. Then there’s the new Heroic camera, which will be more zoomed in and up close and focus on whichever character you’re controlling, meant for solo play.
Infinity Trials are side activities that you can take on for unique combat challenges. These can range across various types, such as time trials, fighting against waves of enemies, and various other kinds of trials. These appear as rifts in the game while you’re playing through the story, but can also be accessed later on from the main menu.
Nintendo have also announced a Season Pass for DLC coming to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. The additional content will begin dropping this fall, and some pretty juicy details have already been made available on what it will entail. Characters from the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Marvel Knights have all been confirmed to be part of the Season Pass- though exactly which characters these will be isn’t something that we know yet.