Ding-Ding, Round Two
The real battle Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was always going to face was proving that this updated epileptic brawler is worthy of a double-dip. It seems that there was little need to worry -- this iterative release proves to be both the most comprehensive and utterly essential in the series to date. While the main draw is the fresh flock of playable characters -- stripped from Marvel's most eminent comic pages and the esoteric wonderments of Capcom's Japanese-centric back catalogue -- there's more to be found here than a mere skinjob over existing characters.
Capcom's eye for bewildering combos remains unflinching, characters blessed with head-spinning attacks that, at cursory glance at least, will appear to be all but tameable. Yet, mastering Phoenix Wright's intricate moveset -- wherein you collect evidence from around the arena before landing an "Objection!" with all the power of a mighty blow of Thor's hammer -- is among the most compulsive gameplay found in any fighter, contributing to the existing rich, ocean-dip gameplay. If there's a negative to the new additions to the roster it's that existing fighters get lost among the potent power of the new adversaries, the likes of Doctor Strange, Firebrand and Nemesis possessing an advantage over series veterans like Ryu, with the ability to fly, teleport and consume the whole screen with their might.
The rest of the experience has been refined and rebalanced, while online has been made more seamless (and being able to spectate on matches is long overdue). Single-player content is slim but an upcoming Heroes & Heralds free DLC is adding a swathe of features to the package to alleviate those issues. Whether or not its worthy of a second purchase will rely completely on how devoted you are to the franchise but Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is undeniably the definitive experience.