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    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

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    Philippe Gloaguen
    @philippegloaguen

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    Although the gameplay shown in Cologne partially reassured those who were disappointed with the first trailer of Marvel's Avengers, it is very early to define the future work by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal as the best product dedicated to superheroes ever. It is also very clear how the next videogame adventures of the most powerful Heroes on Earth have been heavily influenced by the atmosphere and design of the (relatively) recent Marvel Cinematic Universe (or Earth-199999 for the hard and pure nerds), moving away from that colorful atmosphere typical of American comics. But don't be afraid, True Believers, because the boys of Team Ninja have well thought of filling this gap with their latest effort, made exclusively for Nintendo Switch: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.



    Before starting: if you still don't know the Black Order present in the subtitle, we invite you to retrieve our article dedicated to Thanos' henchmen (which you can find by clicking here), so you can show off your nerd culture at the bar with friends and fully appreciate the narrative sector of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, in case you decide to buy it.

    Said this, we are ready to tell you about our search for the Infinity Stones after a month spent saving the multiverse alone and in company, in an attempt to unlock everything possible and waiting for future additional content, which should arrive by the end of the month.

    But first things first.

    SIX STONES TO RULE THEM ALL

    There are no doubts: Team Ninja rode the wave of cinematic success in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame to bring his personal interpretation of the de saga to the screen (portable and fixed) "The Infinity Gauntlet" (1991) and “Infinity” (2013). The plot, in fact, sees the Guardiani della galassia who, during a "normal working day", find themselves having to deal with the Infinity Stones and with the members of theBlack Order, in charge of recovering the Stones for their master: Thanos. However, following a clash with Proxima Midnight, the Gems are scattered around the Universe and it will be up to the Star Lord team, with the support of a vast array of heroes, to recover them before they fall into the wrong hands.



    To weave the threads of history is there Marc Sumerak, a valid writer of Marvel comics who, despite the fair number of works produced, he was able to distinguish himself above all for the fifteen issues dedicated to Franklin Richards (designed for the occasion in Calvin & Hobbes style), written together with friend and colleague Chris Elipoulos. Marc, with Ultimate Alliance 3, sees every Marvel writer's forbidden dream come true: writing a giant team-up among a multitude of superheroes, forced to fight together to face the worst possible threat. With a couple of solid sagas to pivot on, the story presents all the clichés typical of the narrative genre to which it belongsand, managing to amuse, entertain and arouse in the fans of the House of Ideas that desire to find out who will be the next character to enter the scene and which comic saga refers to one or the other dialogue. Let's be clear: the plot is nothing brilliant and / or innovative (Sumerak isn't Hickman), but the Cleveland writer has managed to fit all of those elements Marvel fans look for into the best comic book crossovers. The level of dialogue is also excellent which, while maintaining light tones, manages to perfectly highlight the different characters of a vast multitude of heroes. Finally, an applause for the direction of the introductory scenes of the various characters, who manage to be just right and to honor all the large cast set up by Team Ninja.

    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order storyline can be completed in about 15 hours, but we are sure that the vast amount of things to do and challenges to overcome can push you to easily double the amount (especially if, like this writer, you are great lovers of superhero comics).



    BARREL FROM ORBI (WITH MATT MURDOCK)

    It is useless to hide it: the first minutes of contact with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 had not been able to fully convince us, presenting a combat system that is too simple and unnecessarily chaotic situations. We are happy to admit, however, that we have completely changed my mind within a couple of hours, when all the best features of the title begin to emerge. The increase in the level of the characters, in fact, unlocks new moves to use, while the progress of the plot allows you to add characters to your roster and introduces different situations that they force the player to adapt and learn to make the most of their team. Just like in the first two chapters of the series (but in this third "episode" even more), the various superheroes prove to be extremely different from each other and capable, if combined in the right team, to perform combined moves (or super moves) worthy of the best Hollywood blockbuster. Each of the four actions available for each character, in fact, it can potentially be combined with that of another hero, giving life to epic scenes such as, for example, Iron Man who shoots his own proton beams and Captain America who makes them bounce on his shield to hit as many opponents as possible . Opponents who can also present one stun bar, to be reset in order to inflict substantial damage and thus bring home victory. This mechanism is also taken up by numerous Boss Fight, which also have the classic pattern change in the middle of the fight and which, consequently, force the player to adopt a new strategy to survive. Not that the game difficulty is particularly marked (on the contrary), but if you decide to face the adventure at the "difficult" level we are sure that you will find moments in which you will not only take down from the calendar our pantheon, but also all the lineage of Odin.



