A wealth of ridiculous full-screen explosions, jumps that far exceed expected altitude, wild explosions, amazing colours, even wilder explosions, chaos, hyper-combos and a fighting system that's about as well balanced as a tightrope dancing elephant. Did I mention the explosions?
After Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, the developer set about to build a slightly toned down update with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom3: and its this latest build that's the version debuting on Sony's PS Vita.
We say "toned down". Only as much as you'd expect when you can team together Arthur from Ghost 'n Goblins, Frank West from Dead Rising and Wesker from Resident Evil to punch (or shoot) Hulk, Spiderman and Captain America.
As such it's understandable that balancing is more happy accident than microscopically refined perfection.
The roster weighs in at nearly fifty characters (and if you've already invested in the PS3 DLC packages you can transfer them to the handheld version - delicious), and many have costumes that pay heavy nod to their wearer's history. So we get Spider-Man both the classical and the black costume, and a smattering of more recent getups. Hulk is available both as Hulk in two shades of green, the Grey Hulk and Red Hulk. The same applies to virtually all other figures on the list.
The banter between characters is great, and shows Capcom has worked on adding a touch of personality into the ego-clashes. Listen to how Hulk mocks "mustache man" (Haggar from Final Fight), or Redfield noting pre-match that he refuses to lose a colleague.
Add that each character has their own theme music, you'll see how robust the game is for content. Needless to say the individual designs must have been a headache, but are worth the work: when Arthur is moving, it's with same animation as from Ghost 'n Goblins game, while a guitar version of the classic graveyard scene wails out.
The Capcom side is a veritable kaleidoscope of mad whim. Take Phoenix Wright's iconic "Objection" that knocks out attackers, or how he tosses items from his franchise repertoire at the other side. Even the classic Street Fighters are not exempt, drowning in air-juggles, air-cancels, X-Factors, combo-tagging, hyper combos.
Yet the whole experience is more efficient than the previous versions of Marvel vs. Capcom. Some characters have suffered a blow with the NERF-bat and can no longer repeat exaggerated blows so swiftly.
For example, X-Factor (your "super form") is more balanced and less exaggerated (and lasts longer on slower characters). "Balanced" might be too strong a word, but its emphasis is toned down, and its less of a random element to winning or losing matches.
Since all this chaos is occurring on handheld, you might fear the framerate issues, sharply scaled shapes or else in the major: but none are evident.
Graphically, it's hard to tell the difference on this handheld version and the larger console releases. It is simply impressive. The frame rate is rock solid and seems like 60FPS, while the Vita screen really comes into its own when the beautiful and colorful characters.
The most important thing about a fighting game is in the control. Vita's smaller buttons do take some getting used to, but once adapted, UMVsC3 works fine, and you'll be firing out combos easily.
You can use the touch screen to jump a character in for an assist move, or switch. I found it pleasant to be able to juggle between my characters at the touch of the screen, but both the digital pad and analog sticks are so good on the PS Vita, that I quickly become attached to them.
Heading online is quite simple. Up to eight players can go in the same lobby, and you can have your team assembled ready in the wings from the beginning and assemble them with a single button press. You can choose a direct play against play fight, and even whether you will allow matches from a different territory than yours. Of course there are also smaller settings to tweak, such as whether you allow touch-control on rumbles.
It is debatable whether this is a game that works best with a human opponent, but I amused myself admirably against many different opponents even in single player. Speaking of SP, there's plenty of time to be found if you want to collect all the costumes, comics and artwork.
If the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the quality level for future fighting games on the PS Vita, then the machine is proving to be a heavy-weight contender for the fighting genre on the move.