NYCC 2011: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Hands-On Preview

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It’s no secret that I’m a Marvel vs Capcom fan. It’s easily one of my favorite franchises of all time, so much so that the main reason I’ve attended the last two Comic-Cons was to get hands-on time with MvC games before they launch (original MvC3 last year, Ultimate this year). This year my excitement was at a fever pitch with the reveal of Phoenix Wright as a playable character. How would he play? What would he feel like? No sooner did I walk into the convention did I find out, and guess what? He’s killer.

For those not familiar, Mr. Wright has three phases: Investigation, Courtroom, and Turnabout (just like the games!). He also has three folder symbols above his Super meter, and a fourth symbol (magnifying glass, attorney’s badge, hand with pointed finger) telling which phase he’s in.

In Investigation mode, Phoenix can pick up pieces of evidence on the ground, which will fill his folder meter. If the evidence is correct, the folder will light up, and if not it’ll stay dark. Evidence is gathered by pressing S (launcher) and any of the three attacks, each one corresponding to a folder in the meter (Light is left, medium is middle, heavy is right). Once all three are gathered, Down Down S will switch him to Courtroom mode, where his normals and specials will change and he can present the evidence for different effects. Finally, with three pieces of evidence in courtroom mode, if Phoenix hits the Objection move, it’s Turnabout time, and he becomes a BEAST.

Obviously that is a barebones summary, but suffice it to say that Phoenix represents his series well. His normal attacks include digging on the ground, throwing papers, and sneezing as a launcher. He’s fun to watch, and even more fun to play.

Of course, I didn’t travel all that way just to play Phoenix Wright. The rest of UMvC3 is shaping up quite nicely. It doesn’t play any differently than MvC3, but there are enough changes to the characters to keep players busy. Of the other new characters:

-Strider is just how fans of MvC2 will remember him. He’s fast and deadly, but he can’t take a hit worth a damn. He’s all about getting in the opponent’s grill and staying there from what I played of him.

-Ghost Rider has a lot of Dhalsim qualities with his whip’s long reach and fire-breathing specials. His Penance Stare is also one of the best-looking specials in the game in person. It’s always tough to hit command grabs, but Ghost Rider’s is totally worth it.

-Doctor Strange is going to take some work to learn. Seeing as how I only got one match with him, I couldn’t really get a handle on his many projectiles. I will say that his Spell of Vishanti super move might be one of the best in the game: an instantaneous 20-hit pillar of light wherever the opponent is standing. Watch out for Strange, he’ll be a terror in the right hands.

Those were the three new characters I got to try, but I also used my two MvC3 stalwarts, Zero and Super Skrull, and they were as powerful as ever.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is shaping up to be one of the best entries in the series, and I can’t wait for it. November 15th is already bad on the wallets of gamers (Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Halo Anniversary, Saints Row The Third, Need for Speed: The Run, and more), and UMvC3’s excellent New York Comic Con showing is only making November 15th look that much better.

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