Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Marvelous Duo - Ultimate Alliance 3 - Finale(?)

After spending the first 15 minutes of the stream downloading an update that had been pushed just moments before we began, Acharky and I were finally able to commence the endgame in Ultimate Alliance 3. To pass a bit more time, we even take a moment post-game to discuss the Infinity Trials.

What awaits The Marvelous Duo after this? It's difficult to say, but don't think that our adventures have ended just because the game has.

The biggest problem with this game is that it's the latest entry in a franchise whose last game was released way back in 2009. And while there is a graphical upgrade, and a new roster to accompany this shift into a new generation of Marvel fans, it's on par mechanically with it's predecessors. In some ways, it's even regressed.

As Acharky and I have both harped on, it's a real shame that only the host of an online match can swap characters, since that ability is such a core feature to the series, and why making a team of superheroes is so much fun. Even in our previous runs of UA1 and UA2 on PS4, we never had this problem.

I'm also disappointed that they still make it so that only characters in the active party gain experience. With a cast as vast as the one in this game, it makes it impossible to swap out heroes without intentionally reducing the group's combat effectiveness. Since many enemies already take longer than they should to keel over and die, and some stages in the mid to late game can be challenging even for a level-appropriate team, you'd likely need to go back and replay large sections of the game to train up a new character.

I wish level locked to the player/account, rather than each individual character. Infinity trails and XP cubes help by giving players alternative ways to "raise" heroes they want to play, but never leveled up. However, that feels like a band-aid to cover up the real issue that such grinding should not be necessary.

That said, I do appreciate the existence of the Infinity Trails. It provides both a way to level up the team if the player gets stuck on a certain boss and also a place to keep playing after beating the game, to unlock new characters and costumes.

With the promise of new characters, costumes, and story content on the way, I look forward to seeing what becomes of Ultimate Alliance 3 in the next few months. Complaints aside, I really enjoyed playing through one of these games again.

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