When we reviewed Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 we singled out the lack of single player content as a problem. The free Heralds and Heroes DLC does a great job remedying that issue though, with a meaty new game mode that adds some great incentives to keep playing. It also takes the fanservice to a whole new level.
The basic idea behind H&H is that you pick a side, either pro or anti-Galactus, then power your team up with 3 character cards. Each character card gives your team a specific advantage or special ability, and finding a combination that works well with your team is a fun learning process. It’s fun because of the absolutely ridiculous things the cards let you do. Capcom really has gone all out with this mode, throwing any semblance of balance out the window with some truly broken abilities and card combinations. And that’s a compliment.
In a genre that’s endlessly obsessed with balance, tier lists and the like, it’s refreshing to see something that’s much more interested in player creativity and just having fun with the game. The cards allow players to use X-Factor multiple times in a round, add hyper armor to already powerful moves, be immune to projectiles, turn invisible, and even more ridiculous things. Even in the hands of amateur players these cards will add plenty of insane options, but in the hands of pros, well we’re already looking forward to the Desk combo exhibition videos.
While it’s mostly an aesthetic touch, the cards themselves are a massive dose of fan-service that will please even the saltiest fanboy. Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, Gene from God Hand, and yes Mega Man (X) are all here. The full list of character cards and effects is too long to post there, but check them out over on Capcom's official site. You start off with a small number of cards and unlock more as you play, though it’ll be a long time before you’ve tracked all of them down.
H&H is broken up into two distinct parts, online and offline. Offline pits you against CPU players in different stages, looking to take control of the level for your team via a series of matches. Completely take over a stage or beat a specific group of characters on your "Hit List" and you’ll unlock a rare card. The online mode is more interesting; once a week you pick either Heroes or Heralds and fight matches online against opposing players. At the end of the week, the overall wins for each faction are calculated and if you’re on the winning team you’ll get a rare card. It’s a great way to reward players for playing online even if you’re likely to occasionally get steamrolled by someone with a super cheap card combo.
Heroes & Heralds is the kind of fun, creative game mode that Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom needed to really differentiate itself from the original MVC3, and it does a nice job giving both single and multiplayer fans something to play around with. The cards really are the highlight here though, and we’re glad to see Capcom letting their hair down with a ridiculously unbalanced mode that lets the player break the game and have fun with it. If you’ve already grabbed your copy of UMVC3, Heralds and Heroes is free DLC that will be available December 19th, if you haven’t grabbed it yet it’s a fun mode that, combined with the new characters totally justifies its $39.99 price.