I played 'Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3'to see if Nintendo delivered the game diehard fans deserve — and it's even better than I expected


Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

  • “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order” brings the classic series of Marvel beat ’em up games to the Nintendo Switch after a 13-year hiatus.
  • Up to four players can join together to fight against Thanos and The Black Order with more than 30 playable Marvel superheroes.
  • While the original “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” games were mostly based on Marvel comics, the new game incorporates popular designs based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is a perfect game to take on the go and share with friends, and improves on the formula that made the series iconic. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Avengers have been dominating the box office for the last decade, but video games featuring the full cast of Marvel superheroes have been few and far between. Luckily, Nintendo has revived a classic series of beat ’em up games to help Marvel fans get their fix.

“Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order” was released for the Nintendo Switch on July 19th and features more than 30 playable Marvel superheroes, from the Avengers to the X-Men. Up to four players can team up locally on one Switch or with separate consoles online. If you’re playing alone you’ll be able to swap between a team of four Marvel heroes whenever you want.

When “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” was released back in 2006 the series relied heavily on Marvel comics for inspiration, but the latest game feels more like a product of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Designs for characters like the Guardians of the Galaxy are clearly based on their MCU counterparts and the story is strikingly similar to “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Nintendo’s decision to revive the “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” series comes at the peak of Marvel mania– “Avengers Endgame” became the highest grossing movie of all-time just a day after the game’s release. While “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” has obvious influences from the movie franchise, it retains a style and personality that stays true to the comics and the earlier games in the series. Most importantly, keeping the game as a Switch exclusive means that Marvel fans will need to pick up Nintendo’s increasingly popular to get their fix of Avengers action.

In contrast, Square Enix’s “Avengers” game has been harshly criticized for using knockoff versions of the original “Avengers” actors, and the game wont arrive until May of 2020. By then Marvel will be releasing a fresh slate of movies with a new lineup of actors. 

Read more: The huge new ‘Avengers’ game is getting roasted because its superheroes look like knockoffs from the movies — here’s how they compare

Whether you’re a Marvel fan or not, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” offers simple, cooperative fun that’s perfect to take on the go with the Switch. Dedicated players will enjoy powering up their favorite heroes and customizing their abilities and outfits to make the perfect team of superheroes.

Here’s what it’s like playing “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order,” one of the year’s best Nintendo Switch exclusives:

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At the start of “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” you’ll take control of the Guardians of the Galaxy as they encounter an abandoned warship.

You’ll always have a team of four heroes as you explore different parts of the Marvel universe. If you’re playing alone you can swap between them.

A quick trip to the pause menu will let you add friends to the game right away with no problem. Up to four people can team up online as well.

Along with more than 30 playable heroes, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” features dozens of villains, like Nebula and the Kree army.

Things take a turn for the worse when the Guardians encounter one of the Infinity Stones, a set of cosmic artifacts that can re-shape the world.

Just like in the movies, the evil titan Thanos wants to gather the six Infinity Stones and wipe out half of all life in the galaxy.

The Marvel heroes need to stop Thanos and his generals, who call themselves The Black Order.

After learning the ropes, you’ll unlock a roster of about a dozen heroes, and more will join the alliance as the story continues.

Every new hero gets a brief introduction, so don’t worry if you don’t recognize them all right away.

You’ll even end up adding some villains and anti-heroes to your alliance as you progress through the story.

Depending on which four heroes you play with, you can get special bonuses for picking heroes who are related. For example, playing with a team full of Avengers will give you extra energy, and playing with a team of heroes with super strength will boost their strength even further.

Your heroes will level up as they gain fighting experience, unlocking new abilities in the process.

Each hero has their own unique stats and traits. Traits can range from special abilities like flying to passive skills like fire resistance. You can equip items to boost specific stats too.

Every hero has four unlockable abilities as well, and they’ll increase in strength if you continue to play the same hero.

Each chapter of “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” will bring you to an iconic location in the Marvel universe, each of which has a distinct style.

While the camera usually hovers above the action, some moments add a bit of cinematic flair to keep things interesting.

“Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” isn’t the prettiest game around, but it still looks good when the action is flowing.

Generally, the graphics are decent, but there’s a pretty clear difference when you’re playing the game in portable mode.

The game can also suffer from a bit of slowdown when the action gets too intense on screen.

While the game has a few flaws, the mix of memorable characters, bombastic boss fights and steady beat ’em up action makes the game a fun experience from start to finish.

“Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is an action game more than a decade in the making, and it’s a perfect exclusive for the Nintendo Switch.