Marvel Comics has become a household name in the decades since its foundation in 1939. It was almost universally known even before the unprecedented success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
That said, the MCU undeniably brought countless new fans into the fold – however it may be a daunting task to expand your horizons from 23 movies and 80 years worth of mass media. Luckily, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is here to help.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2019. An arcade-like action game accessible to more casual players, this is the third installment of the Ultimate Alliance series in name only.
Having no direct connection with the previous games, or in fact any other Marvel continuity, it is a great, self-contained introduction to a number of heroes the movies gloss over, and acts as a gateway to the wider and more obscure Marvel universe.
Though The Black Order is not part of the MCU continuity, it is heavily informed by it. If you are a fan brought into the fold by the movies and largely unfamiliar with the comics that predate them, you’ll find a lot of familiar characters, locations and story beats, while new faces and settings are introduced in a palatable form.
You can play this game with no prior knowledge and still know what is going on, while learning about new lore the movies skirt around.
Fan favorites like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man and Captain Marvel are frontline playable characters, but Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 also lets you play as lesser known characters like the Inhumans – who got their own, brief, MCU show that was panned by critics – or popular comic characters who haven’t appeared in the films like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Gwen. There are even a few dips into real obscurity, such as the inclusion of Elsa Bloodstone.
Additionally, the game serves as a great appetizer for some of the upcoming MCU content. Morbius, the not-vampire and Blade, the half-vampire are both getting films while Moon Knight will be treated to his own Disney+ show. All three of these characters show up in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, albeit as DLC.
All of this is by design – the break with previous titles in the series, the MCU-lite story and setting, and lessened focus on deep cuts into old lore all serve to turn The Black Order into a perfect jumping-off point for MCU fans who want to immerse themselves deeper in Marvel content.
The comic continuities, especially the parts concerning “cosmic Marvel” are tough to navigate when going in blind. If you want to test the waters before going into the deep end, this game is for you.