After a 10-year wait we finally have a new Marvel Ultimate Alliance game to get stuck into - and a first released on Nintendo - but is it worth the wait?
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order has been developed by Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja and published by Nintendo for the Switch.
It is the third instalment in the series following the original 2006 game and 2009’s sequel.
But newcomers fear not. MUA3 does not require an in-depth knowledge of the the previous games or mechanics. The only requirement is a love for Marvel and top down isometric hack-n-slash dungeon crawlers.
That’s because MUA3 is set in an entirely different universe than the two previous games.
The emphasis - and ultimately the game’s crowning achievement - surrounds cooperative play. Up to four players can play the game co-op locally either on the same screen with a single docked Switch system, undocked with up to four systems or online with friends or in player lobbies.
You choose four characters from various Marvel families to take on the stages, fight enemies and defeat bosses. Each character’s controls are essentially the same with a jump, light attack, heavy attack, dodge, block, and four special abilities.
These can be synced with the other three members for a ‘synergy boost’ - which is a powerful attack that you will want to save to defeat multiple bad guys or in boss fights.
There is a great deal of satisfaction in unlocking new characters through the story progression or Infinity Rift challenges and more characters are planned as free or paid DLC.
There is a role-playing element in the character progression system. Party members level up from defeating enemies and bosses. In addition to stat increases, passive buffs can be attached to characters by equipping ISO-8 crystals. There is also a skill tree which allows characters to gain permanent stat increases by earning and spending their in-game currency.
But is MUA3 actually any good?
In short yes and it is ideal for the Switch. Despite the combat being one size fits all, the diverse roster of characters means in never gets boring.
The aforementioned ‘synergy boost’ attacks are very satisfying indeed and a host of upgrades offer plenty of customisation and added enjoyment.
The Marvel element is spot on for the super fans and the new universe means this was well worth the wait.
I did have some struggles with the camera, which is not ideal for this type of third person brawler although that issue is less prevalent outside of co-op.
All in all, though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable button-mashing beat-em-up with nods back to 80s and 90s favourites with plenty of new gen gloss.