Only two months after Avengers: Endgame you’ll be able to play as almost as many characters as there were in that final fight scene! The upcoming video game capitalizes on the excitement everyone has for Marvel with a game designed to let you play as the most heroes possible. So we thought we’d share hat you should expect from Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Announced at the Game Awards, the Switch-exclusive title is a sequel to the video games made by Activision over 10 years ago. A lot of fans have been clamoring for a third entry in the series and Nintendo is finally making that happen in coordination with Marvel Games. Here’s what you should know about the title, including new information revealed in the Game Informer magazine, ahead of its release.
Ultimate Alliance 3 will be dumb fun
Don’t expect Ultimate Alliance 3 to win any Game of the Year awards, because it’s not trying to. This isn’t a game meant to challenge your conception of what a video game is. The idea is to jump in alone or with friends and have a good time. And that’s okay!
It takes a lot of cues from the movies
It’s easy to see that the interpretations of some of the characters are directly lifted from their film incarnations, including a Nick Fury that looks like Samuel L. Jackson and a Hawkeye physically incapable of cracking a smile.
Even the storyline is closely connected to the most recent Avengers films, involving Thanos and a race for the Infinity Stones. The Black Order is one of the most interesting additions to the Marvel Universe in some time, so I’m they’re getting a spotlight in the game in Ultimate Alliance 3. We’re sure to see a lot more of them here than we did in Infinity War and Endgame.
So, yes, a lot the world is more inspired by the MCU than the Marvel comics. However…
All Marvel characters are fair game
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite was debilitated by the lack of fan favorites like Venom and Wolverine, not included because Marvel didn’t want to feature characters they didn’t own the movie rights to. But they loosened up between the development of Marvel vs. Capcom and Ultimate Alliance, giving Team Ninja full access, as you can already see from the roster.
27 playable characters have already been announced (with more to come)
Ultimate Alliance 3 is fitting in as many heroes as possible, building a roster of superheroes bigger than any before it. Here are the playable characters already announced:
- Black Panther
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Doctor Strange
- Iron Man
- Miles Morales
- Ms. Marvel
- Peter Parker
- Rocket & Groot
- Scarlet Witch
The list includes expected choices such as the cast of the first Avengers movie and surprises like Crystal and Ms. Marvel. It sounds like the developers still have plenty of surprises lined up, so who knows how off-the-wall character choices will become. Given their importance in the MCU going forward, maybe we’ll even see an Eternal.
Because there’s such a dense lineup, the move set for each individual character might feel a little shallow, but still be satisfying if you go in with reasonable expectations. Regardless, with a toy box of several dozen characters, you’re not lacking options for gameplay.
The game is designed first and foremost for Marvel fans
The joy you derive out of Ultimate Alliance will largely be driven by your excitement for the franchise. Having played Team Ninja’s recent Hyrule Warriors title, I can tell you that these games are excellent at fan service. Team Ninja has proven twice over they know how to distill the essence of characters into the combat. The preview already demonstrates that via 7 minutes of gameplay footage shared by Game Informer.
Expect the story to be VERY silly.
The stories behind Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors were fan fiction at their most ambitious, blending characters from different times and places into one narrative. As a result, the storylines didn’t always make sense, but for the most part, players didn’t particularly care.
That’s because the point isn’t to make sense, it’s to get fan favorite heroes in the room together to fight. Infinity War and Endgame proved you can tell a compelling story while getting every Marvel character on the same battlefield, but a movie isn’t a video game. Ultimate Alliance 3 wants to create quick transitions from one scene to the next before you can start Hulking out again. The story is there to serve the game, not the other
I say embrace the cheese. A lot of the voiceover work we’ve seen is laughable, so laugh about it! The less seriously you take the story and dialogue, the more fun it and the rest of the game will be.
This game is forever a Nintendo Exclusive
Because Nintendo funded the development of Ultimate Alliance 3, don’t bother waiting for it to come to PlayStation, Xbox, or PC. It’s exclusive to the Switch, and that won’t change anytime soon.
Nintendo approached Marvel with the ideal way back in 2016 before the Switch was even announced. They developed the title in partnership with third-party partner Team Ninja, a studio they’ve trusted with their biggest franchises. So this is really a Nintendo production, through and through.
The frame rate is (surprisingly) solid
Watching gameplay videos you don’t see dips in resolution or instances of freezing. That’s remarkable given how many characters are on the screen at once. It helps that the game is at a lower resolution than you’d expect from a PS4 or Xbox One title, but still, hats off to Team Ninja for surpassing major technical challenges to make the gameplay so smooth experience
It’s another example of how much Marvel Games cares about their titles
Even if Ultimate Alliance 3 isn’t for everyone, what we’ve seen further goes to show how dedicated Marvel Games is to creating quality titles. When Activision owned the rights to Spider-Man and other Marvel characters they just shoved games out the door, focused on how many games they shipped over their playability. But Marvel Games, shepherded by former Marvel Comics editor Bill Rosemann, isn’t treating their games like licensed titles. They clearly have a personal stake in their success. Spider-Man on PlayStation 4, nominated for a plethora of awards at the end of 2018, shows how serious they are. In addition, hiring Crystal Dynamics of Tomb Raider fame to create a AAA Avengers title demonstrates Marvel wants to make games people will remember.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 isn’t aiming for the same target as the titles mentioned above. It’s made first and foremost to be fun, even if it won’t have the same level of depth. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially for a game featuring a set of characters with such four-quadrant appeal. And it’s making up for depth with quantity. I think it will do a spectacular job at appealing to a broad range of gamers, and I look forward to seeing that happen.