Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Review
It’s pretty hard to deny that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is a heck of a lot of fun. It has its flaws. In fact, it has quite a lot of flaws. But it is a lot of fun to just button mash, creating spectacular combos and amazing superpowers that fly around the screen. It’s that sense of “do little, but get a lot out of it” that makes MUA2 great. There are no fancy buttons presses needed, just mash and go.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is based around the Civil War comic book storyline. This brings up some really interesting twists in the game. For those who haven’t read Civil War the basics are that superheroes are blamed for an accident which killed a number of people, mainly children, in Stanford. This leads to an act declaring that all superheroes must register and, thus, be put under the beck and call of the government, doing what they want them to do. A number of superheroes branch off and rebel, lead by Captain America, who refuse to register and go underground. A civil war is created when the Pro-Registration superheroes, those that signed, are sent to arrest the Anti-Registration superheroes. This brings up the most interesting part of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. You get to choose whether you want to register or go underground. Depending on which you choose, you gain different missions, different characters and different outcomes.
The big sell of MUA2 is the wide variety of Marvel superheroes you encounter, some of which are added to your roster so you can pick them for your team of 4. Every single character has the same basic abilities. They can perform combos, pick up objects and throw them or grab onto enemies. But the characters also have their own unique moves. For instance, Spiderman is able to tie up enemies, The Human Torch can throw fireballs and Storm can create whirlwinds that pick up enemies. There isn’t much complication to the controls. The prologue section eases you into the controls and after about half an hour, you’ll get the swing of things pretty quickly.
Of course, not all characters are exciting as others. Mr Fantastic, for instance, is only able to stretch so his special attacks tend to consist of him doing a “stretchy punch” or something like that. Characters like Songbird, on the other hand, had a wide array of special attacks which are a lot of fun to use, especially the sonar beam. Deadpool hits that middle ground, but it’s still awesome to play as him because it’s Deadpool! He still has a bunch of one-liners which are hilarious and fans of the comic will get his sadistic humour. After a while though, the characters sort of seem to blend together. You’ll quickly find your team (mine was The Human Torch, Songbird, Ms. Marvel and Deadpool) and after that, you probably won’t change up your team too much; maybe only to try out a new character you just unlocked. You only control one of your team of 4 at any one time, but the AI does a pretty good job of keeping your other teammates where they need to be. They will go around killing enemies as much as possible to help you out, so it doesn’t feel like you’re a one man army unless your entire team die except you because then…well….you are a one man army.
The Fusion attacks are also a neat little feature. This is a co-op attack with another member of your team. They come under two categories: Clearing and Guided. Clearing is pretty obvious. Your two characters work together to wipe the immediate area of any bad guys there. Guided usually consists of two characters firing blasts of something at each other, creating a stream between the two that can damage anyone who happens to get into the middle of it. The Guided ones are usually pretty similar in look. Iceman and The Human Torch will create a beam of ice and fire and Captain America will stop Iron Man’s blast creating a stream in which enemies could be caught. Clearing moves on the other hand are sometimes more spectacular. You can get plain ones, such as Deadpool and Daredevil just shooting and whipping enemies, but there are some really cool ones such as Storm creating a whirlwind, which sucks all enemies up, then Deadpool throwing a grenade into the cluster of enemies creating a lovely explosion and a number of bodies flailing around.
You have the ability to upgrade your characters and improve their attacks but, in all honesty, I saw no difference. I just left auto-upgrade to do the work for me because I just wanted to button-mash the crap out of some enemies. You do have the ability to micromanage your heroes, especially if you have a specific team you want to use throughout the game, but I did keep chopping and changing as the game went along so found this a slight waste of time.
The visuals are nice and smooth. Nothing special, but the outdoor environments (particularly Iceland) do look extremely pretty for an isometric view. The characters do look like their comic book alternatives, apart from in the in-game cutscenes where they look extremely stiff. There are a few framerate drops, especially when a lot is happening on screen, but it is still playable. The voice acting is pretty bad though. Deadpool stands out as the exception to the rule, mainly because it seems like the developers spent the most time trying to capture his humour. The rest just feel phoned-in and, at points, even worse than phoned-in.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 definitely feels like the ultimate fan service to the Marvel fans. There is plenty here to do, with a pretty long campaign and a bunch of other Marvel trivia stuff in the main hub areas. It isn’t exactly the most groundbreaking game ever, and it might not appeal to non-Marvel fans, but for those with a love for all things Marvel, MUA2 is worth a rent at least.