Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

As Shakespeare said, we mock what we are about to become.

This is definitely 2019’s Tom Chick’s Agents of Mayhem.

Anyone played it? I’m very tempted.

It sounds like jank city in handheld mode, which is my preferred mode for switching. Camera is supposed to be unreliable, and a great deal of slowdown. Too bad, as this kinda thing is normally my jam.

I’m more concerned about the character progression which sounds like you basically have to pick 4 mains to level up because all the content ramps up in levels and characters all level individually, too, so there’s no way to bounce around to sample different characters, or even a way to grind them up by replaying old content.

I was hoping this was based on the characters’ current level, not some overall progression. If that’s the case, that is pretty darn stupid.

Game Informer has a video on YouTube that goes over the weirdness of trying to manage character levels pretty well.

Just played through the first couple of levels with my team at work, and we’re enjoying it so far. Performance seemed fine, though we were obviously playing docked. We’ll see if the level-up issues become a problem later, but the basic brawling action is solid.

With the caveats that I am playing in docked mode, I’ve only played solo so far (hoping for co-op over the weekend), and plan to primarily use this game for couch co-op, it’s basically exactly what I wanted it to be. I haven’t progressed very far, but I mostly like it.

The camera is not an issue solo since you can move it in 90-degree angles; I imagine it is locked playing cooperatively. No performance issues to report aside from some loading screens taking longer than I’d like. The controls are mostly fluid, though it is hard to strategize too much with the AI companions; you can kind of instruct them to use an ability that synergizes with one of your own, but that’s not as intuitive as I’d like. Making them join you for alliance attacks is easy though.

You can grind all you want. You can replay past chapters with any unlocked character, however the cut scenes (at least for the first level) still show the original party, but that’s probably only the case for the intro level since the Guardians of the Galaxy characters are your starters. You immediately unlock about a dozen more after the first section of the second level, including most of the top-tier characters Marvel neophytes like myself are most familiar with (Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America). There are also special challenge stages that you unlock as you progress or find on the map that can be played any time. Further, you get XP cubes that give characters a boost of experience to help them level up. So, yeah, lots of grinding opportunities. I like to rotate characters, so I too was hoping for everyone to level with the party, but I assume the game wants you to replay it with multiple characters which I might be okay with.

It gets a thumb up from me. And, to be fair, most of the reviews I’ve read are generally positive. Even the 7/10 ones read more like 7/10 on a 1-10 scale rather than the classic 7-9 video game scale. So maybe @tomchick’s long crusade against it has finally succeeded. Part of my positivity is my anticipation of it really shining playing cooperatively though. Not sure I’d be as thrilled with it if I intended to play it solo (which, again, is good so far, but merely good) for the price of $60.

Oh, and all the characters I’ve used thus far and all the bosses I’ve faced feel unique. Moving and attacking with a bruiser like the Hulk is significantly different than attacking with the agile Black Widow which is in turn noticeably different than using a flying character like Iron Man. It’s not quite a brainless beat ‘em up either. I wasn’t paying much attention in a fight against the Sandman (or whatever his name is) and then suddenly three of my party died. Which is great.

Can one of the mods please close @Dissensus’ account so he can’t post any further impressions of Marvel Alliance Universe 3? kthnxbye

-Tom

Just give Nintendo your money Tom. You know you want to.

I didn’t even mention Ms. Marvel. Now, I have no idea who she is really, but she’s delightful and should be in every MCU project past and future.

Edit: Postscript: I played this longer than I thought I would last night. I intended to save most of it for co-op play, but then I got too engaged with trying out all the characters I had and soon enough I was headed off to the third zone. I did encounter a camera problem, but I got through it. I said above you can rotate the camera in 90-degree angles, but that’s not true: you can freely rotate the camera. The companion AI still bothers me because they don’t spam their special attacks when we stun bosses the way I want. The game looks a bit crunchier than a first impression might suggest. There’s lots of strengths and weaknesses regarding different attack types (piercing, electrical, etc.) that might be essential to pay attention to later, and presumably certainly when you unlock a higher difficulty level. I might be rethinking my statement about not being fully satisfied with it as a single-player experience. With all the characters and optional missions, there seems to be a fair amount of game here.

I like that it’s the same actor for Doc Ock as the PS4 Spider-man.

Godammit, Long, it turns out you were wrong in degree but right in sentiment. I think this thing is pretty darn great as a superhero grinding action RPG. I have some issues with it, but I predict it’s going to drink up a metric butt-ton of my time.

-Tom

I picked it up, enjoying it so far. I’ve not played any coop yet, so I wish there was a way to get the AI-controlled characters to reliably trigger synergies. Maybe there is, but I only found that I can press ‘A’ to trigger any synergies from the character I am currently controlling in the in-game reference thing.

I like the art style, and the action seems to be good so far. There’s been a lot of variation in the bosses. I think this game probably scratches the Arkham Asylum/Shadows of Mordor-style action itch I’ve had for the Switch. I’ve only played docked so far, haven’t really noticed many slowdowns. I think. I find targeting to be a bit off, especially with the ultimate abilities.

