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'Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2' fails to impress

Oct 22, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2It is a storyline that ripped the mighty Marvel universe in two.
A catastrophic battle between The New Warriors, grandstanding for their hit reality show, and a renegade group of villains ends with an explosion that kills several of the combatants as well as over 600 civilians. Bowing to public pressure, the U.S. government decides implement the mandatory registration of all superheroes.
Opposing the American government’s decision was Captain America and his band of rebel superheroes like Daredevil and Luke Cage. Supporting and policing the pronouncement were S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and others. Inspired by the civil rights turmoil that engulfed America after the events of 9-11, the ‘Civil War‘ storyline found in ‘Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2’ pits hero versus hero and friend versus friend.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2Whereas the plot may be more earnest, the scope of ’MUA2’ is smaller in every respect. The roster of playable heroes is less spectacular with heavyweights like Hulk and Thor locked away until the end game. There’s no Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange or Ghost Rider. Their exclusion cannot be argued either as they weren’t major players in the ‘Civil War’ storyline, neither were Songbird, Gambit, Hulk or Phoenix, yet they are in the game. As per the ‘Civil War’ events, you not only battle other heroes but you can play as baddies such as Venom and Green Goblin.
To augment the weakened roster and severely reduced RPG elements, new developer on the series - Vicarious Visions - has added “fusion attacks” which allows two heroes to join forces and unleash a formidable combined attack, much like the infamous ‘Fastball Special’ tag-team move used by Wolverine and Colossus. The fusion attacks can be used as ranged attacks mowing down multiple targets at once or singling out an individual “boss” for maximum carnage. The fusion attacks are the one inspired and welcome addition to this sequel as they give the player that “ace in the hole” which can change the complexion of any game.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2Changes have been made to the ‘Civil War’ story (more like it was combined with the ‘Secret War’ one) but the settings, villains are not that diverse when compared to the original ‘Marvel Ultimate Alliance’ which acted as a detailed travelogue throughout the Marvel universe. The adventure is substantially shorter as well. You will probably be able to whip through it in a few days but the ‘Civil War’ aspect does add to the title’s replayability since you can switch sides and go through the game again but this time from a different perspective.
That being said, you cannot help but to feel as if you are fighting many of the same combat dummies set up for you to knock down again and again, they are just wearing different skins. There is a strong sense of déjà vu and a stronger sense of “Didn’t-I-just-whip-all-you-candyasses-like-30-seconds-ago”?
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2Even switching costumes doesn’t mean much in ‘MUA2”, though Red Hulk and Hobgoblin are fun alternatives to the Original Green Goliath and The Green Goblin. Unlike the original, there are no new set of powers that come with the skins and no new sense of adventure. The ‘Marvel Ultimate Alliance’ RPG concept remains as a exceptional gameplay and storytelling device improving upon the idea and engine behind ‘X-Men Legends’ but Vicarious Visions’ Reader’s Digest version of groundbreaking release by Raven Soft feels the same as when Iron Fist replaced Daredevil, Venom took Spider-Man’s place or James Rhodes stepping into Tony Stark’s armoured shoes: no matter how you slice it, things just aren’t the same.


Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
ESRB Rating: Teen
Official Site:

Rating: 7 / 10




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