    As we said in the last paragraph, As you progress through the missions, new interesting elements are unlocked, mostly related to the RPG part of the title. Not only will characters be able to level up and unlock new moves, but at some point it will also be possible to collect a variety of Iso-8 crystals that can be equipped by the various heroes, which will give them individual bonuses, essential for the most demanding challenges. Furthermore, these crystals can be destroyed to obtain raw material with which to enhance others, composing a system of crafting apparently simple, but actually remarkably complex. To this must also be added the presence of team bonuses, which will be activated when we team up one or the other character with certain affinities between them. Spider-Man, for example, should be associated with Miles Morales or Venom, rather than Thor, which might work best alongside Iron Man and Captain America, forming the original Avengers. It is also interesting to note the presence of two types of cameras, which allow us to change between the classic overhead shot to one much closer to the selected hero (called, in fact, "Heroic") and more comfortable when playing solo.

    As obvious as necessary to highlight: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 can be played all in single player, but it gives its best in the company of one or more friends (up to a maximum of four players). Whether you are far away, but even more so when you are close, fighting each using their own superhero is really rewarding and manages to create extremely funny and compelling situations. This is especially the case when you decide to tackle the Prove Infinity, real challenges that, if overcome, will give you access to one myriad of collectibles, starting with new costumes and characters, up to sketches and materials to enhance your heroes. As you may have understood by now, there are so many things to do.

    In short: at first glance Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 may seem like a caciarone game and capable of entertaining only for those who love fights between superheroes, but a few hours of play are enough to understand how Team Ninja managed to put together a respectable product, great for fans, but rewarding for any type of player.

    OUT OF THE PAGES OF A COMIC

    From an aesthetic point of view, Team Ninja's latest effort hides all its technical limits behind a truly successful cartoon graphics, capable of enhancing the design of all the characters, without highlighting the characters too much bare environments that you will find yourself crossing. Even the polygonal models of the characters, albeit without making one cry out to a miracle, manage to amaze and to be pleasing to the eye, again thanks to the visual style that characterizes the entire production. For what concern audio compartment, we highlight thegreat job of dubbing in English (subtitled in Italian, don't worry) and the discreet musical apparatus, which convinces in every situation, but which failed to stay in our head once our console was turned off. The frame rate is on average solid which, thanks to some corrective patches in recent weeks, presents some slowdowns only in the most hectic situations and in portable mode. Furthermore, the aforementioned mode allows us to comfortably face the adventure around the world (or, more likely, in the bathroom), but we would advise against using it if you decide to play with more than two players, to avoid too much confusion on the screen and thus risk not fully enjoying the experience.

    In conclusion we can say that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch exclusives, which confirms itself as a console increasingly distant from the ignorant stereotype that binds Nintendo consoles exclusively to Mario and Zelda. Team Ninja he managed to create a game once in a while simple to learn, how much interesting to investigate e complex to master, bringing back to the shelves an IP that has remained dormant for too long. A fun storyline, compelling gameplay (especially in company) and a graphic sector very close to the comic book counterpart make the new feats of Avengers & Co. one of the most interesting titles of the summer, capable of proudly joining great works of the caliber by Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

    USEFUL INFO

    We played Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 for about thirty hours in both home and portable versions, much preferring the former, especially in our multiplayer sessions. We report that there is also a Season Pass which, starting from August 30th, will introduce four new characters (Blade, Moon Knight, Morbius and the Punisher) along with two others completely free (Cyclops and Colossus).

    Duration
    • The campaign can be completed in about fifteen hours.
    • If you decide to face the Infinity Trials as soon as they are encountered in the course of the main plot, the final longevity could undergo strong changes, almost doubling the overall duration of the title.
    Structure
    • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a Hack and Slash with RPG elements for character progression.
    • In addition to the main campaign, there are also a large number of Infinity Trials (or challenges that allow you to unlock costumes, characters and collectibles of various kinds).
    Collectibles and Extras
    • A multitude of artwork, costumes, characters and materials to empower your team can be unlocked through the Infinity Trials.
    Game Card
    • Game Name: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
    • Release date: July 19 2019
    • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
    • Dubbing language: Italian
    • Texts language: Italian
    Review by Luca Mazzocco
    Graphics

    Thanks to a solid artistic direction and a visual sector that draws heavily from the world of comics, Marvel Ultimate Alliance manages not to disfigure in the modern videogame landscape. Of course, some environments are bare and some polygonal models do not fully satisfy, but the stylistic choice set up by Team Ninja manages to mask most of the defects and give us a product that is as beautiful to look at as it is to play.

    80
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    From an auditory point of view, the game boasts an excellent cast of voice actors (Nolan North obviously returns to interpret Deadpool) and a perfect soundtrack for every situation, but unable to remain tangled in the hearts of the players.

    75
    GAMEPLAY

    We have already said it during the review phase and we reiterate it also in this box: Team Ninja has created a game that is simple only at first glance, but which presents more and more complex elements with each advancing hour of play. The extraordinary balance between the various characters and the vast amount of things to do and collect makes Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 a real gem, whether you play it alone, or you prefer to face the search for the Infinity Stones in company.

    85
    Total Rating scale
    80
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