Title: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Genre: Action / RPG
Rating: T for Teen
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Being a child of the 90s, I used to watch the X-Men and Spiderman cartoons. Because of these I developed a minor interest in comic-books and that interest still remains to this day. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 intrigued me since there are dozens of playable characters and I’d be able to play as a lot of the favorites from my childhood.
In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 you control four characters in a beat-em-up style action/RPG game. There are over 20 playable characters with half of them available from the beginning. When playing solo, you control one and the other three are controlled by artificial intelligence. You can swap between fighters seamlessly during battle. It is also possible to play with up to three other people in 4-player co-op, if you want to play it that way.
In the Wii version, the graphics are sub-par. It’s difficult to see what is going on and even harder to tell enemies and allies apart. The camera doesn’t help either, the ¾ top-down style commonly gets positioned behind high structures causing you to see more of the structure then the gameplay. It almost looks like they just tried to port over the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, but really had to downgrade the graphics to make it work. Because of this graphical downgrade, what remains is blurry and hard to see. The sound effects are alright; the music is pretty good but the voice acting is horrendous. Not only are the same one-liners repeated like they are going out of style but the people who supply the voices are trying too hard to sound like the movie representations of each character. Even though this game has nothing to do with the marvel related movies each of the characters were in. What they should have done is try to develop their own identity and use original voices.
Even though there are a bunch of characters to play as, they all play almost exactly the same. With the exception of a few special powers, there are only about 5 fighting styles with different avatars attached to them. You would think that with the 20 or so playable characters that you would never get bored since you could switch between which you are playing as, this however, is not the case. I would have also liked to be able to play as more characters from the start. By the time I was unlocking new people, I was already bored of the game and just trying to hurry through everything.
You’re only given two main attacks, a normal and a heavy attack, then you must level-up your characters to unlock more abilities. This is where the RPG elements come in. You can choose how to spend your talent points or have the game automatically divvy them up for you. Even though each character has a number of their own abilities, they repeat from character to character. The only difference is the color shockwave that emanates off of the ability.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is available for Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360. It’s a mediocre action game that will barely hold the interest of non comic-book geeks. If you are a huge fan of Marvel, it’s worth it to pick up this title, otherwise it’s nothing that absolutely needs to be played. This game is way too similar to the X-Men Legends series that was popular last generation so if you’ve played any of them, you’ll either feel right at home playing this, or, like me, be annoyed that after five years they haven’t upgraded the gameplay.
Overall Rating: ***
The Gaming Savant, Ryan Smith
October 9, 2009