Friday, December 7

Marvel Ultimate Alliance Review

Available on: PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC, Wii
Price: Varies second hand
I played on: PS3
Notes: N/A

Ultimate Alliance is a game drenched in Marvel lore and will please any fans of the comic book company and their heroes but may isolate those unsure of the long-running history. Although those who know Marvel through the MCU may recognize a few locations and characters this is very much based on the comics and not the films.

The game starts off with the Shield helicarrier under attack from a new group of super villains calling themselves the Masters of Evil. From here you will be taken to plenty of familiar locations from the Marvel universe including Stark Tower, Valhalla, Castle Doom and plenty more. This plot is not groundbreaking but it does a good job of introducing plenty of characters and locations that will make most Marvel fans happy. Doctor Doom and his group of villains have a plan that will test most of Marvel’s characters both on and off Earth. The downside with this intense focus towards only Marvel fans is that most people outside of the fanbase will get very little from this great game.

The gameplay finds you with a group of four heroes of your choosing from a set list of characters. Certain characters are exclusive to platforms, for example, Black Widow is only available on the PSP. When you have your team it’s a case of fighting your way to your objectives and then destroying, collecting or interacting with something to progress the plot. Combat consists of a light and heavy attack and powers unique to each hero. Certain heroes can fly or in Spider-man’s case web swing in place of a double jump. The impressive thing about Ultimate Alliance is that despite the large choice of characters you can play as they all feel how you would expect them too. Spidey makes bad jokes and uses his webbing during combat while Iron man will fly around and use his beam weapons and so on. I’m a big Marvel fan and just exploring all my favourite heroes feels great, I love playing this game even to this day due to how each character feels. My inner geek just gets all giddy when teaming up my personal favourite heroes.

The two player is great and if you have a friend who’s as into Marvel as you are then you will have a lot of fun! The game is thankfully not focused on this multiplayer and is just as fun with a single player.

The graphics and sound design have aged rather poorly, character models look stiff and unnatural in non-prerendered cutscenes. During gameplay, most things look fine as the camera is pulled out and away from the lower detail textures and models. I found that sometimes during cutscenes sounds would fail to play and although this was not common it was enough for me to notice. The performance takes a dive during some of the larger fights with lots of enemies on screen at once, again this is rare, I think it happened to me twice during my playthrough for this review. Overall the presentation is Ultimate Alliance’s greatest weakness but it’s not enough to break this game completely.

All in all Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a game for Marvel fans and the bigger fan you are the more you will get out of this experience. I love this game and think I always will because I don’t know of anything else that allows me to team up my favourite heroes and take on so many of Marvels biggest villains. For that reason alone this game and its sequel will hold a special place in my collection.

Recommendation Rating: 8 out of 10.

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