Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order is releasing for the Nintendo Switch on July 19 as a Nintendo Switch exclusive. It’s been 10 years since Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 released and a lot has changed with video games, comics, and Marvel. With all that has changed within 10 years, there looks to be huge changes from Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order. With what has been seen from Ultimate Alliance 3 so far, these changes appear to be a good thing.
New Publisher and New Developer Means New Game
One big difference is the change in publishers and developers. Both Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2 along with the X-Men Legends games were published by Activision. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order is being published by Nintendo. On the development side, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2 were developed by Vicarious Visions. They have worked on titles like Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, on the other hand, is being developed Team Ninja, best known for the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive series.
While Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2 were not bad games by any means, Nintendo and Team Ninja seem to be the perfect combination for the upcoming Nintendo Switch exclusive. Team Ninja is no stranger to action games and they have worked with Nintendo before on such projects like Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Metroid: Other M. Now not all of those games have been the most well-received games but Marvel Games is also directly involved with the development of the game. Marvel Games is in fact, helping with the story along with which Marvel characters fit into the world of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.
The New Ultimate Alliance
With Nintendo’s high standards along with Team Ninja’s history of developing action games and Marvel Games knowledge of the characters and world of Marvel Comics, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order is shaping up to be the best in the series. So how do they capture the feeling of the cooperative action RPG that once captured the attention of gamers in the 00s? The answer is they don’t.
While Team Ninja is keeping the foundation the original games, they are improving upon and re-innovating everything else. For example, the original games especially Ultimate Alliance 2 were trying to go for the best graphics Vicarious Visions could make the game have at the time. Ultimate Alliance 3 has a very comic book like look to the graphics. It’s vivid and makes the characters stand out from the background. In the original Marvel Ultimate Alliances at times when the action became hectic, you could lose sight of your character.
Team Ninja has also taken a different approach when it comes to the perspective during certain parts of gameplay. As the camera will often change depending on what looks most stylish for the game at that time. For example, at one part the alliance will progress through a base of The Hand while chasing after Kingpin, and the camera will change from the normal view to a 2D view with the characters becoming silhouettes in front of the background. That was just one example, as Team Ninja’s style and creativity they learned while making their various action games can be seen frequently through the parts of Ultimate Alliance 3 that have already been shown.
A Game Everyone Can Enjoy
A lot has changed with Marvel in the last 10 years. While 10 years ago the Ultimate Alliance games really only had the comics along with a few X-Men and Spider-Man movies and cartoon to take inspiration and stories from. 10 years later they now have a ton of comics, movies, tv shows, and cartoons to take inspiration from. Ultimate Alliance 3 is hoping to combine aspects from all of those things so no one feels isolated and everyone can easily hop in, understand what is going on, and enjoy themselves.
Team Ninja and Marvel plan on doing this by having the story largely disconnected from the first two Ultimate Alliances. Focusing instead on common themes, characters, and connections that have been seen across the movies, comics, and cartoons. For example, characters can get team bonuses or use special combo moves depending on if they have a relationship with each other that has been seen in the movies, cartoons, or comics. One example is if Deadpool is teamed up with another member of the X-Men, they’ll get an X-Men team bonus.
Speaking of Deadpool, he is proof that the development team captured each character’s personality perfectly. For example, in one mission the Xavier Institute is under attack by the Juggernaut. None of this bothers Deadpool who is making tacos in the kitchen. Only after the Juggernaut destroys the kitchen and his tacos does he decide to join the alliance. This makes him feel authentic to how he is represented in both the comics and movies.
The characters designs also look like they are a cross between the different forms of media they take inspiration from. The X-Men, for example, have suits that look like they’re from the 90s cartoon but made out of material that you would see in the movies. This varies from character to character but almost all of them look like they are some sort of mix of the various different designs they have been seen in from the different movies, cartoons, or tv shows.
If you’re the type of person who has only watched Daredevil on Netflix but not anything else Marvel related, don’t worry as they plan on seamlessly connecting all the characters and parts of the Marvel Universe together. Any part that doesn’t fit into the story of Ultimate Alliance 3 will not be included as the team didn’t want to shoehorn anything in. Fear not though as most of the Marvel characters you know and love are all in the game.
New Gameplay and New Expansions
While the X-Men are in the game, they are getting an expansion along with the Fantastic Four and Marvel Knights. These expansions will add new playable characters, modes, and new storylines. The three expansions will be bundled together for $19.99 and will not be available for separate purchase. For the Marvel characters players may not know, Team Ninja thought of an easy way to introduce them. When a character is first seen in the story they are introduced with a stylish pop-up. This says who they are and what they do with a single line of text.
As for the gameplay, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order still remains an Action RPG. It embraces the RPG part more than past titles as you find what is known as ISO-8 throughout the game. You can then equip your characters with the ISO-8 to give them certain perks like fire attacks or higher defense. This allows your characters to be customized to your liking. You can also use your customized characters to take on the Infinity Trials. The Infinity Trials are side-missions that when completed reward you with various rewards like new characters. Look forward to trying out the Infinity Trials and seeing what other changes Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order has in store when it releases for the Nintendo Switch on July 19. For more information about Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order, you can visit Nintendo’s official website.