Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Video Game Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Nothing better than judging a video game on only two hours of play, but I think I spent enough time playing on a friend's PS3 last night to make some quick judgements on the new Marvel game.

The story opens up in Latveria, where NPC Nick Fury is leading Iron Man, Cap, Wolverine, and Spider-Man on an assault on Countess Barden's castle. Fury explains to the heroes that the Countess and the Tinkerer have been supplying the Marvel U's low-level bad guys for years. The heroes really seemed like they were uncomfortable with each other, so I'm not sure this is a continuity where these guys have served in the Avengers together. They didn't seem to know Fury too well either. This story is basically Brian Michael Bendis' Secret War mini. After taking out the Countess and destroying the castle, the heroes retire to Stark Tower to interact with heroes from the Marvel U, answer trivia questions, and go on training missions, all very much like Ultimate Alliance 1.

The main reason I play these comic games is to experience comics in a more interactive way. In just two hours, we got a fair amount of interaction with known characters.

  • Villains included Electro, Scorcher, the Wizard, and the Tinkerer
  • Heroes I encountered were Black Widow, Justice, Thor, and the previously mentioned Nick Fury

I played three characters as we moved through the levels:

  • Iron Man - great powers, including some nice repulsor beams and flight. This will be a default for me
  • Gambit - surprisingly fun, his card-throwing was very effective but his one-liners were awful
  • Invisible Woman - I liked her Ult Alliance 1 power-set better, but she's still pretty tough. She can pick up heavy objects using her powers, a nice way for her to mimic super-strength

I didn't like the dialogue or voice acting as much in this installment as the previous one. A lot of the one-liners are cringe-worthy. The game-play is VERY easy, I think I only dropped once on the normal difficulty. The minions are repetetive, of course, but the game attempts to spice things up with the occasional odd objective or bonus item. The heals are pretty common and the specials are fun to mix and match depending on which characters are in use. The power sets are fun too, with most characters getting a distance power and an area of affect power, in addition to basic punches and strikes. Some folks can fly, or web-swing, or flip around like maniacs. There is some interaction with NPCs that affects the ongoing game. You can respond to NPCs in "Aggressive" or "Diplomatic" or similar fashions. I'm curious to see how that will affect your game play later on. All in all the controls were very intuitive, it can take me some time to master new games but I found myself moving around nicely very quickly.

I will definitely grab this game for my X-Box 360, but I'm not sure if I'll wait for the price to drop. I'm leaning towards picking it up soon. I'm ready to build my main team (I'm thinking Iron Man, Songbird, Iron Fist, and Cage or Juggernaut).


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