Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a video game developed by Koei Tecmo's Team Ninja and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It is the third installment in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series following 2006's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and 2009's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, and the first Marvel game published by Nintendo. It is set in an entirely different universe than the two previous games. Upon release, the game received mixed reviews from critics.
|Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order|
Icon of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order[a]
|Release||July 19, 2019|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, hack and slash|
Like the previous two entries, gameplay is reminiscent of a top-down dungeon crawler with an emphasis on cooperative play. Up to four players can play the game cooperatively locally either on the same screen with a single docked Nintendo Switch system or undocked with up to four systems, or online with friends or random player lobbies. Players choose four characters from various Marvel families to traverse linear stages, fight enemies, and defeat bosses. Certain passive buffs are acquired with particular character combinations. Each character's controls are fundamentally identical; each has a jump, light attack, heavy attack, dodge, block, and four special abilities. Special abilities can be synced with the other three members for a synergy boost, with an especially powerful attack unleashed if all four party members sync up simultaneously. Additional characters are unlocked by story progression or optional Infinity Rift challenges, with more characters currently planned as free or paid downloadable content.
Character progression is handled in a similar manner to traditional role-playing games, with party members leveling up by defeating enemies and bosses. In addition to stat increases, passive buffs can be attached to characters by equipping ISO-8 crystals. A sprawling skill tree is also present, which allows characters to gain permanent stat increases by acquiring and spending in-game currency.
The plot of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is an original story written specifically for the game and disregards the stories and continuity of the first two games in the series. While it takes inspiration with recently-released Marvel projects such as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, both of which were inspired by the 1991 storyline The Infinity Gauntlet, it has been written to reflect its wider cast of characters and stand apart from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the comics, and other popularized versions. Additionally the game takes inspiration from various Marvel Comics storylines such as the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy series, Spider-Verse, the 2017 Defenders series, Shadowland, Ultron Unlimited, Uncanny X-Force, Doctor Strange: Damnation, Paul Jenkins' Inhumans, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther, the aforementioned The Infinity Gauntlet, Brian Michael Bendis' Avengers Assemble, Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers, Infinity and The Black Order.
The Mad Titan Thanos and the Black Order (consisting of Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, and Supergiant) attempt to collect the six Infinity Stones in order to achieve galactic conquest. Originally guarded by Nebula and Ronan the Accuser, the Guardians of the Galaxy stumble upon their attempt to hide them from the group and end up accidentally alerting them to their presence. In desperation, Star-Lord uses the Space Stone to scatter the other stones on Earth, and to get him and his team to safety. As S.H.I.E.L.D. detects their presence, Nick Fury Jr. unites the Guardians and Earth's heroes to find them. Together they are able to retrieve the Time Stone from the Sinister Six led by Green Goblin at the Raft, the Mind Stone from Ultron when he assaults Avengers Tower, the Power Stone from Brotherhood of Mutants during a Sentinel attack on the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters, the Reality Stone from Dormammu in the Dark Dimension, and the Soul Stone from A.I.M. in an attack on Wakanda. Along the way, they help the Defenders retrieve an ISO-8 crystal from the Kingpin at Shadowland, stop an attempted coup d'état by Maximus the Mad at the Inhuman city of Attilan, and form uneasy alliances with Venom, Magneto, Loki, and Thanos’ illegitimate son Thane.
Although Thane gives himself and the Infinity Stones over to the Black Order to ensure the heroes' safety, Proxima Midnight retaliates against the heroes and pits them against Asgardian menaces Hela and Surtur, as well as HYDRA, led by the Red Skull, but they triumph with the aid of the Valkyrie, Odin, and Loki. Odin transports the heroes to Knowhere, where the Black Order and Nova Corps are waging war. The heroes and the Black Order prepare to clash, but are stopped by Thane using the Time Stone. While Thane is distracted trying to choose a side, Thanos attacks him from behind and places the Stones in his Infinity Gauntlet, transporting everyone to his throne for a final battle. However, Thane, now completely corrupted by the power of the stones, takes the Gauntlet from him and uses the Stones' power to don the Infinity Armor, planning to kill his father to prove his superiority and the heroes if they stand in his way.
The group is transported into the Heart of Infinity, where the stones were forged at the center of the universe, where the heroes aid Thanos in stopping the out-of-control Thane. Thanos reveals that the power of the Infinity Armor is too great for any mortal being and pulls the gauntlet from Thane's hand, causing the two to disappear and leaving the heroes and the Stones behind. Ebony Maw attempts to take the stones for himself, but is arrested by Richard Rider and the Nova Corps as Richard plans to have him and the Black Order remanded to the Kyln. The heroes affirm they will be ready should Thanos ever return and agree to separate the stones, hiding them in distant corners of the universe for safe keeping.
In a post-credits scene, a pair of eyes are seen inside the Stones.
The game's roster of playable characters combines many elements spanning all parts of Marvel media including the comics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, animation and more in terms of visual design, roster choice, and voice cast members instead of relying on one source compared to some of the previous games such as Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 and Lego Marvel's Avengers. Specific members of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, the Inhumans, the Defenders, Marvel Knights, the Spider-Verse and the Midnight Sons makeup the majority of the playable cast members. Fantastic Four and additional members from Marvel Knights and X-Men will be featured as paid downloadable content via the post launch Expansion Pass. Additional characters will also be added via free updates.
- Black Panther
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Doctor Strangea
- Elsa Bloodstone
- Ghost Rider
- Iron Fist
- Iron Man
- Luke Cage
- Miles Moralesa
- Moon Knightb
- Ms. Marvela
- Rocket & Groot
- Scarlet Witch
The game was first revealed at The Game Awards 2018. The game was released on July 19, 2019. An Expansion Pass for the game was announced at E3 2019 which revealed plans for additional content, including story missions, modes, and characters from Marvel Knights, X-Men and Fantastic Four starting in fall of 2019. At San Diego Comic Con 2019, Marvel revealed the four characters coming in the Marvel Knights DLC pack and announced that additional characters would be added to the game via a free update, with the first two, Colossus and Cyclops from the X-Men, scheduled for release on August 30, 2019.
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Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order received an average score of 73/100 from review aggregator Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reception.
It was the sixth bestselling game during its first week on sale in Japan, with 9,424 copies being sold. In August 2019, the NPD group shared the best-selling games on US in the period of July 2019 and the game was 4th in the ranking, only behind Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Madden NFL 20.
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