Gamescom 2011: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Updated Hands-On Preview

We go hands-on with Nemesis and Doctor Strange, Seth Killian breaks down their quirks, and Ryota Niitsuma discusses the development of UMvC3.

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In between running to appointments and bumping elbows with roughly 250,000 attendees per day here at Gamescom 2011, we somehow managed to squeeze in some hands-on time with the latest additions to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. We're talking about Nemesis, Jill Valentine's supernatural stalker from Resident Evil 3, and Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts from the Marvel universe.

While we weren't able to uncover all of their secrets, between our notes and Capcom special advisor Seth Killian's Doctor Strange and Nemesis breakdowns, you should have a better understanding of how this duo handles.

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We'll start with Nemesis. This character was a sluggish brute whose limited mobility options were counterbalanced by some truly devastating damage-dealing potential. His move set may not be as flashy as the game's other new contender, but its simplicity let us easily piece together a few basic combos after only a few rounds of play. And unlike some of the game's other heavy hitters, Nemesis packed a few ranged attacks to help make him deadly at any distance.

The fireball input with light attack had Nemesis take a step forward and clothesline the opponent. The medium-attack version bounced the foe off the wall, followed by Nemesis shooting the foe with a horizontal rocket shot. The heavy-attack version also produced a wall bounce, followed by a rocket shot at a 45-degree angle. Using a special attack with this input had the beast fire a horizontal rocket without the clothesline setup.

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While that initial step forward on the start up of these moves helped Nemesis get across the screen a little quicker, if it and the opponent were too close to the edge, the rockets would sail under the enemy after the wall bounce. We needed ample room to give our foe time to fall into the rocket's path. Naturally, against larger targets--such as Hulk--the rocket landed more often, while Arthur and Wolverine constantly missed the explosive.

Nemesis' dragon punch command produced one of three slams. The light-attack version was an uppercut that knocked the opponent a short distance into the air; medium attack bounced the opponent off the ground; and heavy attack bounced the opponent off the wall. All three were great ways to set up an easy combo, provided the target was in close range. The hulking zombie also had a command grab performed with the half-circle input. Light attack grabbed forward, medium attack grabbed at a 45-degree angle, and heavy attack grabbed vertically in the air. This move felt very similar to Hulk's command grab but with a bit more reach.

We also noticed a few command normals for Nemesis. Forward and heavy attack fired a tentacle from his palm that reached almost the entire length of the screen, while down and heavy attack made him quickly lurch forward about half a screen. His three assist types were clothesline rocket (same as fireball with heavy attack), launcher slam (the ground bounce version), and rocket launcher (same as fireball with special attack).

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Finally, Nemesis had two normal hyper combos and a level three. The first fired three rockets at a downward angle that could scoop enemies up off the ground before having Nemesis slam down on top of them. Second was a series of punches that included super armor against normal attacks on start up. However, we did see Nemesis get knocked out of this move by a few low normals from an opponent who had avoided the first two punches. His level three was a grapple move, so we had to get in close.

While Nemesis was pretty straightforward, Doctor Strange was just the opposite. He had some of the technical complexity of characters such as MODOK and Dormammu, but it didn't feel as restricted in a close-quarters fight. His normals struck fast and were easy to link together on the ground and in the air, while his specials required a bit more finesse to be used effectively. Strange was a very fun character to play as once we got to know him a little better, and he could hold his own in most situations.

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Doctor Strange's fireball command plus light attack fired off an energy ring that would strike the opponent after hanging in midair for a moment. The medium-attack version fired three rings, which struck after a longer pause. Both versions of the rings would also track opponents if they jumped or ran under them. The heavy version of this command was completely different.

This attack produced a large ball of light that would repeatedly damage enemies who touched it, until it dissipated. Normally, the light ball just hung immobile in the air; however, we discovered that if you strike it with the command normal forward and heavy attack, it will project that ball forward. And once the ball is in motion, it will start tracking its opponent--like a miniaturized version of Dormammu's stalking flare.

Doctor Strange also had specials using the reverse fireball motion. Light attack dropped a yellow sphere in midair, while medium attack dropped a red sphere. We could place up to three spheres, and after that, they didn't do a whole lot. However, the heavy-attack version once again blew our minds by firing off a green fireball. OK, maybe it wasn't that impressive, but when we put the two specials together, we got something that was special. Launching the fireball after the spheres were deployed caused it to seek out and ricochet through however many we had before moving directly toward the enemy.

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Different combinations of spheres produced different results. The most dramatic was three yellow spheres, which transformed the fireball into a beam projectile that crumpled our opponent. Other combinations made the fireball travel faster or slower, while another caused it to explode on impact. Another interesting feature had the fireball follow the most direct path through the spheres, even if that wasn't the order in which you laid them out. It would even go behind our character when fired if that was where the closet sphere was located.

We also tried shooting the fireball and then laying out a sphere to call it back, but that didn't work.

The reverse dragon punch command was Doctor Strange's teleport, which followed the standard front, behind, and aerial front series from the game's other teleport characters. He also had a command counter teleport performed using back and heavy attacks that would teleport him behind the opponent. The counter's window was about as long as Wesker's special counter, and it triggered on low and high normals, as well as projectiles.

Special plus any other attack made Strange fire two horizontal beams of green energy, with a brief pause in between. This move, called Bolts of Balthakk, was also his third assist move, the first two being Light Magic L (the single energy ring) and Light Magic H (the large energy ball). Similar to Nemesis, the doctor's first hyper combo was great for catching downed opponents. It fired a large beam of energy upward out of the ground at the enemy's location.

His second hyper combo wasn't as clear cut. It caused Strange to cover himself in a blue bubble, and then nothing happened. After some experimentation, we learned that it is a counter hyper combo that is triggered on projectile attacks. This included beams, fireballs, and projectile hyper combos--but nothing involving a punch, kick, or melee weapon. When the bubble was hit by a projectile, it negated the projectile and fired out a wide, straight beam of energy.

Sadly, we didn't get the chance to try his level three hyper combo.

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While Nemesis had some interesting aspects, Doctor Strange was the star of the show during our time with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. We can't wait to see how the team at Capcom will adapt the rest of the upcoming roster. And we'll be sure to keep you updated with all the latest Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 news out of the upcoming Tokyo Game Show and the New York Comic-Con, so stay tuned!

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