Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a 2019 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 a different universe than the two previous games.[1] Upon release, the game received mixed or average reviews from critics. As of December 2019, the game has sold over a million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games on the system.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Marvelultimate3.jpg
Cover art of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order[a]
Developer(s)Team Ninja
Publisher(s)Nintendo
Director(s)Hiroya Usuda
Ariko Kimoto
Yohei Shimbori
Producer(s)Yosuke Hayashi
Peter Rosas
Writer(s)Marc Sumerak
Makoto Shibata
Kohei Ota
Platform(s)Nintendo Switch
ReleaseJuly 19, 2019
Genre(s)Action role-playing, hack and slash
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

GameplayEdit

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.

SynopsisEdit

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, Avengers: Ultron Unlimited, X-Men: Schism, Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, Uncanny Avengers, X-Men: The Magneto War, Uncanny X-Force, Doctor Strange: Damnation, The Black Vortex, Paul Jenkins's Inhumans, Reginald Hudlin's Black Panther, The Infinity War, The Infinity Crusade, Steve Englehart's Avengers/Defenders War, Brian Michael Bendis's Avengers Assemble, New Avengers, Infinity, X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, the 1984 and the 2015's Secret Wars.[2]

PlotEdit

The Mad Titan Thanos and his Black Order - 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 the Order 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 during a breakout at the Raft, the Mind Stone from Ultron when he assaults the Avengers Tower, the Power Stone from the Hellfire Club and then again from the Brotherhood of Mutants, who briefly steal it 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. during an attack on Wakanda. Along the way, they help the Defenders retrieve an ISO-8 crystal from the Kingpin and face the Hand at Shadowland, stop an attempted coup d'état by Maximus the Mad at the Inhuman city of Attilan, and form uneasy alliances with Venom, the Brotherhood, Loki, and Thanos’ illegitimate son Thane.

When the Black Order find them in Wakanda, Thane gives himself and the Infinity Stones over to them to ensure the heroes' safety, but Proxima Midnight nontheless teleports them to Asgard, where they face Hela and Surtur, as well as HYDRA, led by the Red Skull, ultimately triumphing with the aid of the Valkyrie, Odin, and Loki. Odin then transports the heroes to Knowhere where the Black Order and the Nova Corps are waging war. The heroes battle the Black Order and manage to retrieve most of the Stones, but as they prepare to clash one final time, they 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 Infinity 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 Infinity 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 Infinity Stones were forged at the center of the universe, and 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, even Thanos himself, and pulls the gauntlet from Thane's hand, causing both to disappear and leaving the heroes and the Infinity Stones behind. Ebony Maw then attempts to take the Infinity Stones for himself, but is arrested by Richard Rider and the Nova Corps, as Richard plans to have him and the rest of the Black Order imprisoned at the Kyln. The heroes affirm they will be ready should Thanos ever return and agree to separate the Infinity Stones, hiding them in distant corners of the universe for safe keeping.

In a post-credits scene, a pair of eyes are seen above the Heart of Infinity.

Black Order Expansion PassEdit

Some time after Thanos and Thane's defeat, Doctor Doom attacks Wakanda, seeking the Soul Stone in Black Panther's possession. The heroes reunite to stop him, but Doom transports them to the Negative Zone so he can continue with his plans unhindered. The heroes are overwhelmed by the Negative Zone's native creatures Insectoids, but are rescued by the Fantastic Four. Together with the Fantastic Four, the heroes find Annihilus, the ruler of the Negative Zone, and defeat him, obtaining his Cosmic Control Rod and using it to open an inter-dimensional bridge gate to escape.

The heroes emerge from the gate in Latveria, discovering that many of its people have been absorbed into the Soul Stone. They make their way to Castle Doom, where Doom reveals that he is using his people's souls to resurrect a Celestial. The heroes defeat the Celestial, but Doom uses the cosmic power from the Soul Stone to transform himself into God Emperor Doom. The heroes ultimately triumph over Doom, freeing the souls of the Latverian citizens and reviving them. Afterwards, Mister Fantastic reveals that Doom's plans were meant to protect the universe from unknown entities awakened by Thanos' clash with Thane, and offers him to join the heroes against this new threat.

CharactersEdit

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 Super Heroes 2 and Lego Marvel's Avengers. Specific members of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, the Inhumans, the Defenders, Heroes for Hire, Marvel Knights, the Spider-Verse, and the Midnight Sons makeup the majority of the playable cast members. The Fantastic Four and additional members from Marvel Knights and X-Men are featured as paid downloadable content via the post launch Expansion Pass.[3] Additional characters were also added via free updates.

