Marvel_Ultimate_Alliance_2The wait has ended and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is finally here.  Unfortunately, this follow up to what many consider one of the best superhero based games falls way short of its predecessor.  Activision decided to go with a philosophy of, “if it aint broke…let’s fix it,” by switching from the original developers Raven Software (who worked on the first game and X-Men Legends I & II) and went with Vicarious Visions.

The game starts with a lot of promise, beginning with a story line from “Secret War,” with our heroes attempting taking down Castle Doom and then we are led  into the superhero “Civil War,” where you must choose between Captain America’s anti- superhero registration side and Iron Man’s pro- superhero registration side.  That is where the promise begins to drop.  We then have a twist in the story where both sides must come together and save the world, which kind of makes the hype for the “Civil War” aspect null and void.  However, there is a great cameo by Stan Lee so keep your eyes out for that.

Character-wise the numbers are about the same for playable heroes.  There are switches in the roster for playable characters, but it kind of makes some sense because they were not involved with the original stories.  The villains/bosses are really lacking this time around.  In the first Ultimate Alliance you were facing villains such as Galactus, Dr. Doom, and The Mandarin now we have confrontations with a lot of “b-level” villains like Whirlwind, Electro,  a non-Eddie Brock Venom, and a bunch of repeated enemies (but this time they are “under control” by an unknown power….ooooohhhh).

Gameplay this time around had really been simplified.  Instead of a free roaming system with one solid goal and different  side missions you get one solid goal and a side mission every other level if you are lucky.   The “fusion” powers discussed for the game is nothing to get excited about.  While boasting different powers for each pairing of heroes, there are basically like 3 or 4 actual fusion powers just done in different ways depending on the character.   Mostly everything can be done at the push of a button, which really takes away the skill factor.  I am not calling for complicated button combos, but at least give us some challenge. The game length itself is way too short and the ending leaves you very underwhelmed and asking “is that it?”  Even the graphics for the game seem kind of inferior to what was offered in the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance.   In the first game even the cut scenes looked like they could be animated movies themselves and the gameplay was smooth.  In part 2 the cuts scenes looked a small step above PS2 graphics and the gameplay was nothing special (with a few bugs thrown in).

I suggest either choosing this game as a rental picking up the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance and playing that instead.

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