Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

(Nintendo DS/DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable & XBox 360 – Reviewed on XBox 360)

by – “Tiger” Oliver

Pros:
Just as good, if not better than, the first game
Decent voice acting, including a marvelous job at keeping Deadpool his smart-alec self
More geared towards a multi-player experience

Cons:
It’s not all
that difficult, it’s just frustrating at times
Gameplay’s way too repetitive, even when playing as other heroes
SRSLY, this game is immensely easy if you stat-crash the crap out of Wolverine

As if we needed another excuse to put on colored underwear and tight pleather pants, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is here! Marvel Comics has always had some of the best games in both arcades and consoles, and it’s good to see that they have yet another solid game in MUA2.
MUA2 follows the Civil War storyline in the Marvel Universe. Now, if this means nothing to you, here’s a quick overview:

One year after a controversial invasion of Lativia to take out Dr. Doom’s apprentice’s master plans, rumors of super heroes having to be registered with and regulated by the federal government start to spread. After a freak accident which killed hundreds of civilians in Connecticut, the rumors become law. Captain America, seeing this as a threat upon freedom, rebels against the law and goes underground, while Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) approves of the plan and supplies much of their technological needs. A civil war between the Marvel super heroes ensues.

But, enough about the storyline, time for the rundown:

Gameplay – 3/5

Not much has changed from the first Ultimate Alliance game. You have four characters on screen that you have the ability to control one-at-a-time by which to destroy everything in sight. There are four “powers” you can use that are different based on what the hero does in the comics as well as special abilities like Storm’s ability to fly and Wolverine and Deadpool’s mutant healing factor.

There is a brand new attack: the fusion attack. Whenever your fusion meter gets filled, you can team up with a hero in your group to perform this attack, which is different depending on the heroes involved. I haven’t seen all of them, seeing the numerous possibilities.

Even though it’s smooth gameplay and a rich storyline, the gameplay is still limited to an old-school beat ’em up. Even with the experience, leveling up and boost equips of an RPG, this game is still, at heart, a next-gen beat ’em up.  The bad thing about this is that, if you stat-crash one character, the game it insanely easy. Crashing Wolverine and levelling up three of the four attacks (leaving the fourth alone for the most part) made the rest of the game a joke as soon as I boosted his health regeneration.

Another complaint is the AI for your team. On the consoles, it ain’t bad, could be better but not bad. The PSP, fuggedaboudit, it’s a steaming pile of Hulk-waste.  The DS’s is mediocre, but managable.

The gameplay on the whole ain’t bad or mediocre, don’t get me wrong, it’s just nothing groundbreaking. It’s average, hence the average score.


Graphics – 4/5

The graphics are great, seeing that Stan Lee (Mr. Marvel, himself) oversaw the game. Each character is brightly detailed, the levels are far from dull & blah, the cutscenes are amazing and the menus are aesthetically pleasing in themselves (when’s the last time anyone praised the graphical presentation of the menu?).


Sound – 4/5

Any good comic book game needs good music, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 fails to disappoint. Granted, it’s nothing amazing like Modern Warfare 2 or anything, but it’s enough to pull you into the game.

Controls – 4/5

The controls (PS2, PS3, XBox 360) are smooth and near flawless. A little bit tight, but it works out with the speed of the game.

The PSP and DS/DSi, I can’t vouch for personally, but I heard the PSP version’s are horrible, while the DS/DSi is managable with the touch screen.

Then, there’s the wildcard that is the Wii. The only thing I’ll say about it is that you’ll either love it or hate it, which is the case for most third-party games on the console. I’d recommend renting it on the Wii to test it out if you’re thinking about buying it, even if you’ve played the first Ultimate Alliance.


Replay Value – 3/5

Going back through the game with each hero on both the pro-and-anti-registration side is the only value worth noting. If you throw in multi-player, there’s some ray of hope. But not much. This game is one of those that you play again to get the feel of old-school arcade beat ’em ups, which I guess is replay value in itself.


Overall Score – 3.5/5

It’s an average game for an average gamer. Or the Marvel comics fanboy like the comic book shop owner from The Simpsons. It’s not amazing, but it’s far from a disappointment. It’s once of those you keep back for a rainy day or when Halo, Left 4 Dead 2, Rock Band and all fighting games have temporarily lost their luster.

Buy? – Comic Junkies Get Yer Fix!

Seriously, those are the only people I’d strongly recommend buying this game. If you liked XMen: Legends or the first Ultimate Alliance, or need a gift idea for someone who has it all, this would be a sure way to go.

Rent? – More Suited Experience For Casual Gamers

If you just want to play the game to beat it instead of going through with every single character, rent it. It doesn’t take that long to beat, so in two days tops you’ll beat both storylines. It’s a more worthwhile investment than shelling out big bucks for this game instead of something else more exciting.

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