I still have the original Marvel Ultimate Alliance for my old Xbox. Man, I had a blast with that game. Though it wasn’t completely original (there were some X-Men games before it that used a similar format), it was loads of fun and eclipsed those X-Men games in every possible aspect of fun. However, as with all sequels, movie or game, I’ve learned to not hold my breath in anticipation. Studios manage to botch a follow-up with more regularity than a weight lifter’s bathroom visits. For those not familiar with the original Marvel Ultimate Alliance, you play as a team of four heroes, guiding your way through levels chock full of villainous foot soldiers and super bad guys. The light, or should I say dark, at the end of the tunnel was the infamous Dr. Doom. But that was the old days, so without further adieu, I give you the skinny on a sequel to one of my favorite games of all time.
In the sequel, the studio built on the Marvel Comics “Civil War” storyline that made its debut in 2006 where the United States government passed the SRA or Superhero Registration Act. This forced those with superhuman abilities to register their true identities with the government split the Marvel Universe right down the middle. Some, like Iron Man, chose to follow through with the registration while others, like Captain America, stood to rebel against what they viewed as an unconstitutional law. In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, you actually get to choose which side you want to support. Each of the two decisions leads down its own unique path of mission sets. It’s hero against hero in this super hero free-for-all.
Graphics & Playability
The game plays with a solid fluidity that’s right on par to its predecessor. The ability to switch amongst the four members of your team is quick and responsive, as is the ability to unleash hell on the screen. Welcome to the world of Fusion moves. A fusion move is something where the character you are controlling pairs up with another member of your team on screen. The two will work in tandem to deliver a wicked amount of energy to at least one opposing force you are up against. You have a few types of these fusion moves at your disposal which include targeted, clearing and guided. Clearing works well with several enemies on the screen while a targeted fusion is great against a single enemy, like a boss.
One of my absolute favorites has to be the Deadpool-Juggernaut pairing. In this targeted fusion, you get to watch Juggernaut rip a section of concrete out of the ground while Deadpool tosses a handful of explosives to the underside of the hunk of masonry. With a heave-ho, Juggernaut throws the mass with a crushing blast to the unfortunate baddie on the receiving end…KABOOM! You’ll find pulling off attacks such as these are done quite easily providing a very small learning curve. This is just one of those games you can play right out of the box. Instructions? Who needs instructions?!
The graphics are not a strong point of this title. The cinematic sequences look great but close-ups during interactive conversations are shoddy at best. There’s pixilation around strands of hair that rest against the characters’ bodies and it just looks very previous-generation-console. The in-game graphic quality is sufficient as the ¾ overhead view doesn’t require a lot of the details that a 1st person shooter would. In short, you’re buying this game for the fun factor and playability, not the eye candy.
With a much more solid story than the previous Ultimate Alliance and in my opinion, a better selection of characters, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is fun ride with unlockable characters (Juggernaut was only available via code if you pre-ordered from EB Games or Game Stop), unlockable abilities and a slew of power-ups and PS3 trophies to add to your collection. The replay value of this title is through the roof with hours of button-mashing excitement awaiting your thumbs. The first title let you acquire up to four costumes for each character. Different get-ups allowed for different abilities. My only real downer in the new title is changing your costume in Alliance 2 is nothing more than alter your appearance. Your powers stay the same. Still, it’s not a deal-breaker and won’t diminish the excitement value of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.