Marvel : Ultimate Alliance

Ultimate Alliance - Busy Gamer Rating 4

Ultimate Alliance - Busy Gamer Rating 4

First Glance:
Play as your favorite, and not so favorite, heroes in the latest rendition of the comic book you play.

The Short Story:
You can be almost any Marvel Super Hero you can imagine, and even play as a few of the villains. But no matter who you choose, the combat boils down to melee combat even if you choose someone like the Human Torch. You can put together an actual team of heroes to unlock special abilities and team bonuses but the whole thing starts to feel like Gauntlet after a while.

The Score:
The ability to play as your favorite super heroes alone or with friends is nice and the online capability certainly means you don’t have to play alone. You can set up a quick match or play some of the story if you want. While the gameplay can be a bit repetitious, there’s something here for the Busy Gamer which lands Marvel: Ultimate Alliance a 4.

Body of review:
There have been a few recent entries from the Marvel universe and while Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is now coming up on its second birthday, it’s a solid title that does a lot of things right. While you can’t create a hero from scratch, there’s enough variation in the selection of heroes available and modifying their powers and stats as they level that the game offers each player the opportunity to make Wolverine unique in their game.

As the story begins, several heroes are called to the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier (if you don’t know, you’re just going to have to nod like you do) by Nick Fury to fight off what appears to be an army of Doom-bots created by, you guessed it, Dr. Doom. You soon learn that Doom has united a host of the world’s super villains and they call themselves the Masters of Evil. It’s okay to groan… I did.

As the game progresses, you can mix and match your heroes for the missions you go on. You’ll find yourself in various locations that come straight off the pages of the comics. Stark Tower, Asgard, Atlantis… the moon. They’re all covered in the game. But aside from a few notable exceptions, the areas all feel alike as you fight your way through evil minions.

There are a few shortcomings with the game, notably the lack of distinction between the characters as you play. Sure, you can play as Iron Man but when you quickly run out of energy for your energy blasts, you have to rely on your armored fists to level enemies. This brings everything down to a melee level and while some characters are considerably more powerful than others when it comes to the old fisticuffs, everyone pretty much punches and throws the same as everyone else.

As I stated in the Short Story, there’s a very Gauntlet-esque feel to the combat and the level design. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the game overall but you may begin feeling as you’ve “been here, done this” as the story unfolds. Long play sessions can be entertaining when playing with friends but the solo play begins to lose its appeal as the areas all begin to blur together.

You’ll find yourself losing your character in mass combats unless you’re playing as someone who really stands out in a crowd. The more colorful the costume, the easier the hero is to track in a melee. It also doesn’t hurt if your hero can do something like, oh, I don’t know… burst into flames! But wade into combat as Deadpool and the only thing you can do is mash buttons and watch for the bad guys
to fall down.

Playing in Arcade Mode will remove the unused characters from play, meaning you may find yourself against overwhelming odds if you’re playing solo. Levels are tuned for teams and playing by yourself in arcade mode can lead to frustration. Play in regular mode, however, and you can switch between characters if you find yourself getting bored with one hero.

Your heroes gain levels as they progress and you can unlock their different outfits. The outfits have much more than a cosmetic effect on your heroes as they also unlock other powers dependant on the character wearing it. Unlocking one of Wolverine’s older outfits, for instance, can allow you to improve his health regeneration while another makes him hit harder. This level of customization is nice and allows each player to fine tune their hero as they level.

The voice acting within the game is performed well for the most part but you may find yourself wondering why some voices were matched with some heroes. They just don’t fit as well as others but overall, it’s well done. Aside from some repetition in the level design, as mentioned earlier, the graphics are also pleasing. There’s some extra goodness to be had when you through in the trivia questions you can answer for additional experience for your heroes. Scenarios can be found for individual
heroes which can be played to unlock even more content like cover art, new costumes, and extra powers for the hero the scenario involves.

The bottom line? If you’re not a fan of Marvel comics, there’s probably not a whole lot here for you. But if you’re even a fringe fan, there’s something to be said about getting together with a friend and wrecking bad guys as Spiderman and Captain America.

Grits – End of Line

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