After a decade, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order switch exclusive has come to bring the MUA franchise back to the fans of the superhero arcade genre. The previous two MUA and XML (X-Men Legends) games were so loved and adored by the fans, that by this day new online mods and fan-made patches were made and shared through underground online forums. However, in 2019 Nintendo and Team Ninja decided to hardwire us back into the future by bringing us this title, and after some high anticipation, it seems the first impressions are mixed…
Development and reception
This game’s development was officially unveiled during an E3 conference with short gameplay version, reassuring the fans that it is going to be the same game, only brought into the present time. The development is handled by Team Ninja from Japan, who are known for their Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive fighting games and it is immediately clear that MUA3 was influenced by Japan artwork, for the better of course. The game scored 74 on Metacritic so far and is usually ranging from 7 to 8 stars on most sites, seeing how it is a game built solely for Nintendo Switch, this is a decent amount of acclaim.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is set in its own universe, separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and separate even from the last two games MUA 1 & 2. Setting the game up like this is an understandable move since the last two titles have generally taken the player through most of the global threats encountered in the comic book stories. In MUA3, the story is closely tied to the characters included in the game and their reveals, which are happening as you progress through the game similarly to how it was done in Mortal Kombat 9, 10, and 11.
The story begins with the Guardians of the Galaxy, who, on their travels, pick up a high cosmic energy burst nearby. When they investigate, they find all six infinity stones were the source of the burst, and that they are located on a hidden ship filled with Kree soldiers. They manage to fight through to the stones, with the Star Lords grabbing the Space Stone in a desperate last chance to save the universe. He sends all the other stones to a random location in the galaxy, and this kicks off the game.
The mechanics and the genre of this game is exactly the same as in previous MUA games, just as promised. We are presented with a character roster that contains mostly expected characters that are popular due to the movies, but also some surprises like NIghtcrawler and Ghost Rider. You select a team of four and go on on a single or multiplayer co-op battling extravaganza, which is quite fitting for the hand-held switch console and so ‘90s. As a new addition to the game, heroes are divided into combat roles, on damage dealers, tanks, assassins, mutants, and more. The best part about them is that their moves, costumes, and abilities are close to the original comic book source, and they are voiced beautifully.
Another good thing about the game is the use of humor, which was not really incorporated at all in previous installations. This is where our comic book characters step away perhaps from their original versions and are a little bit influenced by the movies, but this is a good addition. All other standard stuff from the game’s franchise is accounted for, like power combos, costumes, upgrading stats, gear, and more.
This is where this game really separates itself from the previous two editions. Even though it is made for a handheld Nintendo Switch console, which is now as strong as a good PC was back in the days of MUA 2, this game looks and feels not just like the next generation issue, but the next millennium issue. Starting with the camera view angle, it gives the game an incredibly fresh twist, where you can play in a top-down standard position, but you can also play in the third person in both single and multiplayer co-op, which makes the game feel entirely different.
So far, all of the characters only have one other costume variation, which is a trade-off according to the popular opinion on the web. People are demanding more costumes, while Nintendo is probably going to release them slowly as a premium in-game purchase. However, these existing costumes look amazing already. The graphics and the appearance of this game probably serve as an example of the power of the Nintendo Switch console, for it looks better than MK 11, which was arguably its visual jewel so far.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Switch game is definitely a welcome addition to Nintendo’s pallet and it represents a good choice for people seeking a new, modern, well balanced, well-executed game with superheroes from the Marvel world. The game is certainly not going to stick with its current form and we presume it will change, upgrade, and expand indefinitely and soon at that. Current heroes and the story feels like an introduction, though it is a good one without a mistake. It is a definite ‘YES!’ for this game.