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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2!

The successor to the popular co-op game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance has finally arrived, but will UA2 be able to improve upon the already solid franchise?

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Civil War - Marvel Style: When the game first begins, the Marvel universe is as it should be. All of the (good) Marvel characters such as Iron Man and Spider-Man all work together towards the common goal of stopping "evil" and wrongdoing in its tracks.

However, a series of recent events (not going to spoil anything!) unfold throughout the first few minutes, and it ends up shaking the world as we know it. These recent events cause Congress to pass the "Superhuman Registration Act", requiring all Super Heroes to register with the government and reveal their secret identities.

As a result, a civil war erupts among the heroes of the Marvel universe, splitting the Super Heroes into two: those who are for the act and trust their government, and those who oppose it and do not feel it necessary to reveal their beloved identities.

The game eventually has you choose a side, and the decision you make will determine what characters you will be fighting with and which you will be fighting against.

The storyline is quite solid actually, and I did find myself following it throughout the game. While it may not be Shakespeare, it is a decent story that will most likely intrigue you enough to want to see it through to the end.

The Ultimate Alliance: One of the main focuses in UA2 is the massive variety of characters available for you to use during the game. Everyone you know and those you haven't even heard of are featured in UA2 at some point or another.

There are too many heroes to list, but some of them include Iron Man, Spider-Man, Venom, Gambit, Wolverine, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iceman, Daredevil, all of the Fantastic Four, Ms. Marvel and many, many more. You can even use four of the heroes in a single group that you can customize to your liking.

Want to pair up Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk? Go right ahead. Wish you could see Venom, Green Goblin, Gambit and Captain America work as a team? Now you can!

When assembling your team, you can even earn bonuses by reuniting classic Marvel...well, alliances. Put the Fantastic Four or the Classic Avengers back together and you will have a more powerful team then if you separated them. There are even hidden bonus team alliances, so it helps if you experiment.

Nothing More, Nothing Less: The gameplay in UA2 can only be described in one word: chaotic. At any point or time you could be battling dozens upon dozens of enemies at one time, while avoiding the powerful attacks of a boss simultaneously. This makes for very hectic gameplay, but I never said it wasn't fun.

Ultimate Alliance 2 is, at its core, a simple beat 'em up game that has you moving through environment after environment beating down a multitude of enemies on your way to defeating the boss at the end of the level.

But, UA2 tries to be nothing more then a simple beat 'em up and for that will not be penalized. It does not try to pass itself off as a great, story focused game and it doesn't attempt to be a game with a deep combat system.

Nevertheless though, UA2's gameplay is very fun (with a friend. More on that later) and even though I am usually opposed to such simplistic games, there is something UA2 does that makes it enjoyable. I'm not sure what it is, but it just feels different from the usual beat 'em up.

WOLVERINE: Besides the usual attacks you have at your disposal, you can also activate a special "Fusion" move that allows you and another teammate to combine each others powers to make for a devastating super attack.

These attacks and shockingly destructive and often look great while wreaking havoc upon the surrounding area. Only certain two friends can use these attacks with each other, but the majority of the time anyone's attacks can be used with anyone else's.

Some of them include having Spider-Man throw Wolverine into a targeted enemy as well as more interesting ones such as seeing Iron Man shoot Wolverine with his lasers and having Wolverine's claws reflect and magnify the attack.

The Fusion attacks were a nice addition to the game and even though using the same attack over and over can become a little dull; as long as you mix it up every now and again you will not have any trouble watching in awe as you destroy the entire map with only two characters.

One Is The Loneliest Number: What makes Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 succeed, despite its rather simplistic core, is the co-op gameplay and ability to play with up to four other budding Super Heroes. Without it, this game would be significantly less enjoyable.

UA2 features great co-op capabilities that will allow up to four players team up together in their fight. From activating special Fusion attacks at precise moments, to teaming up against strong enemies and a variety of other situations, the co-op in UA2 is superb.

Just because the co-op is great though, doesn't mean there are not some flaws. The biggest being the camera, which can be very wonky and random at times. Sometimes only the player with the number 1 controller can control the camera, occasionally both 1 and 2 and control the camera, and at times the camera controls itself.

The camera is a bit of an issue, especially if no one can control it, but the majority of the time it is somewhat acceptable to where you can see what you are doing.

Not Looking So Good, Webhead: The visuals in UA2 remain mostly unchanged from its predecessor, with only a very slight polish on the graphics but overall nothing spectacular. You will see fairly detailed enemies and environments as well as decent hero models, but everything seems to have a bit of a low-res look to it.

Though, this is not uncommon among Marvel games as Spider-Man 1, 2, and 3 as well as all of the Incredible Hulk games have the same look to them. I am not quite sure if Marvel plans this, but any way, the visuals could be a notch better.

Rent vs. Buy: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 does have its share of flaws and things that it fails to perfect, but when you are playing with a buddy either online or sitting next to you on the couch, the game ends up being very fun.

Even though the graphics are only acceptable, the gameplay is, at its core, practically years old, and the co-op camera can be frustrating, but there is just something in the game that makes it worth your time.

Be sure to note though, without online access or a friend to fight with, this game would be virtually nothing.

Report Card

Even though the graphics are only acceptable, the gameplay is, at its core, practically years old, and the co-op camera can be frustrating, but there is just something in the game that makes it worth your time. Be sure to note though, without online access or a friend to fight with, this game would be virtually nothing. (Krakrabbit.com)


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