The first moment I opened up this book, I know it will be more than just a guide. It is informative, teach you more than what you should know, and encourage you to do better than what they can offer. They writers of this guide did a great job in creating a very detailed and thorough guide for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
First, the introductions. I know most of us will skip the intro and go straight to the characters that we want to learn more. But believe me, take your time to read the introductions. They talked about the cultures in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, like how people started to play as Sentinel, how Phoenix gains popularity in the gaming community, brief but useful insight about some famous fighters and more. You'll learn some thing about the gaming culture, especially in fighting games community. It's too interesting for you to skip it.
Then come the system and gameplay. It talks about the modes that you can play (arcade, training, mission, ranked match etc). It also explains in depth about the system in the game like guarding, X-Factor, advanced guard, team aerial combo, team hyper combo, frames, crossover counter and more. If you are new, you should definitely read these first, as it will improve your knowledge about the gameplay a lot. Even if you are already good in MvC3, I suggest you read it too, because there might be some information that you never knew before. There's never a downside on knowing more.
The part that most people are looking for will probably be the individual character guides. The characters are divided into the new, old, and DLC, and in each grouping they are arranged in alphabetical order, with Marvel characters first then Capcom's side. I don't know why I explain this, as you can always check the index -_- but never mind!
Looking at the characters' guide, they are very detailed and arranged. There will be a brief introduction about a character's style (like Zero is meant to maintain a constant pressure, and Hawkeye is a keep-away character etc), giving you the basic ideas on how you can expect to use a character. Also, they explained the changes made for old characters, and how it affect their style. Then come the basic attacks and command attacks (what does the light, medium, heavy and special button do for each character). The movesets for each characters are also given, which they describe it in details like how or when to use it, whether the move is depending on a certain situation or will it be a great tool for a character, the use in long combos, or even if the move is useless (life Dante's Revolver, which they said is overshadowed by his other more useful moves). This time, compared to previous MvC3 guides, they also gave details on each character's assist moves, and discuss the usefulness of the assists.
The battle plan for individual characters are the most useful if you want to get better with a character. In short, it discusses on how to use a character effectively, what are their weakness and advantages, and maybe the right kind of assist to use with. Advanced tactics explains further on more specific way to use a character in a situation, utilizing their advantages (like Zero's best move to use in the corner to pressure the enemy). They also includes several combos for each character, which prove more practical (but not all are easy to execute!) to use in battles.
Even if you don't plan to use all off the characters, you'll definitely benefit more by reading about them. By that, you can expect how to counter other players play style and know what to expect (for example if you are against Phoenix players, better players will know that they will reserve their meter to make Phoenix turn into Dark Phoenix, so it's easier to expect what your tactics will be like removing their meter, bring out Phoenix and take her down as soon as possible etc)
Having this guide doesn't mean you will definitely become better. Just like a textbook, you need to read and study it! I know, why the hell should you want to study about game. School and colleges are bad enough as they are (unless if you are having a good time in school/college, then I envy you). But the different is that you can put what you learn in the guide into practice in the game. Unlike most learning in real life, there is none, if not rare, chance that you can apply what you learn. (I'm taking video games and learning class right now, so pardon the serious talk about learning -_-"). You still need to practice a lot if you want to get better in this game, no doubt about that. You know you are getting better if you can execute a combo without being conscious, as in you are not trying so hard to remember the inputs.
So, to put it in a more arranged way:
- The authors are very conscious and informed about what is going on with current fighting game culture
- Very detailed in discussing gameplay and system
- Very detailed in explaining each characters' abilities, strategies and movesets
- Not ignoring the changes in old characters, and updated their combos and strategies
- Pictures included, making it easier for readers to understand (and you can stare at your favorite characters all day long...yeah...er what?)
- Still interesting to read even when you don't plan on learning anything specific
- No guides for missions. To be fair, the game already provides what you need to do in the mission. The main problems are your timing and your knowledge about the mechanics (especially the cancels). The writers said in the guide that you can do well in the missions if you take your time to learn using the guide. Also, Youtube videos like VesperArcade's can help you a lot with the missions.
- Having need to study. Well, you can't expect to become better just by reading it. Play around using the Training mode, experiment with characters, battle with players in Player Match or lobby, utilize the Spectator mode in lobby and watch videos from other players.
If you are looking forward to become a better UMvC3 player, then this guide will proves to be useful to you. I highly recommend it to both newcomers and experienced players.