My only complaint so far is that the dialogue from whomever you’re controlling isn’t voiced while you’re at SHIELD points, but I guess they’d have to have recorded A LOT of extra stuff for that.

I’ve not played any of the other Ultimate Alliance games, so I am not sure how simplified the level up/stat stuff is from before. It doesn’t seem very deep, but ok so far.

You might already know this, but I tend to just run around holding down the right trigger instead of the right bumper button. Your character will do his or her regular attacks unless another hero pops up a synergy, in which case the appropriate button will helpful light up right over your character’s head! Easy peasy.

I’ve also seem a yellow arc shoot from another character to my character, which might be related to synergies? There’s nothing about it in the (pretty good) documentation. Does anyone know what that means?

Have you gotten into any of the ISO-8 stuff? It looks like there are some pretty interesting options in there. For instance, I just found one that gives my character a 33% greater chance of being targeted, which is great for a tank and way more detailed than anything in the previous Marvel Alliances.

-Tom

P.S. Uh, hey MUA3, playable Elektra plz or GTFO.

Yeah, but my problem is that my AI companions seem to seldom use their powers and run around with full energy bars. Another possible issue might be that my team of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hulk might not have that many synergies yet.

Uh, sure. I totally knew that. Yep. I totally did not miss any loading screen tips or tutorials that explained that.

I just unlocked the ISO-8 stuff, and have decided that I need to upgrade my incredibly old and small TV since the icons are to small. Or complain that there’s not info on the same screen that says whether or not the character I am equipping has attacks of that type. Unless that is something I missed too.

Here’s the way I think the synergies and abilities work. This is all from the perspective of playing solo with all AI teammates.

Holding the right bumper lets you activate your abilities on your own. I think it’s possible the AI might accidentally trigger a synergy attack, but you shouldn’t expect it.

Holding right trigger lets you activate your synergies, when possible. While you’re holding right trigger, you’ll see the little icons for the face buttons flash between the ability icon and the face of the teammate that can synergize with it. I think if their face is darkened it’s because you’re not close enough to them or they’re KO’d or don’t have energy or for some other reason can’t actually execute the attack at the moment, if their face is lit up, it will trigger the synergy with them when you hit the button.

I’m not very far, no one in my team has more than two special attacks, and I haven’t tried that many combinations of heroes, but it seems like for whatever reason there’s always exactly one hero that will synergize with each of your attacks. Every attack always shows exactly one teammmate’s face on the icon when I’m holding the right trigger down.

Anywho, the other thing to watch for is the yellow arc aiming toward your character. That indicates a teammate has initiated a special you could synergize with. The AI doesn’t seem super smart, but they do occasionally use their special attacks on their own, and if you match up and are in range, the yellow arc is your indication to hit “A”. You don’t need to hit anything else, the A button while the yellow arc is on you will initiate your half of the synergy. I haven’t played with other people, just AI, but I assume this would work the same way if it was a human teammate initiating an attack you could synergize with.

I don’t think this is necessarily true. The synergies are all listed in the tips (aka manual) and I’m pretty sure there are combos that don’t synergize. I’ve gone through the hassle of building up a team with a focus on synergies, and I think the effort pays off, especially early on when your dudes only have two special attacks.

Glad to hear it confirmed about the yellow arc. I was pretty sure that’s what it was. Part of the problem for me is that some of the synergies require you to do things like, you know, aim, so sometimes when I frantically mash the A button – it’s become a Pavlovian thing now, and I just can’t help it – I end up spooging all my special juice shooting webs point blank into a wall. Nice move, Tom/Spider-Man.

But once you set up and start pulling off specific synergy attacks, it’s pretty gratifying, especially as you learn how to punch through those godawful purple stagger bars. I hate those things so hard. I’ve been using Venom as my “main” because his initial special attack is rated A against stagger bars. It makes for a very non-canonical team, having Venom leading dudes like Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, and whoever Crystal is. But hey, comic book nerds, I’m all about whatever works!

Have you guys tried any of the solo challenges? Now those are a great way to learn a character. I kind of wish there was a way to play levels without all four characters.

-Tom

The window for some of the triggers is a bit shorter than I’d like (I’m slow, I guess). I also find it a bit hard to set up some of the shields and such on many of the bosses. They initiate an attack, and Captain America’s level 10 shield just never gets up in time. I also with that some of the targeting was a bit better (Or I am very bad at targeting, I guess).

I have trouble targeting too. I think because the game gets kind of fast-paced and button-mashy. It’s hard to keep track of things when there’s a rush of enemies. Some abilities seem to have an auto-lock feature, but consequently it doesn’t always auto-target who you want and you don’t always have time to adjust.

As expected, this game is great fun played cooperatively. However, it’s probably best not to play it with someone you’re on shaky ground with. People are way better than AIs, but there’s still some, er, communication problems at times.