Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is an updated version of 2011's Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds for home systems. The explosive beat-'em-up now has a dozen more of your favourite characters to choose from and some exclusive, Vita-only features.
Flipping through the pages of the comic book-like intro, you learn that the evil Albert Wesker and Doctor Doom have teamed up. Working together, their plan is to conquer the worlds of both comics and video games. Galactus soon hears of this and threatens to destroy both universes.
This gives you a reason to battle through the single-player campaign. After selecting a tag team of three from a cast of 48 heroes and villains, you've got to save the world one fight at a time, culminating in an epic face-off with Galactus himself.
Beating the game unlocks different endings to the comic, costumes, and artwork for each character.
Oh so Phoenix Wright
The brawling retains the same polished look and feel as the console version. Although the fighting takes place in classic 2D fashion, the characters are the same beautifully detailed 3D models as in the home outing.
The most noticeable area where graphics have taken a hit is in the backgrounds, but it's a fair price to pay. It's fast-paced and energetic, with an emphasis more on big cinematic moves rather than realistic, fluid fighting.
While die-hard fans would undoubtedly prefer an arcade stick, the D-pad is the best you'll get on the Vita. Resting the system on a table, the buttons are too close together to use comfortably with a finger on each. With practice, though, the handheld's buttons are accurate enough to nail those all-important special attacks and combos.
The game offers two modes in which to hone your skills: as well as a free practice arena, there's also Mission mode. Here each character has ten challenges to complete, starting with a fairly simple special move and building into longer combos in the later stages.
Novices will love the new touch controls. Instead of spending hours learning and mastering the complexities of play, you can just switch on the touch controls and tap away. Without even learning the most basic character controls you can gleefully smack your opponent in the face, automatically pulling off sweet combos and special attacks.
Even better, you can do this without blocking the pretty visuals with your fists - the rear touch panel does the same job. It feels more comfortable, too, since you don't have to change your grip.
If you're cringing at the thought of getting pwned by some screen-smashing noob, don't worry: you can lock out touch controls when playing online.
Whether connected ad-hoc or via PSN, there are two basic online modes; Player or Lobby. Player pitches you straight into a one-on-one situation.
It's a quick blast of excitement, and it's very easy to jump straight back in for a rematch and get your revenge. If you're playing over the PSN, there's also an option to play a Ranked match to improve your online standing.
Make mine Marvel (vs. Capcom 3)
One of the most compelling features that the Vita version offers over its bigger cousins is the Replay function. Being able to play back your skirmishes frame by frame is a real treat. Watching a Hadouken or a Hulk Smash in super slo-mo makes life worth living.
For the serious fighter, you can review all of your button-presses or misses, or even check out how your opponent was able to pull off his moves.
Lobby allows up to eight to play out a little tournament. In a lobby you can either join the queue for battle, or just observe. While you're waiting for your turn, watching the status of any fights in progress or checking out your competitors stats will keep you entertained.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a great update to an already great fighting game. All the best bits of the home console version have been perfectly scaled down and polished up.
It offers plenty of options for veterans who want to take the time to master each move and find the best team for any situation, while the touch controls are a strong addition that make this an easy game for more casual gamers to pick up.
The single-player element doesn't provide a great deal of replay value, unless you really want to collect every bit of artwork and costume colour. Online is the place you'll keep coming back to, and it's delightfully simple to walk in, pick a fight, and walk out again.