When the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance game was released way back in 2006, it made all my geek senses tingle.
I mean, here was a game that combined all my favourite superheroes into one setting. Plus, these heroes could team up, giving me the ability to control more than one of Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was a dream come true for many comic fans.
Fast forward a couple of years later and the franchise has all but remained a foggy memory in the minds of gamers who had feared that the 2008 sequel would be the last entry in the franchise. It took Nintendo and their popular Switch console to bring the Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise back to life in the third instalment in the series.
As they say, better late than never.
As with the first two games, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order takes its inspiration from the media that spawned its spandex-clad heroes. This time, heroes from across the Marvel-verse are tasked with stopping Thanos from getting his hands on those glimmering Infinity Stones.
Of course, the mad titan, not wanting to get his hands dirty himself, sends his elite group of warriors, The Black Order, to retrieve the stones. It’s up to an ever-expanding roster of superheroes to try and stop Thanos and his minions from getting the stones fist and, of course, this means beating up some familiar bad guys along the way.
Let’s be honest, while a good, deep story is always welcome in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise, it’s mostly a way to motivate you beating up villains.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order kicks off with a bang and throws players right into the thick of things. It’s action from the get-go as the game quickly introduces players to the game’s mechanics.
For those who did not play the first two games, the franchise is basically an action RPG featuring your favourite comic book heroes. Players will choose their team of four heroes and then run around beating up lesser minions before inevitably facing off against a familiar villain from the Marvel universe.
It sounds like a repetitive affair, which of course it is, but it becomes a hypnotic almost cathartic experience as you clear room after room of enemies. Combat is mostly a two-button affair as you use your heavy and light attacks to string together combos.
Having said this, the game can be punishing at times, and you quickly learn that dodging and blocking can be just as an important ally as the green hulking hero standing next to you.
Helping keep things interesting is the slew of powers available to each hero. As you heroes level up they are able to upgrade their various powers. Unleashing these powers on your foes is a feast for the eyes as particles of all colours fill the screen. This can sometimes make it difficult to make out what is going on, especially when all four of your heroes unleash their special moves at the same time.
Games with a large roster of characters can sometimes see their characters meld together over time, with each feeling and playing similar to the next. However, to its credit, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order makes each hero feel unique. Which, in a game with such a large group of heroes to choose from, is to be commended.
While beating up a plethora of famous Marvel villains is fun, the main attraction is, of course, expanding your roster of heroes and finding the perfect combination to make beating up bad guys as effective as possible. Although I discovered early on which heroes I preferred, I did get excited each time the game offered me a new hero to try out and this quickly became one of the mains draws of the game.
Luckily, unlocking new heroes happen continually throughout the campaign. There were quite a few times when I thought I had unlocked every hero available when a new superhero would suddenly appear offering their help to aid me in my cause.
Visually, each hero looks as one would expect, with many taking inspiration from their bright spandex covered original costumes. One issue I did have was that heroes only level up when you play with them, which meant that I had to begrudgingly leave some heroes out of my team who just weren’t powerful enough to face off against some of the later villains.
Bunching together various heroes gives your group team bonuses. So, grouping together the original Avengers could apply a defensive or even offensive buff to your team.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order also throws a brand-new way to tweak your heroes into the mix, namely ISO-8. These crystals are used to augment certain of your heroes stats such as increasing their vitality or defence and can be acquired by beating enemies or unlocking chests hidden on the levels. All these elements together make finding the perfect team an intricate puzzle.
Bashing up Marvel villains is a blast, but it is even better with friends. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order allows up to four friends to team up in local couch co-op or online multiplayer. This is, for the most part, just as chaotic as one would expect, especially when playing in local co-op as the camera can become quite unwieldy.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order captures the magic the first two games had and modernizes it a bit. It’s still just as much fun fine-tuning your team as you try and create the unlimited superhero team. Yes, combat can become a bit repetitive, and the story isn’t the most in-depth, but, at its heart, this is a game about becoming your favourite superheroes, saving the day and, most importantly, making you feel like a kid again.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is an enjoyable romp through the Marvel Universe, even though its combat does become a bit repetitive at times.
- Great mix of superheroes
- All those wonderful special abilities
- Playing with a friend
- Combat can become repetitive
- Leveling system does have a few issues
- Storyline 0%
- Gameplay 0%
- Graphics 0%
- Replay Value 0%
- Sound and Music 0%