Fun isn't something one considers when saving the universe, but this does put a smile on my face.
I was pretty surprised to see Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 announced at the Game Awards this past December. Though I’ve had a lot of fun with this action-RPG series, they aren’t exactly what I’d call outstanding games. Fortunately, Ultimate Alliance 3 is shaping up to be a genuinely solid game, and Nintendo appears to be confident enough in its quality to publish it themselves. I played the game’s demo at E3 this past week and was happily surprised to find just how fun—if simple—Team Ninja’s take on Earth’s mightiest heroes (and friends) could be.
The demo tasked us with aiding Jessica Jones in a raid on the Kingpin’s hideout to find the Infinity Stone he had recently acquired. True to series tradition, you choose a team of four heroes that can be controlled by either a friend or an AI. Each hero has four unique abilities that are unlocked through leveling up, and can be combined with basic melee attacks to take out waves of enemies to progress through the level. I always felt that combat in the older Ultimate Alliance games was pretty janky, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the controls are more fine-tuned than ever.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop combat from getting a bit repetitive. Enemies in the level we played were almost entirely the same generic ninja soldiers, and there wasn’t a lot to do besides hit them with the same attacks over and over until they were all defeated. Thankfully, the repetition can be mitigated with the large roster of Marvel heroes on display, each with their own set of abilities that change up the flow of battle. The differences don’t substantially reshape gameplay, but since the biggest appeal of Ultimate Alliance is the high amount of Marvel fanservice, I think it’s fun enough to see each character’s powers from the comics acted out on screen at my command.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 might not turn out to be a Game of the Year contender, but it is a lot of dumb fun for any true believers looking for another adventure with their favorite Marvel characters. This series has been passed around among a lot of developers so far, but Team Ninja appears to be the right choice since their version runs a lot more smoothly than any of its predecessors. It’s likely that being Marvel fan is a prerequisite for a good time, but I’m a big fan of Marvel’s characters, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my favorite superheroes when Ultimate Alliance 3 launches next month.