Ever wonder what it would be like to have all of your favorite Marvel Comics heroes join forces to combat injustice whether it is against the worst supervillains of the Marvel universe or against the oppressive measures passed by the government of the people the heroes are sworn to protect? In the latest installment of the Marvelseries, Ultimate Alliance 2, players will get to choose from an array of famous Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man, Spider-man, Captain America, Thor, the Fantastic—just to name a few. This combining of the heroes and villains of the Marvel universe makes this game a dream-come-true for fans as they will be able to create parties of their favorites and combine their unique powers for the most epic battles ever experienced.
The story combines the events of Secret War and Civil War.The game begins with Nick Fury’s secret operation in an attempt to assassinate the new Prime Minister of Latveria, who he suspects to be sponsoring terrorism and harboring supervillains in the country. After the operation, it creates controversy amongst the politicians as a gross misuse of superheroes to play world police and assassinating world leaders. After a tragic incident between heroes and villains in Stamford, Connecticut, where over 600 civilians including children were killed, the U.S. Government passed a Superhuman Registration Act, which requires all meta-humans to register with the government in an effort to reign in super power negligence.
Basically, registration allows for the government to have its own army of superhumans at its disposal. The new law divides the Superhero community as it threatens their civil rights and their basic principles. As a result, Captain America, who stands for what is morally right, goes underground and starts a resistance movement against the new legislation and Iron Man, who supports the law (since he is a lawyer) defends the government’s measures based on Mr. Fantastic’s calculations that the future would be catastrophic if they resisted. Friendships will be tested as heroes will be pitted against each other, which threatens the solidarity of the Marvel universe.
The game play is a combination of Baldur’s Gate 2 and the Dynasty Warriors series in that it is from a 3rd person perspective with a hack-and-slash element. You will get to choose four characters that will make up your party throughout the game. However, you can also replace them should you feel inclined to try other characters. You can also switch around within your party with relative ease while in combat without having to pause the game. There is also a co-op feature that allows you to play through the game locally or online with friends.
As players explore each level, they will notice that there are certain objects that can be destroyed such as boxes, which contain health orbs and experience points, and cars, which come in handy as time bombs when there are a large amount of enemies nearby. Depending on the strength of each character, you can even pick up some of these objects and throw them at incoming enemies for quicker KO’s. You can also pick up health packs, which allow you to save them when there is a lack of boxes or if you are in an intense boss battle. In addition to healing characters, health packs also allow you to revive downed comrades. When you accrue enough experience points from fights or boxes, you will be able to upgrade your characters’ attributes and attacks to make them stronger and more resistant to enemy attacks. Experience points carry over to other characters that you don’t use as well, which is good because it doesn’t allow characters to lag behind in upgrades and experience if you do decide to switch around your party.
The controls are simple to pick up; there is a regular attack, strong attack, and what is called a fusion attack, which is a unique power combo involving whoever you are playing as and whichever character you select to perform the fusion. Different combos such as pressing the regular attack button and strong attack button in varying patterns execute unique attacks. Each character possesses their own unique superhero attacks such as Captain America’s shield throw and Spider-man’s web shot. However, these unique attacks cost energy, which is display in a blue bar in the top right corner of the screen along with the health bar. The fusion bar on the bottom right corner fills up as players attack or take damage. Once it is filled, then fusion attacks can be executed. Also, to enhance the powers and attributes of your party, players can attach up to three boost medals that are found throughout the game, which have unique powers.
In addition to the main story, there are special features, which you can unlock throughout the game. As you play through the game, you may encounter some special items, which after you have collected enough, you will have unlocked hidden characters. In between missions, you are back in the HQ of whichever side you choose. In the HQ, players are allowed to try the combat simulator, which is a series of challenges that allows you to unlock new costumes, boosts, or gain experience points. There is also a trivia game where fans can test their knowledge of Marvel comics and its different series. And finally, there is a database where you can view cinematic scenes, bundle art, and profiles, which are all unlockables that are found throughout the game.
Overall, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is a good game for the fans of Marvel Comics and its notable heroes. It is an easy game to pick up with little complexities. The customization of your party makes it a very flexible game in terms of choice of characters, which also gives the game a high replay factor. Also, depending on the which side you choose and the characters that you play as, the endings vary, which further supplements the game’s replayability. Though some would be quick to criticize the simplicity of this game and dismiss it as another button-mashing, hack-and-slash game, the Marvel fan-base as well as fans of the first game would definitely appreciate this title.
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Developer: Vicarious Visions, Savage Entertainment, n-Space
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP
Date Released: September 15, 2009 (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, Nintendo DS), September 22, 2009 (PSP)
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Genre: Action RPG