ON MARCH 11, the Tohoku earthquake hit Japan. Not only did the quake cause massive destruction and loss of life, it also forced Capcom to issue an updated version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 only nine months after the game was originally released. Confused by how that works? We all are, but according to the company, the majority of the content included in the new $40 Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was originally intended to be released as downloadable content for the game's first iteration. The earthquake somehow disrupted Capcom's plans though, so here I am reviewing a game that isn't quite a sequel yet not exactly a rehash.

For most players, the tweaks Capcom has added to UMvC3 will be largely invisible. Competitive players will notice that each character has been rebalanced to inhabit a more unique role within the game's cast, but the majority of effective strategies from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will also work here. I don't think anyone is going to be shocked if I say that Sentinel is still a bastard, and that Dante is still a favorite among button-mashers, but that was to be expected.

The real meat of this upgrade is in the game's 12 new fighters: six from Marvel Comics, and six from Capcom's gaming empire. Some should have been in MvC3 (like Strider and Iron Fist), while some are pure fan service. Dead Rising's Frank West makes a weird kind of sense, but Rocket Raccoon? Even among comics geeks he's a cult character, not that I'm complaining. Capcom's version is as sarcastic and well armed as ever, and he plays like some weird British hybrid of Hsien-Ko and MvC2's Cable.

Nine months between fighting game upgrades is total bullshit, but I can't deny that Capcom added a lot of cool stuff to an already great game. At $40, and for pure entertainment value, this is the best fighter on the market.