Playable CharactersEdit

^a Requires expansion pass

DevelopmentEdit

The game was revealed at The Game Awards 2018.[4] The game was released on July 19, 2019.[5] 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 announced that additional characters Colossus and Cyclops from the X-Men would be added to the game via a free update, released on August 30, 2019, and revealed the four characters coming in the Marvel Knights DLC pack, "Curse of the Vampire"", which was released on September 30, 2019. The contents of the X-Men DLC pack, "Rise of the Phoenix", were detailed at The Game Awards 2019 and announced to be releasing on December 23, 2019. The Fantastic Four DLC pack, "Shadow of Doom", which includes a new story set after the main campaign, was released on March 26, 2020.[6][7][8]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic73/100[9]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid7/10[10]
Game Informer7/10[11]
GameSpot8/10[13]
GamesRadar+     [12]
IGN7.8/10[14]
Nintendo Life          [15]
Nintendo World Report7.5/10[16]
USgamer     [17]

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order received an average score of 73/100 from review aggregator Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reception. Tom Marks from IGN called the game "a treat to play alone and with friends alike" in their review.[18] Chris Carter of Destructoid said "There's plenty of room for improvement, but I had fun playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order."[19] Game Informer Executive Editor Andrew Reiner noted that the game had enjoyable moments, but also moments where "it all falls apart", awarding the game a 7/10 rating.[20] Nintendo Life writer Dom Reseigh-Lincoln mentioned that the game was fun, however also stating that "it doesn’t do anything particularly new or outstanding", giving it a "Great" score of 8/10.[21] CNN's Jacob Krol called the game "An all-around enjoyable experience with few setbacks."[22]

It was the sixth best-selling game during its first week on sale in Japan, with 9,424 copies being sold.[23] 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, behind Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Madden NFL 20.[24] As of December 2019, the game has sold 1.02 million copies worldwide.[25]

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://heavy.com/games/2019/05/marvel-ultimate-alliance-3-the-black-order/
  2. ^ Miller, Mark (May 20, 2019). "Your Marvel Comics Reading List Ahead of Ultimate Alliance 3". Game Informer. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Dornbush, Jonathon (2019-06-11). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Season Pass DLC Announced - E3 2019". IGN. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  4. ^ Little, Riley (6 December 2018). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Revealed as Nintendo Switch Exclusive". ScreenRant. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  5. ^ Dinh, Christine (April 16, 2019). "Super Heroes Assemble When MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order Launches on July 19". Marvel. Archived from the original on April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  6. ^ MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order – Rise of the Phoenix DLC Trailer – Nintendo Switch, retrieved 2019-12-13
  7. ^ https://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/1230160114423869440
  8. ^ Lada, Jenni (March 25, 2020). "Fantastic Four Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 DLC Includes a Post-game Story and God Emperor Doom". Siliconera. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order for Nintendo Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Carter, Chris (July 18, 2019). "Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order". Destructoid. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Reiner, Andrew (July 18, 2019). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order". Game Informer. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  12. ^ Oloman, Jordan (July 19, 2019). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 review: "A charming co-op juggernaut"". GamesRadar+. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  13. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/marvel-ultimate-alliance-3-the-black-order-review-/1900-6417240/
  14. ^ Marks, Tom (July 19, 2019). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Review". IGN. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  15. ^ Reseigh-Lincoln, Dom (July 19, 2019). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  16. ^ Koopman, Daan (July 18, 2019). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch) Review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Williams, Mike (July 18, 2019). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Review". USgamer. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Review - IGN, retrieved 2019-11-20
  19. ^ "Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order". Destructoid. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  20. ^ Reiner, Andrew. "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Review – Power At A Cost". Game Informer. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  21. ^ Life, Nintendo (2019-07-18). "Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order - Arcade Brawling Is Back, Baby". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  22. ^ Krol, Jacob (2019-07-22). "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 isn't just for superhero fans". CNN Underscored. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  23. ^ Romano, Sal (July 24, 2019). "Famitsu Sales: 7/15/19 – 7/21/19 [Update]". Gematsu. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  24. ^ Grubb, Jeff (August 15, 2019). "July 2019 NPD: Nintendo assembles 6 games in the top 10". Venturebeat. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  25. ^ "Earnings Release for the Nine-Month Period Ended December 2019" (PDF). Nintendo. January 30, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2020.

External linksEdit