After an eight-year hiatus, Marvel’s coveted Ultimate Alliance series is back with “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.” The action role playing game features characters from every facet of Marvel’s publication history, allowing you, and up to three friends, to create your own super team in a race against Thanos to gather the infinity stones in a fun romp through the Marvel Universe.
Building off of the previous entry’s four-player arcade style, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” also introduces the synergy system that allows characters to attack together, causing significantly more damage while looking really cool. This mechanic makes “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” feel less like a mindless punch-a-thon, and adds a focus on cooperating with friends to build the ultimate team.
During my playthrough, my party and I played as a hodgepodge of characters, usually ending with some combination of Star-Lord, Ghost Rider, Scarlet Witch and Captain America. In the game, roster size is both a blessing and a curse. While there are over 40 playable characters, and more on the way, it often felt like quantity over quality. “Ultimate Alliance 2,” for instance, had a similar roster size, but the characters felt more alive, quipping and commenting on the world around them. In “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” all of the characters seem two-dimensional.
Focusing more on gameplay than plot is hardly a bad thing, but I was hoping for a bit more personality in a game that features such iconic characters. Speaking of team competition, while you’re free to mix and match heroes as you see fit, should you decide to play as an established team like the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy you’ll reap a sizable stat boost that will push you through the game’s more difficult sections.
On the bright side, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is not afraid to challenge players. Going in on the “Mighty” difficulty, the harder of the two available at the start, my party and I got our butts handed to us fairly regularly, but every loss felt deserved and every win felt well-earned. There were multiple occasions where we would have to rethink our plan of attack, often by switching up our team to better counter our foes. Having a difficult game is almost controversial in the industry right now with many studios preferring more casual, pick-up and play game design. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is no “Dark Souls,” but it isn’t a cakewalk either, providing a very refreshing challenge for those looking for it.
My praise at being virtually punched in the face aside, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is not a perfect game, but it presents some good old fashioned arcade gameplay with the mechanical integrity you would expect from the Nintendo Switch. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is at its best when played with friends, making it a great way to spend a laid back summer night with the non-gendered friends of your choosing, especially the ones who need a pick me up after “Avengers: Endgame.”
Find “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order” exclusively on the Nintendo Switch for $59.99 at your local retailer or https://marvelultimatealliance3.nintendo. com/buy/.