Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a 2019 action role-playing 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 without Activision (due to license expired in 2014 and 2016). The story, set in a different universe from the two previous games, follows a team of superheroes coming together to retrieve the six Infinity Stones before Thanos and the eponymous Black Order can, facing opposition from several other villainous forces along the way.
|Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order|
|Series||Marvel Ultimate Alliance|
|Release||July 19, 2019|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, hack and slash|
Upon release, the game received mixed or average reviews from critics, who generally found the gameplay and storyline fun, but were disappointed that the game didn't improve much upon its predecessors. As of December 2019, Ultimate Alliance 3 has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
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. The Marvel Multiverse reality in which the game takes place has been designated as Earth-TRN765.
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, the story 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, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Uncanny Avengers, Original Sin, X-Men: The Magneto War,The Black Vortex, Paul Jenkins's Inhumans, Reginald Hudlin's Black Panther, The Infinity War, The Infinity Crusade, Avengers/Defenders War, Brian Michael Bendis's Avengers Assemble, New Avengers, Infinity, Doctor Strange: Damnation, X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, Fantastic Four: The World's Greatest Comics Magazine, and Secret Wars.
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 nonetheless teleports them to Asgard, where they face Hela and Surtur, as well as HYDRA, led by the Red Skull, defeating them 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 Ryder 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 safekeeping.
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 disappearances, 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 Insectoids, but are rescued by the Fantastic Four. The four join the heroes to 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 and Thane's clash, and the heroes prepare to join forces once more against this new threat.
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 cast and additional members from Marvel Knights and X-Men, including one hidden final character are featured as paid downloadable content via the post launch Expansion Pass. Additional characters were also added via free updates.
- Black Panther
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Doctor Doomab
- Doctor Strangea
- Elsa Bloodstone
- Ghost Rider
- Human Torchb
- Invisible Womanb
- Iron Fist
- Iron Man
- Luke Cage
- Miles Moralesa
- Mister Fantasticb
- Moon Knightb
- Ms. Marvela
- Rocket & Groot
- Scarlet Witch
- Thanos (Infinite)ab
- Corvus Glaive
- Cull Obsidian
- Dark Phoenixd
- Doctor Octopus
- Ebony Maw
- Green Goblin
- Proxima Midnight
- Red Skull
- Ronan the Accuser
- ^a Playable character who also appears as a boss. Thanos' case, has his separate Infinite counterpart as a boss in the main story, prior to becoming a DLC playable character.
- ^b Available as a paid DLC playable character.
- ^c Originally a non-playable character, available as a free DLC character.
- ^d DLC exclusive boss-only characters.
The game was 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 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.
|Nintendo World Report||7.5/10|
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2019)
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. Chris Carter of Destructoid said "There's plenty of room for improvement, but I had fun playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order." 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. 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. CNN's Jacob Krol called the game "An all-around enjoyable experience with few setbacks."
It was the sixth best-selling 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, behind Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Madden NFL 20. As of December 2019, the game has sold 1.02 million copies worldwide.
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