Some of you might know that at the beginning of 2019, I made it my mission to catch up on every single Marvel movie. I had seen Dr. Strange, and that was it. I felt like I missed out on something big, and I wanted to get in on the fun before Avengers: Endgame came out. That decision to watch those films would take me down a path of comic book collecting in general, and a newfound appreciation of the entire comic book industry. I now consider comic books to be one of my main hobbies, and I couldn't be happier.
This interest in all things comics also bumped up my excitement from Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order in a big way. I had played the previous Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, but as someone who had next to no knowledge of the Marvel universe. I definitely had my fun, but I felt I was missing out on a huge portion of the experience due to my lack of connection with the characters and universe. Now with the third title, I'm fully immersed in comic books, and I have much deeper understanding of what's going on.
If you've never played any of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, there's an easy way to sum up the experience. These games are basically a Marvel take on the Diablo franchise, or to a lesser extent, Gauntlet. You tackle wave after wave of enemies, put in a considerable amount of time chipping away at bosses, and level up your characters to gain new moves and abilities. The further you get, the more mechanics are unlocked, giving you all sorts of ways to dispose the foes ahead. It's a pretty simple gameplay loop, but definitely an effective one.
Chances are, if you like the Gauntlet or Diablo games, you'll find a ton to enjoy here. The darker visuals and more serious tones of those games have been swapped for a vibrant cast of characters with personalities that range from stoic and sullen to wise-cracking and off-the-wall. The roster in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is definitely a major selling point of the game. While not every Marvel character is included, all the big-names are here, and there should be more than enough to pick from for you to find someone you like.
Early impressions of the game had me feeling things were a lot of fun, but a tad too hectic at times. I knew that would be the case going in, as previous installments were busting at the seams with action as well. Even with the variety of visually-different characters to choose from and the icons under your characters, it can be hard to find them in the action. A set-piece full of enemies, a frantic boss, and all sorts of explosions and lightning bolts flying across the screen at the same time makes it very easy to get lost in the commotion.
Thankfully those moments come and go, and the more you play, the better you should be able to keep an eye on where you're at. The actual battling itself may be crazy, but it's a ton of fun as well. With so many different characters available, you'll have a ton of different moves and abilities to sift through. There are certainly some characters who are similar, such as Spider-Man and Miles Moralis' Spider-Man, but they still have some notable differences between them. Going through the roster to find who you like is half the fun!
Just as in Diablo, there are plenty of ways to grow your characters as well. The more levels you gain, the better your arsenal of attacks becomes. You have to reach certain levels to unlock abilities, and those will make you an even bigger threat on the battlefield. You start out with a somewhat limited range of light/strong attacks and a special, but you can level that up as you play, and then open up brand-new moves as well. The game does a good job of spacing out those abilities, making you put in a decent amount of work to get to them. This makes actually earning/using them all the more rewarding.
There's a ton to see and do in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. I can't even imagine the hours it would take to see everything there is, unlock all character abilities, and level up everyone on the roster. To hear more about my experience with the game and get a much more in-depth rundown of what it has to offer, make sure to come back tomorrow for my full review!