Previously on Me And My PlayStation 2: I had a blast playing X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. I enjoyed these games so much that when Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order was announced for the Nintendo Switch, I immediately decided that I’m getting the console — even though I still have a long queue of games on PS4 and PC.
Nostalgia is a very powerful thing, kids.
Avengers and Non-Avengers Assemble!
Like Ms. Marvel, I’m always enthusiastic about the Avengers and other Marvel characters assembling. Pretty much all of the MCU franchises are represented here, plus the X-Men, and then some.
Even if you haven’t played the old Ultimate Alliance games, as long as you like Marvel characters, you’re in for a treat. This game is casual Marvel fan-friendly. It’s the ultimate Marvel showcase, letting fans play as the classics like Spider-Man and Captain America while also introducing relatively new characters like Ms. Marvel and Elsa Bloodstone.
My favorite thing about the old games was the fact that I could basically participate in a good old fashioned Marvel crossover event involving dozens of characters and locations in the Marvel Universe. Plus, interacting with different characters add some flavor to the overarching story, so I’m glad we can still do all of that here.
Meet the New Game, Same as the Old Game
While I relish the warm embrace of nostalgia, I suffocate when the past hugs me too tight.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is not a direct sequel to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 as the story happens in a different universe, but almost everything else is the same.
It’s still a top-down beat ’em up where you have four members in your squad on the screen at the same time. You follow a story across planets and dimensions. You can level up your characters and improve their skills. Essentially, it’s the same game.
But not exactly the same.
Some improvements are great like the Infinity game mode, the massive Alliance Enhancement skill tree, and the visuals. I love the more cartoon-y look and the beautiful locales. Some visual choices they made are just plain cool, like in Shadowland where you fight Hand ninjas in silhouette.
The Lab lets players improve their stats through a giant-sized skill tree and an ISO-8 system. I’m usually a fan of upgrading things in games, but I wanted to finish the story in Friendly mode first before trying the harder Mighty mode, so I barely touched the Lab. I unlocked a few branches in the skill tree plus upgraded a few ISO-8s and equipped them on characters randomly, but I didn’t put a lot of time into it. And I didn’t feel any of it made a difference.
I regularly changed my roster every chance I got to level up characters at a similar pace. After unlocking Ghost Rider, though, I realized that leveling up and improving characters don’t really impact the way I play. So I just used the newest characters I’ve unlocked since they automatically have higher levels than the ones I unlocked earlier.
My team was pretty much just Ghost Rider and a healthy rotation between Doctor Strange, Elsa Bloodstone, Storm, and Black Panther until I finished the game. Because Ghost Rider is the best.
I know the upgrades, skill improvements, and even team bonuses are there to give players a deeper game experience, but probably only on harder game modes.
I actually have nothing to say about the co-op mode. I mean, I’m sure it’s more fun to beat up Thanos and his generals with your friends online, but I haven’t bothered getting a Nintendo Switch Online subscription yet.
I’ve tried local co-op, though. I started a new game with my 4-year old niece and she just kept flying around as Star-Lord. We’ve played a few times already and we have yet to get past Ronan the Accuser.
Beat ’em ups are fun and all, but they can get real old, real fast. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order tries its best to keep things interesting with several options to improve your team and game modes that will challenge your skills. But ultimately, it can all feel repetitive very quickly.
Like all things Marvel, you can see past the game’s simplistic gameplay and flaws (that camera can be very annoying in certain areas) if you love the characters enough. But really, who doesn’t love Marvel characters, especially if they’re as amazing as this good boy?
Overall, I had a ton of fun. The character introductions alone were delightful. But after finishing the story, I didn’t have the urge to play it again. I’ll probably go back to it once the Fantastic Four DLC becomes available. In the meantime, I’ll be getting my dose of Marvel games from Marvel Future Fight.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is available now exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.