In December, at The Game Awards 2018, Nintendo revealed that the third official installment in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series was coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch—Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. It’s been 10 years since Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 was released, and the popularity of superhero movies, games and TV shows have exploded since then. So, hearing that a new Marvel Ultimate Alliance game was coming and exclusive to the Switch was a pretty big deal.
Developed by Koei Tecmo Games and Team Ninja, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is an action RPG/hack and slash adventure with its own unique story inspired by recent Marvel movies including Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Let’s take a look at Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order and see what this game that gives you the ability to create a team of four from a wide variety of Marvel heroes and villains that span the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Koei Tecmo Games, Team Ninja
Genre: Action RPG, hack and slash
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
An original story based on recent Avengers movies
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3‘s story is a brand-new story that splits off from the previous two games. I really like that they did this this for a number of reasons. For one, it makes it easy for those who have not played the previous games to jump in and not feel lost. Second, Koei Tecmo Games and Team Ninja created a story that is able to capitalize on the recent successful Marvel movies and feels current.
Thanos and the Black Order are up to no good and are planning to steal the six Infinity Stones in order to take over the universe. However, The Guardians of the Galaxy uncover this plot and an Ultimate Alliance of heroes comes together to keep the Infinity Stones away from Thanos and the Black Order. There’s one small caveat, the Infinity Stones have been scattered and gotten into the hands of some of the most iconic villains from the Marvel universe.
The Marvel Ultimate Alliance series is known for including a wide variety of characters and villains, including some of the more obscure characters. And, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 continues this tradition. However, it introduces and gives more familiar characters a bigger role up front first such as Spider-Man and Iron Man. While I wouldn’t consider the story in this game to be epic or a major selling point, it does do a great job of making things interesting and includes nods here and there for comic fan buffs.
Gameplay that stays true to its roots
While I did enjoy the game’s story, its gameplay is what makes this game fun and entertaining. Staying true to its roots, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 allows you to build a team of 4 heroes to take into combat, each with their own unique properties. Initially, gameplay seems basic and many might label it as a button masher.
However, the further you get into the game the deeper the gameplay becomes. Each character has 4 different abilities that unlock as you level them up. And, each of those abilities can be further enhanced. You can even further enhance your character via ISO-8 crystals and Alliance Enhancement.
In addition, two characters can combine their abilities for Synergy attacks, which cause massive damage to your enemies. Additionally, each character has a gauge that when full can perform Extreme attacks to dish out even more damage. And, if all 4 character’s gauges are full, they can perform an Ultimate Alliance Extreme attack. Let me tell you, it’s a sight to behold when this happens.
There are over 30 playable characters in the game and no two are the same. This makes for a virtually limitless amount of team combinations. And, experimenting to get the right combo is half the fun. Even though gameplay gets more complex the further you get into the game, it’s never really complicated and won’t leave you frustrated.
Marvelous visuals and superbly voiced characters
I absolutely love the cel-shaded graphics and art style that they choose to use with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. Not only does it play to the Switch hardware’s strengths, it also is a perfect fit for the “comic book” style gameplay. While the game won’t win any awards for graphics, the game’s realtime cutscenes are simply gorgeous. In addition, the superheroes and villains are all superbly voice acted and full of personality.
The game gives you a choice between classic and heroic camera views. The difference being that classic gives you a pulled back overview camera and heroic is more of a third-person view. Personally, I prefer using the heroic camera for in your face action.
However, that also brings a few hitches with it. I randomly encountered times where the camera got too close to the action and my character was out of the camera’s sight. It’s nothing game breaking but certainly worth mentioning.
Local and Online Multiplayer
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 features both offline, local and wireless, as well as online multiplayer gameplay. Unfortunately, the online multiplayer component was not active during my review period. So, I can’t comment on that. However, I was able to partake in 4 player local offline mayhem. The game supports both the Joy-Con and Pro Controllers.
If you’ve played either of the two previous games, then you’ll know how fun multiplayer is. If you haven’t, it is an absolute blast! Not only is it a great way to have fun but makes taking out the enemies that much more fun with friends. However, with 4 players at once, things can sometimes get a bit hectic on the screen. So, I advise taking it a bit slow at first to get acclimated before going all out.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order offers non-stop action and fun for both solo and multiplayer modes
I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised at just how much fun and enjoyment I had with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. The sheer number of playable characters is astonishing and there is more to come with added DLC in the future. The gameplay is easy to pickup and offers a deep rich experience for veterans of the series. The game’s cel-shaded graphics and art style are a perfect fit for Switch hardware and the game.
Between leveling up stats, collecting consumables, unlocking characters and costumes there is more than enough to keep you busy with the game. The loading time between modes at time is a bit longer than it really should be but nothing that is unbearable.
I highly recommend Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. Even though it’s not perfect, I had so much fun with the game and will be playing it for a long time to come. Let me know in the comment section below who your favourite character is in the game.
+ Over 30 playable characters
+ Easy to pickup gameplay
+ Fantastic art style and superbly voiced characters
+ Solo and multiplayer modes are fun to play
– Some loading times are longer than they should be
– Occasional camera issues
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: THE BLACK ORDER
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5