Published on October 2nd, 2009 | by Jonathan Lane1
Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Heroes unite yet again
Marvel’s greatest super heroes unite for one more hoo-rah in this arcade beat em up style game. Spiderman, Wolverine, Captain America and Iron Man duel it out with other Marvel elites, to help save the world from eminent doom. The game uses the Civil war story from the latest Marvel comics which helps to bring it up to date in the Marvel Comic universe. Does MUA2 pack a hulk smash or does it just fall flat?.
MUA2’s presentation gives off a modernized heroic patriotic feel. At the title screen you can easily tell that the story has a face-off between the two marvels heroes, Iron man and Captain America. The navigation between the menus are easy and accessible. You can choose to have a public or private game via Xbox Live or PSN. Plus one of the neat features is that you can use your saved file during Xbox live/PSN, which means that you can literally join in with someone at any part of the game story. Also when you are roughly 10 percent into the game, you will be able to navigate through a HUB world. The hub world will change during the course of your play through ( Don’t want to give any spoilers). Your team is given options to do while in the hub world. You can talk to fellow heroes, play a trivia game which is a nice addition, move to the next mission or run a simulator of the unlocked trials you collect during gameplay.
Dialogue in game is questionable, The voice acting is good albeit some of the voices sound a bit stressed. Spiderman’s voice in MUA2 doesn’t really sound like the Peter Parker you would think he sounds like in the movies nor the cartoons. This is not a huge problem, however those who have sensitive ears to voice accuracy, will be able to pinpoint that. Other wise, the voice acting from the Heroes/Villains all sound good and believable. Also when conversing in the HUB world, the characters from your squad don’t talk. Its a bit strange since one would think that Marvel will have a fully voiced over dialogue between the player and NPCs. When you are conversing with your peers, you are given three choices to choose from. The choices are assigned by three attitudes, Aggressive, Diplomatic, or Defensive. Aggressive clear means you respond in a more edgier tone. Diplomatic means you stay neutral, in other words, keep the peace. Defensive is self explanatory.Your response tend to defend your views on the current situation in the story and/or in the immediate conversation you are having with your peers.
Gameplay in MUA2 is that of a traditional arcade beat em’ up style game. The A and B buttons are used for melee as a weak and strong attack, than can be charged for an even greater amount of damage. The X button is used for grappling and Y is for Jumping. You have the ability to heal yourself and teammates using the Right button and pressed the corresponding button for each your squad when you collect heal tokens. You initialy start with two powers however each character has four unique special abilities that will be unlocked as you play the game. The game also has some RPG elements like leveling up each characters moves and also leveling up support powers. The Thing for example, is mutant who skin is rock solid. His support power can be leveled up which can greatly increase his defense from enemies attacks.
One of the main new features in MUA2 is the new fusion attack system. Two different characters can team together using their powers to give devastating attacks. For an example, when Luke Cage and Invisible Woman team up, Invisible Woman puts Luke Cage in hamster like force field Ball and Luke Cage can run over enemies for high damage. As silly as that combo may seem, that team has gotten me out of some troublesome situations especially when encountering boss battles. On the other hand, one issue with the new fusion system is the redundancy of them. This maybe an offset since not all powers are created equally, so to speak. To sum it all up, the big rock solid/impenetrable skin type heroes will almost always be classified as the clearing types, The heroes who can shoot any form of energy at an opponent will be the guided type and lastly, any heroes who specializes in melee type powers ( a la Wolverine, Deadpool, etc….) will be targeted types. The plus side of it though is that when mixed in different fusion attacks, they all become very usefully when use strategically.
MUA2’s graphics are a step forward in the MUA series, but looks a step back on whats available currently on Xbox 360/ PS3. One will tell that developers took good sight at implementing an improved lighting and special effect system ( i.e. ripples in water, sparks and explosions when using your character powers). The enviorments and locales you visit are detailed with faithful execution. The character poly counts has upped and the animations are fluid. Even with these improvements, the game appears like a high-res first generation xbox360 title. Is that a good or bad thing? Yes and No. The graphical style works, since this is an arcade style of game, graphics are not such a main focus plus its designed to be easily digested by the casual and hardcore players alike. For MUA2 graphical style it feels like the developers could of pushed more out of the 360 and PS3. Also, there were some slowdowns when the action gets very hairy but I would say it is very solid. There is still room for improvement in the graphics department, but its a good to know that this game can become a visually better experience. Especially with all the dynamics of different heroes in-game as well. ( Just imagine playing MUA where the characters and models look as detailed as in its comics, just a thought…)
To conclude, MUA2 is a good game where you can mix the hardcores and casuals, heroes and villains working together for the greater good. Team work and strategic a use of the heroes powers are a huge welcome. Utilizing the fusion techniques bring a whole new dimension to the series that has potential if further explored and implemented. With the minor setbacks such as slowdown, lack of variety of different fusion techniques and weak dialogue system, this game is still a step forward in its series which is the bigger picture. Put on your capes, utility belts and suits, and its up, up and away.
Game Score 8.0
[viddler id-533ae39d h-337 w-525]