Title: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Website: Official Site
Game Type: Action Adventure
Multi-player: 4 Player Co-op (Local and Online)
Age Rating: PG
Length: Short/Medium (5-15 hours for a single story play through)
I enjoyed the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance game, and before playing the sequel had fairly high expectations. Unfortunately I found myself being slightly disappointed by the sequel, which I found to be a bit of a missed opportunity given the source material.
As with the original game in each level you take control of a team of 4 heroes (or villains) and use their skills to complete a mission. As you would expect there are a number of improvements over the original game from the technical standpoint as I found the graphics and sound to be much improved from the first game. This however is also where the first disappointment occurs, since the maps suffer from invisible wall syndrome where your often come across areas you just cant access despite them appearing to be accessible.
One of the most hyped aspects of the game was the new fusion system and this too was a bit disappointing. While fusion attacks are powerful given the number of heroes in the game (24) there is surprisingly little variation in the attacks in each of the 3 fusion categories. The fusion attacks also seem to have been introduced at the expense of each characters individual attacks and abilities which are more limited in number and essentially fixed in contrast to the original game where you could pick which powers your character uses.
In terms of the co-op play, while a nice feature it does suffer from you not being able to freely explore the map if online and being fixed to the route the host takes and also being limited in your character and experience progression. A similar situation exists in local play as both players have to be on the same screen, and there is not a split screen option available.
The plot of the game is for the most part an improvement over the original game with the first two acts being based on the lead up to and initial stages of Marvel’s civil war cross over event from a few years ago. The games plot diverges from that of the comic for the third act with the heroes reuniting to combat a game specific threat.
While this was an improvement over the original game, I on a personal level found it to be disappointing given the source material as I would have preferred them keeping close to the comics for all of the game even if they changed the outcome if playing on the anti-registration side. I was also disappointed that your choice of side only mattered for the 2nd act AND that only a few characters were made unavailable due to your choice of sides. This was not my main issue with the plot however, my main problem was the length of the game which seems to be much shorter than the original game.
All this being said, the game is a solid and enjoyable experience and if you enjoyed the original game you will enjoy the sequel. However, the game ultimately feels like a missed opportunity.
While a solid game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is best summed up as disappointing and a missed opportunity. That being said if you enjoyed the first game, you should still enjoy the sequel.