Platform: PlayStation Vita
One of the few highlights of Nintendo’s underwhelming launch line-up for the 3DS was Capcom’s 3D conversion of Streetfighter IV. Despite the lower resolution of the 3DS screen, Capcom did a stirling job of bringing the action and spectacle of one of this generation’s finest fighters to a handheld format, even if the almost total lack of background animation and a few fudged visual effects gave the game away. Now, however, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 puts even this achievement into context. With the added power of PlayStation Vita at its disposal, Capcom hasn’t simply created a solid imitation of the Xbox 360/PS3 game, but a conversion that – unless you look really closely – is pretty much identical to the real thing.
What makes this all the more impressive is the fact that this isn’t just another fighting game. With Marvel vs Capcom 3 and later the Ultimate version, Capcom made what is arguably the most visually stunning beat-em-up of this generation. Combining characters from the Streetfighter, Darkstalkers, Okami, Bionic Commando, Ace Attorney and Megaman games with heroes and villains from the Marvel universe, Capcom obviously felt freed-up to unleash all kinds of mayhem on the screen. With its dragon-punches, stretchy limbs, electric shocks and yogic flames, Streetfighter was never what you might call realistic, but throw Magneto, The Hulk, Doctor Doom and Spider-Man into the mix and you can take it up to a whole other level.
There’s hardly a second that goes by where someone isn’t getting whacked high into the air, toasted with a screen-filling death ray or walloped with some high-explosive projectile, and the result is a dizzying extravaganza of comic-book violence. You might notice the lack of animated detail in the gorgeous backgrounds – with Thor’s Asgard a particular highlight – but only if you fancy getting crushed by the flaming bolts or hulking fists headed your way.
And that’s not all. Marvel vs Capcom 3 went one better by integrating tag-team mechanics into the game. Instead of choosing one fighter before a bout you choose three, and not only can you tag between them, but also call in a hero temporarily to double-team on your current opponent, or combine two or all hero’s powers in one awesome mega-attack. This adds to the audio/visual overload, but also lends Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 a different feel from other fighters. It’s not just about stringing together blows, blocks and combos, but about judging when to throw fighters in and out of combat, and when to trigger those high-powered special moves.