Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

What to say, what to say? There were so many playable heroes to choose from and the game environment so expansive that I played the previous Marvel Ultimate Alliance multiple times (would that qualify as a multi-verse?) There was so much to do and so much to see, I might even venture back in for another session if my time wasn’t already consumed enough with the new material coming out for the PS3. Which brings us back the new MUA2. Like Batman: Arkham Asylum which was covered in the previous post, this game too was the recipient of several lavish previews claiming that, from what the reviewers saw in the demos, the new version would be superior in every way to its predecessor. High praise indeed, but how was the gaming experience in reality? Allow me to voice a few thoughts.


I’ll start right off with what a number of reviewers felt would be the clear advancement over the previous MUA; fusions. Or specifically, one hero combining one of their special powers with a special power from another hero in the group. For example, if you happen to be playing Iceman you can link up his cold beam with Human Torch’s flamethrower creating a withering death-blast between the two characters that nukes anything between them, including Bosses. Sound fun? It is in a way, having all that power. But still, I found the fusions a little confusing to activate, especially in the midst of a wild fray. And some of them are a little too, well, powerful. I think that it might have gone a long way to link the use of the fusions with some mini-games in dealing with the bosses, so you have to experiment to determine which ones are “the right tool for the right job.” As the game was released, the fusion attacks are sort of a Miracle Machine (hat tip to the LSH.)

Civil War

Building on the Civil War story line in the Marvel universe from the last several years, this game too experiences a schism at one point and you must choose your side; Captain America or Iron Man. One the one hand I thought “Great! That’s drama!” On the other hand, for a good chunk of the game a sizable number of playable characters on your roster become grayed-out and unavailable. Makes sense because it eliminated the quirk of the previous game where an unlocked character could meet up and play alongside themselves at certain points in the game. For my own experience in the game, this resulted in settling on a favorite foursome (Deadpool, Human Torch, Ice Man, and Storm) and even when the other characters became available again, I stuck with the dream team because I knew how to use them and came up with a fusion attack the was effective and that I could summon quickly.

Is that all?

As I mentioned earlier, I remember the first MUA as being a tremendous value because the game was so damned huge. We had Shield’s Heli-Carrier, Stark Tower, Atlantis, the Sanctum Sanctorum, Murder World, Mephisto’s Realm, Asgaard, Doom’s Castle; and bosses including Fin Fang Foom, Arcade and of course, Doctor Doom. Those lists, by the way, are not all-inclusive. MUA2, while certainly fulfilling, still had me thinking “Done already?” So I thought back over the game asking myself "Did I miss something?" Nope. This game definitely clocks in a lot leaner than its predecessor. I think one more Act would have really hit the spot.

Rant or Rave?

Worth the time and enjoyable even if you're not a fan of the comics. Since the game comfortably seats four players at a time, I suspect that the fun factor would probably multiple with friends joining the fracas. Fusion me!

1 to 10 Scale: 8

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